Friday, October 28, 2016

Focus on Harmony

Focus groups are always interesting. I arrived at 6:55 for my 7:30 meeting, making sure to be eligible for the early bird drawing (I didn't win). As the others drifted in we mostly ignored each other, at best nodding hello. At one point I looked up from my phone to see everyone else engrossed in their phones as well. We were called in five or ten minutes late.

We were made to introduce ourselves in order. The moderator from New Jersey mentioned something about age, but only the leadoff hitter admitted such. A diverse gathering: four of each sex, half white with three blacks and a young Indian lady. I'm always amazed at the things folks are into. Comparatively I feel like a hayseed.

Sheona revealed the most throughout the evening: 40, graveyard shift nurse, mother of three (22, 8, 6, she confessed with a smile). Both she and her husband working on postgraduate degrees. Recent eight day trip to Hawaii. Oldest daughter in the military I.T. Sheona wore her watch on her right hand like me. Fascinating to hear this mature dreadlocked black woman say that neither presidential candidate was a good choice. I quickly nodded in agreement.

Stacie, older mother whose husband freelanced from home. Looked familiar to me.

Young professional twentysomething Tyler works on his computer all day at home, and unplugs at night. Rocked a Braves shirt, shorts, and Nikes. On crutches due to a softball injury. Has a roommate. Made a spot on Buzz Lightyear reference.

Big Michael drives a truck by day, plays video games and streams Spotify by night. Shares an apartment with his brother. Nice sneakers. Didn't talk much.

Older insurance guy works from home, competing for Wi-Fi when his kids comes home. Snuck glances at his phone. Didn't talk much.

Young gamer girl works on stuff so secret even her husband can't know about it. Big into high tech: games, smart TV, security cameras. I was impressed. Travels overseas to visit family, but no accent. Black high-tops. Snuck texts.

Younger indian girl seemed mad at the world, or at least her family. Just her and her dog. All her answered were the opposite of what I'd written down. I wanted to say "lighten up Frances," but that wasn't her name. Possible terrorist.

The topic was Xfinity's new platform, rolling all of a household's wireless devices into a seamless, adaptive, more efficient ecosystem. Was this a great thing? What drawbacks? Sheona and others feared/loathed the Big Brother aspect. Several like me had no need for such techno-overkill.

What to call this product? None of the words or catchphrases stood out. Some were clunky/slang/overused: epic, panoramic, vibe. I joked surprise that awesome wasn't an option.

Perhaps our country would be a more harmonious place if folk from different races would occasionally sit down together and discuss a common interest. I'm sure I added to some of their older white male stereotypes in my old school dark slacks, loafers, and dress shirt, but for me these similar mindsets are quite different than all the diversity crap the media is trying to shove down our throats.

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