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Negotiating with a 2 year old (aka Rising Expectations)

Dora.jpgIt was a long day of travel with the family, and while I am a bit more used to the rigors of travel, it is particularly taxing on the kids. My oldest responds one way to travel, invariably wanting to go swimming even when we check into a hotel late at night, just to burn off energy stored while in a cramped seat. My youngest, though, wants to try to regain the routine she is used to at home. To accommodate her, my wife and I packed her favorite blanket, her sound machine to help her sleep, and her favorite doll du jour. On this trip, though, when we got to the room, I quickly realized that I was not well prepared, when my little girl looked up at me and said it:”œIwantDora.”It was 9 o’clock at night -well past her bedtime, and I just wanted to get her settled. Showing an episode of her favorite show would have made total sense, but I simply forgot to pack the DVD, and for some reason, there isn’t as much of demand for the exploits of the bilingual cartoon character and her friend Boots on primetime TV as there is at my house. I had nothing, and had to break the bad news to her.”œIwantDora-please!” was the response. Given that she is two, tired, out of her regular rhythm, and awfully cute (yes, she takes after her mother), I wanted to do whatever I could to pacify her and make amends, but I couldn’t. Unlike our home with its multiple digital video recorders (DVRs) where we can watch any show at any time, our hotel room was downright antiquated. We had to watch shows on the schedule of the broadcaster with only a few options to choose from. For quite literally her entire life, she has never had to do this -DVRs aren’t a great new technology but more tablestakes in her on-demand, high def world where video calls to her cousins are common and she can reach her father anytime, anywhere on speed dial. In discussions on the service provider industry, we talk about rising expectations of consumer and the evolving dynamic that users have with their providers, but this was a case where it was front and center for me -and obvious that what I may think of as understandable limitations of a technology for me isn’t at all reasonable to others. I can only imagine what the expectations my daughter’s two year old will have in a few decades. Hopefully, when that time comes, she’ll be a better negotiator than her father, who committed to both buying her a car when she turns 16 and a trip to the vending machine-

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