I love Panama Movistar


I recently contracted a Blackberry line with Panama’s Movistar staff in Multiplaza Mall. I had an old (three year old which in cell phone life is just about obsolete) prepaid SIM which they successfully turned into a BB SIM in minutes. They got me off prepaid and into post payment with a 35% saving, and I was up and running in minutes.

Kudos, I wish everything was this easy in life.


ATLAPA blues


This week my company hosted a big trade show at ATLAPA, Panama’s state ran convention center. The convention center is managed by the Tourism Authority which is as close to a ministry as it gets. They have been heavily advertising ATLAPA as a premium convention location, to the extent of giving away free tickets to speakers, free hotel nights, etc.

The bad thing is the poor and sorry state of the installations. The walls are missing plaster, the floor is dirty beyind repair. Every time we looked up to the ceiling we saw big chunks of insulation foam peeling off AC ducts, and lose wires from unknown sources overhanging. The bathrooms are clean but way outdated, and the carpet has seen better days, with far to many coffee stains.

I reckognize it is a better location than many in Central America. Panama is building a new convention center, part of the reason that maybe no one is investing in maintainance. Yet there is something very dangerous about advertising ATLAPA as a premium location to unsuspecting speakers who might be annoyed when reviewing the premises for the first time. The feeling of over exagerating the reality of the infrastructure is palpable. Many might decide to take their business elsewhere and some might even write about it in their blogs.

There is no second chance for a first impression. ATLAPA’s first impression on me was one of doubt and not of praise.

eService gone bad…


I got an email from Copa Airlines – which I absolutely love as an airline – reminding me of my upcoming flight and advising me to do web check-in. I usually use the web check-in service but I liked the way the software now sends a quick message to my BlackBerry.

Not one to postpone things, I got my self to a terminal with a hard line to the net to check-in electronically. And that’s when the magic stopped. Posting my passport data time and time again, I got nothing but error messages. After four times, I gave up.

If you are going to couple e-mail alerts which are supposed to be followed up with web services, make sure the coupling works! Maybe all the mails were sent at the same time and that chocked up the system. I am only guessing here. But the dissappointment is great. Which is a shame. I was probably going to do the web check-in sometime tonight and I would have felt great about my airline. It’s only when you over-promise and under-deliver when the customer gets angry.

One for the do-less achieve-more crowd.