Backtalk: A Womans Purse


Have you taken a good, hard, long look at what's inyour Rolodex, briefcase and, yes, even purse lately?

I only bring this up because fate threw me a wicked curvelast week. My trusty purse -- some might say satchel, considering its size -- died ondeadline.

In its many once-nifty pockets were probably a month'sworth of business cards and notes that should have been neatly stored in my Rolodex orfiled away on my computer by now.

After all, when a woman moves something from her briefcaseto her purse, it means something. It means save it: It could be important someday.

There were new business cards from people who I know well,but who now work for companies I have never heard of. Like you, I need to know about theseoutfits and how they fit into the new cable landscape, or maybe don't.

But odds are that you have not thoroughly sorted throughthe vestiges that come from travel and meals and meeting with colleagues -- little papersand cards that wind up residing in your briefcase or purse for future perusal.

Hey, you've been way too busy dog-paddling your waythrough the new, turbulent seas of competition to be expected to organize your life likeMartha Stewart.

So face it: There's little time to even attempt toimpose some personal order on the chaos that has permeated every stratum of what we oncecalled cable television. In my case, only a dead purse forced me to spend hours sortingthrough the ramifications of its varied contents.

In my once-trusty purse were tons of mental triggers aboutour new world and how fast things are moving. Lately, the slew of new business cards seemsto be piling up faster than frequent-flyer miles.

Those cards and shreds of paper are like a time capsule,chronicling the revolutionary changes that are now under way in cable. Look at your ownstash and you'll agree.

Sorting through that dead purse was truly like going on anarcheological dig. In the end, I threw very little away, saving these relics for futurereference. I even cleaned up my Rolodex for the seemingly umpteenth time.

Why in the world am I hanging on to the announcement aboutTom Rogers? Remember him? He spent most of his time in cable, first on Capitol Hill,helping to craft cable policy, and later heading up NBC's cable and Internetventures.

Just recently, he went over to Primedia to head up thathydra-headed publishing company.

Technically, he's out of cable. But I saved that pieceof paper -- which also had about 30 other phone numbers on it from voice-mail check-ins --because I remember reading or hearing that he was going to try to parlay those hundreds ofdisparate magazine titles into a cable network. So you never know.

And that's the whole point: Our work world is changingquicker than anyone can impose order on it. The dead purse and its now-salvaged contentsspeak volumes about where this industry has been for the past several months and howpeople are switching jobs because of consolidation or the steady migration to dot-comcompanies.

So do yourself a big favor: Clean out that briefcase andpurse, update your Rolodex and be prepared for your own archeological dig.

By the way, my new purse is wonderful. It's bigger,and it has even more pockets to organize my life. And it's a good thing. I have afeeling it'll fill up quickly, given how the year 2000 is going so far.