While my word choice hadn't been intentional, the irony of Henry Case chirping 'bright' back at me like some dim, lobotomized mental patient does not escape me. I have to fight to keep from smiling too widely, but it's not from amusement. He is just not the only person on the edge of hysteria in the room presently.
What the hell is wrong with him? I've never seen the man look more anxious and discombobulated. Was the situation with Rift Oculon worse than even I'd anticipated? Maybe the investors were screaming - that wouldn't be too terribly surprising. Henry looked as if he hadn't slept all night, and was running on manic energy.
The shift in his demeanor - from friendly over-the-hedge neighborly banter to cagey co-conspirator - did nothing to make me feel any better. However, it did help me process some of the earlier confusion I'd felt, particularly after my encounter with the woman in the red dress. I would have brushed off Henry's war-like scenarios as nothing more than inspirational hyperbole, except that Henry Case was not that kind of leader. I'd never head that 'Us-vs-Them' mentality from him before, but 'them' was precisely the word used by the Red Woman. I'd like to think that at any other time, I wouldn't be so easily swayed by the mad whispers of some anonymous passer-by, but there were too many things that weren't adding up quite right. But the clincher is Henry asking about NerveBridge(tm).
I can't answer him right away, because the sheer lunacy of what he is saying takes me a few seconds longer than usual to process. Is this a test? Is he checking to see if I understand the tech? Surely he's not looking for a refresher or confirmation of his own knowledge - he's pitched the tech to laymen investors dozens, if not hundreds of times. He has a much better chance of building a message with mass-market appeal than I ever could, and that doesn't even take into consideration the small but mighty marketing department located just a couple dozen feet down the hall.
Again, I glance around the room. Come to think of it, shouldn't the Marketing director be here if we're brainstorming a brand message? Especially considering that VRS really is pushing the bleeding edge of technology. Implantables... It's not an easy sell, even if it provides a far superior experience to... whatever it is RO is shilling. Looking back at Henry, however, tells me that he's not particularly interested in the marketing message, no matter what he says - and I am really starting to feel uncomfortable with the way his eyes seem so animated.
Something is not right - the refrain of the day. This time, however, I'm going to go with my gut feeling. I don't think I'll be able to put him off for very long. The way his fingers are tap-tapping tells me he's coiled tighter than a spring and is probably running low on patience. I also don't want to risk my position by trying to play dumb - I'm the VP of Technology, for chrissakes. If I can't understand how NerveBridge(tm) works, I have no business here at VRS at all. But right now, the very last thing I want to do is tell him about it.
Maybe I can maneuver the conversation down another path and buy myself some time.
I smile widely at Henry and mirror his stance, leaning forward to rest my wrists on the edge of his desk. "It's fascinating, isn't it?" I reply, squinting slightly to emphasize just how much I love what we're doing. "But the technology itself... it's a bit beyond the average consumer, don't you think? People don't want to know how their gadgets work - they just want them to work."
I leaned further forward, clutching the edge of the desk, dropping my voice to match Henry's. "And ours does, Henry. You know it. I know it. Rift Oculon knows it - why else would they have gone to the media now?"
Leaning back, I spread my arms wide. "We don't need to explain how the tech works, Henry - we just need to show them how incredible the experience is. The mystery is part of the magic!"
Yeah, I was rambling. There was a reason I went Engineering instead of Marketing.
B. Deflection. You act as though you're continuing the conversation on-point, but avoid his line of questioning and reasoning, opting to attempt to steer him onto another line of thought.