I attended a conference last month. There were all the obligatory launches and lunches, gizmos and giveaways, speeches and showcases. Flashing my press pass about, I had a ball even though my feet were aching a bit by the end with all that walking.
Anyhow, the technology on show was mostly education-related. I won’t bore you with all the gory details. It was all interesting enough, nonetheless.
All in all, it was a typical IT event. Familiar faces, hard-working organisers, goodie bags, new releases… oh, and a quite remarkable example of service above and beyond the call of duty. Let me explain.
An exhibitor flogging interactive whiteboards was setting up their stand when the guys carrying in the merchandise managed to drop it. A quick examination showed the corner had been caved in; a closer look confirmed that there was no chance of any running repairs. Now, this was the only one they had with them and somewhat pivotal to the whole display. There was nothing for it but a three-hour trip back to Auckland (we were in Rotorua, by the way) to pick up another one.
The mishap happened late afternoon, so they figured they could be back in the small hours, in plenty of time for the 8am kick-off… well, that was the plan.
The fun really began when they got back to their North Shore office, only to discover the cupboard was bare. They had broken the last whiteboard they had in stock. There was only one thing for it… they had to make another one. They worked non-stop throughout the night, hopped back in the van when most of us were just thinking about crawling out of bed, and made it back to the conference by mid-morning.
In the meantime, their absence had caused much debate and speculation, from bankruptcy to alien abduction. The half-finished stand, with wires dangling and chairs over-turned, had a sad and eerie Marie Celeste-esque feel about it.
Of course, it was nothing so melodramatic. Just an impressive case of never say die – and some nifty construction skills to boot. And despite a few bleary eyes, copious cups of coffee and some sharp edges – which were along the top, so nobody was the wiser – by lunchtime, you’d never have known.
My hat goes off to you, Richard and Troy of JRJ.