Monday, June 20, 2005

Simon says

Another story from my days at Hewlett Packard.

I'd written a software package to automate the creation of hardware tests. We felt it was good enough to become a product and accordingly we were given some time to present our case to upper management at the Australian Head Office, Melbourne.

I was the one chosen to do the presentation; considerable time was spent coaching me on exactly how to present our case.

Came the big day. I'd been allocated 15 minutes in the course of a 3 or 4 hour management meeting. My timeslot was about half way through the meeting.

So in I went. Small fish introduced to a pool full of sharks. Most of the managers were leaning back in their chairs, hands behind their heads, armpits exposed. I took one look and couldn't resist. 'Simon says you can put your hands down!'.

A frozen moment. Some managers unsure what to think. Some hoping that I'd dug my grave. And then the Managing Director started laughing. I don't mean a polite giggle - this was a belly laugh. Those unsure took their cue; the gravediggers joined in reluctantly.

My software package became a Hewlett Packard product; part number HP 50601A-Z02. I think we sold two copies! Gawd knows what the Z02 part meant...

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