A Modern Day Cinderella Story - sort of...

It happened in June 2001 at a trade show in Las Vegas (doesn't it always). Infocomm, a big international A/V show, was at the Sands Convention Center. We were there with Reginald Cluckstone (the CEO of Chickentales.com) to put in the long, hard hours - walkin' the floors, handing out rubber chickens, scoping booth chicks - when late on the next-to-last evening we found it on a sidewalk in front of the convention center, a lost name lost tag!

Although it doesn't look like much, you do not want to lose your name tag at Infocomm! Why? Because it has that little magnetic stripe thing on the back that vendors swipe in card readers so that they can send you literature throughout the coming year. No swipey, no literature. This is a really big deal, because none of us wants people back home to think that we spend our time in Las Vegas doing what everybody else does when they go to Las Vegas. To industry insiders it is obvious that Infocomm organizers would want to host Infocomm in the environment most conducive to learning and growth. And apparently they felt that Las Vegas was that environment. It was a gutsy, proactive move and we applaud them! But in the mean time, the only way to convince folks back at home that we are not out there screwin' around is to sign up to receive a lot of literature...

 

Anyhow, having found this poor man's card, Mr. Cluckstone was convinced that we had to act fast to help him - but what could we do? Literally thousands of people attend Infocomm every year; and the chances of finding "Gary S" on the last day of the show were like the chances of finding an M&M in a barrel of rabbit droppings. So after a late-night focus group meeting we developed a two-pronged plan with the following performance objectives:

 

 

  1. Make sure that Gary S doesn't miss out on literature.
  2. Find Gary S!

 

Part "A" was easy. On that last day of the show we did our darndest to make sure that there would be plenty of literature coming Gary's way over the next 52 weeks. And on that point I think we met, and exceeded, our objective.

But part "B" was a tougher challenge, not unlike the celebrated search for Cinderella, whose glass slipper serves as a metaphor for illusive excellence in a world teaming with a frustratingly blind allegiance to the status quo and mediocrity. We thus set out to track down and the true Gary S and match him to the "Plastic Swiper". 

What we discovered was that Gary S. must indeed be a special guy, because a bunch of people out there want to be him. In fact they went out of their way to convince us that they were the rightful owners of the name tag. And so we allowed each candidate to wear the powerful name tag for just a moment while we interviewed them to see if the "Plastic Swiper" seemed to fit. Some people nearly had us fooled. Others became so readily intoxicated by the power of the tag itself that we had to wrest it from their clinging grasp (or jaws) and leave them in the throes of promise unfulfilled, dreams squandered. After a little chat, it was usually pretty easy to pick out the impostors...

 

The Fisherman -  A pretty easy guy to like, the fisherman. His hardy, weathered look speaks of a man who has earned the right to tell stories - which he does. But in his defense, I really think he wanted us to succeed. He claimed to be co-founder of the "Boise Home for Orphan Boys Who Dream of Someday Fly-Fishing with Robert Redford". We were willing to give it to him on merit until he told us that "line audio" was when you string 20# nylon line between two soup cans 
The  Day Trader 
The Ex DOTCOMer - Turns out this one was a refugee from your typical, defunct, Silicon Valley internet startup where formal business attire consisted of anything not made of vinyl, and signing bonuses included a framed pair of lace underwear signed by all the members of Motley Crue during the Decade of Decadence tour. He kept talking about the "Chicken Ranch" and kept asking Mr. Cluckstone if he was interested in dating his chicken.
 The Butt Licker - This was not pretty. He started out docile enough, but every time we turned our backs he made his pitch. Then the whining started. Eventually it got so bad we had to throw a tennis ball into the neighbors yard and high-tail it outta there.
 The Frat Boy - This guy was pretty smooth at first. We immediately felt comfortable with him and noticed an overall confidence consistent with someone who knows they are the rightful owner. He blew it when he offered to trade the card for two six packs of Heineken and a 5 pound order of Buffalo Wings.
 The Bushman -  
 The Rock Star -  
The Family Man -  
The Outdoorsman -