Monday, February 25, 2013

On the road again: TEDActive, day 2

Today I debugged my room.

Bandwidth had been bad last night, but when I got up this morning and began to work, it turned from bad to unusable.  I couldn't hold an email connection, and I couldn't send any messages.  I talked to Bill and learned that he was not having these problems because he had a wired connection.  Unfortunately, my room lacked any such connection.  I then had this lovely exchange with a hotel IT support person. 

Me: I would like a wired connection for my room.

IT: We can send someone to fix your wireless.

Me:  My wireless is working.  It's just slow.

IT:  No it's not.

Me:  Yes, it is.  I can't send any messages.  Text-only Web pages take thirty or more seconds to appear.  It is slow.

IT:  We don't have any wired connections.

Me:  Then move me to a room with one.  I know they exist, because my colleague is in one.

IT:  We can send someone to fix your wireless. 

Me:  As I said, the problem is not that the wireless is not working; the problem is that it's slow.  I need a wired connection. 

IT:  We don't have any, because so many guests are requesting them. 

Me:  Because the wireless is slow.
IT:  Maybe.
Me:  Well, I am one of those guests.  Are you completely out of the wired connections?

IT:  We'll send someone to look into it.  [hangs up]

Ten minutes later, a woman with a Cisco wired modem appeared at my door.  When I asked if the modems were scarce, she said, "We have plenty of them."  She installed it quickly and efficiently, tested it, and left me a note to that effect. 

While she was working, I was doing a client conference call from my closet; I had to be somewhere quiet. 

I have now renamed my closet, "the conference room." 

Now, my bandwidth is merely bad, the usual state of hotel bandwidth.

Next on my room's hit parade was the toilet, a device designed to make me insane.  To make it fully flush, you had to hold down the handle for between fifteen and thirty seconds; I could discern no clear pattern.  Bill suggested I not try to optimize such a small amount of time, but the toilet and the wasted time annoyed me, so I called and asked for someone to repair it. 

Fortunately, no one argued with me this time; they just dispatched a repair person. 

Right after that, the conference began with an hour segment, which ran 90 minutes, on "Inside TED."  In it, various TED staffers talked and ran videos about all the things TED does, its reach, the huge community that makes it work, and so on.

I left this session with the two feelings that often hit me at TED:  I was inspired, and I felt small, a man of no accomplishment. 

I want to use both feelings to do more, to help make my company be more its best self and to spread the lessons we've learned from building it, and to make my writing better, to create stronger works and reach larger audiences.

After the session, we joined one of the three poolside "Welcome home" barbecues, where we chatted with a few new folks and then, our social graces exhausted, retreated to Bill's room and chatted further.

More work filled the rest of the day.

Tomorrow, the sessions start in earnest.  I'm psyched!


Michelle said...

The obvious solution is to either bunk with Bill or force him to trade rooms or you will threaten to whine the entire week. That usually works for me.
The toilet, well, be careful of the big chunks. Have fun with that.

John Lambshead said...

You and hotels have a very close relationship like an old married couple.

Mark said...

Michelle, I won't be taking either of your suggestions.

John, sadly, I fear you are correct.

Jen Miller said...

Imagining you using the closet as a conference room made me laugh. :) I'm looking forward to hearing about tomorrow! I'm sure it will be incredible.


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