From Growls to Giveaways

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I have a confession: If something bothers me, I can’t keep it to myself.  And when it affects our team, our clients, or our business, I won’t let it go until we try to fix it.  Sometimes that means I speak out of turn.  Sometimes that means I make ‘strange’ requests.  Sometimes that means I appear ‘obsessive’.  When something runs contrary to our core values, or that betrays our internal code of excellence, I react.  I admit it, I’ve gone on tirades, pointed fingers, and demanded answers for shoddy workmanship.  In darker moments around the office I’ve enlisted a team to go ‘Office Space’ on a troublesome old printer and I’ve even laid waste to a clone PC on someone’s desk.  Why? Clone PCs don’t do justice to our brand or to our commitment to quality.  Old printers take too long to operate, they are expensive to run, and they suck power way too much.

I get angry because these things aren’t Weapons Grade.  But it’s not all wanton destruction … When I ‘go off’ I try to make a point about what’s important (efficiency, teamwork, and a commitment to low TCO) … and of course, I get passionate about our team and our brand.  And now to atone, I’ve got a cool offer for you.

Our guestbook at reception bothered me.  A lot.  We are a 21st century technology company with a state-of-the-art office and a talented team of consultants.  I wanted something a little more advanced than a $4 generic guestbook with a pen that falls on the floor or goes missing, and a process that occasionally leaves guests  waiting if the person they are visiting is away from the desk or on the phone.

There are a few electronic sign-in systems on the market that integrate with email and/or phones … very high-tech hardware and software, but ultimately very costly to purchase and maintain.  We like simple.   So, I put out a call to our team; come up with something cool, efficient, and that would integrate with our existing business systems without too much impact.  No more paper sign-in book.

Our own David ‘Fibs’ Fibingr put together a multiphase project plan and pitched his idea to the rest of us.  It’s awesome.

He designed a sign-in system that runs on an iPad which sits on the reception desk facing the guests.  They use the touch screen and iPad keyboard to simply enter their name, company and the Wep they are here to see.  The app then automatically emails the Wep that their guest has arrived.  Since we all have our iPhones or BlackBerries on our hips, it doesn’t matter if we aren’t at our desk.  We get alerted immediately.  The app also posts the visitor’s name and company with a welcome message on the monitors around the office.

This is not just about coolness and aesthetics.   We keep an electronic log of visitor names for an important reason.  In case of an emergency departure, we know who is in the building.   We can track who they saw and for how long.  That way, nobody can go missing. When someone signs out, the name is removed from the monitors and an email confirming their departure is sent to the visited Wep.

I am really proud of this system and of Dave Fibingr.  It gets plenty of kudos from our guests and everyone wants it for their own office.  Apparently Dave’s creative juices have been stirred, because he’s already working on Gen-2, when the camera comes out on the next version of the iPad, our sign-in system will incorporate facial recognition so that returning guests won’t even need to type their names!

All that … just because I got angry at our lame paper sign-in book! Now, here’s the offer:

Any company that attends a full cycle of our Weapons Grade events this year will get the iPad application and our implementation services for no charge.  If you supply the hardware (iPad and the dock), we’ll customize the sign-in system for your organization.

All you need to do is have someone from your team attend one of our lunch seminars, a technical workshop and an ITW executive briefing.   Sound good?

If you’re interested, drop me a line.

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