Last week, 7 Generation Games flew to North Dakota to install our educational video games in five schools on two reservations. AnnMaria De Mars, CEO of 7 Generation Games, has explained MANY times the importance of being prepared for any situation because there are frequently situations that occur where technology just doesn’t work the way you were hoping. Heeding her advice, I figured I would pack every possible piece of technology in my backpack that I owned. These items that I carried around with me on my back to every single place we visited included:
- 1 Zoom H2 Recorder
- 1 Tablet
- 1 GoPro Camera
- 1 Extension Cord
- 1 Mouse and Mouse Pad
- 2 Laptops
- 2 Ethernet Cords
- 3 Pairs of Head Phones
- 3 GoPro Camera Mounts
- 3 Cell Phone Charges
- 8 AA Batteries
- 75 million cords for HDMI, USB, and AC Adaptors (Ok, I slightly embellished this figure, but who’s counting?)
At this point I had packed half of a Best Buy store in my bag and I was feeling pretty darn confident that I had adequately prepared for our trip to North Dakota. After taking all of these extreme precautions and realizing I was well on my way to becoming a doomsday prepper, I thought,
What could possibly go wrong?
Expect the Unexpected
On the third day of our teacher workshops, we arrived to the school 30 minutes early to make sure that we had ample time to set up for our afterschool training session. Everything was picture perfect- the gift bags were neatly put together and arranged for each teacher, we had flash drives ready to hand out to teachers so they could install the game on their personal laptops, and our brand new posters were all rolled up and ready to be distributed. We couldn’t have been more prepared and we were ready to shine.
AnnMaria stands up to begin the workshop and to thank everyone for coming. She begins her first sentence with,
Hello! We would like to thank everyone taking time out of your busy schedules to attend our after school workshop. My name is AnnMaria De Mars…
All of sudden the generator goes out and all of the electricity is shut off. Now we have an entire room full of teachers who are sitting in the dark with only a little bit of light shining in through the windows. At this point we no longer have a projector for demonstration purposes, so AnnMaria pulls out her laptop to show the teachers our educational video game. Each time you launch one of our games, a login screen pops up where you have to enter your user name and password. This requires internet access so that the game can resume in the same place that you left off from your last session. And because the electricity went out, the internet is no longer working as well. So AnnMaria pulls out her cell phone to utilize her wireless hotspot in an attempt to connect to the internet to begin playing the game. As luck would have it, there is also no cell phone service either! This is the point where I started thinking we were going to have to cancel the training session for the day.
AnnMaria, however, was prepared for even this situation. Without skipping a beat she says,
I was prepared for this! I have a demo version of the game downloaded on my computer that we can all play that does not require internet access.
The teachers broke off into two groups, one played the demo version of our game while the other began installing the game on their laptops. After about 20 minutes, they switched. And for the last 15 minutes we held a Q & A session where the teachers asked about development, automated reporting, and then provided their feedback on what we could include in future games. And just to show you how dedicated this group of teachers were, every single teacher stayed throughout the entire session in the dark.
The takeaway from the situation, at least for me personally, is to always be prepared. That doesn’t mean think about a few possible issues that could come up in a presentation or business meeting, it means think about every single possible obstacle that could arise and make sure that you have way to overcome that obstacle. If you want to be the best, you need to go above and beyond what the average person would do. And when you take the time to make sure that you are prepared, it shows.
Needless to say, AnnMaria pulled off another successful training, even when all odds were against us. All and all, it was great workshop and I’m just happy that we didn’t have a fire drill. Wait, that was the fourth day, but that’s a story for my next blog.