Cast your mind back to the summer of 2000. ALF was back in Pog form, Linux was everywhere, I worked for a small embedded systems company and the world was a just and happy place, except for the places where it wasn’t, and nobody yet cared much about those.
I was the chief software engineer in this company, and I was responsible for all software development. Which was kindof a big deal, really, except that the company only employed a dozen people. Never mind, eh? It was all cool. I liked my job, except for the horrible hours and artificial deadlines. I say that the hours were horrible, but most of the actual minutes were pretty good. If you get my drift, and I know that you do.
One day, my boss called- I worked from home most days- and asked me to please go with him to the big show in Docklands. Ugh. Now, for those of you who haven’t manned a show booth, this is a horrible experience: your hotel is always on the wrong side of town, you have to get up early every day, you’re a long way from home, the food is always lousy, there’s never anywhere to sit, so your feet hurt like hell, and generally you wish you’d never gone.
“Can’t Andy do it? Andy loves this sort of thing.”
No, Andy bloody won’t. He’s refused. The bastard. My boss- who we’ll call Bharat, because that’s his name- said that he really wanted me to come. Meet the public. The customers. Get, you know, out there. And also, stop him from selling features that didn’t exist.
It’s a good point, since it was inevitably me who’d have to rescue him from his disasters. Embedded systems are about 20% hardware and 80% software, but sadly Bharat was mostly unaware of just how little of the logic of these systems was implemented in hardware, and went through his life wandering around selling things to people that didn’t exist.
“Jasmine. I need you to come. Please.”
Oh, alright. If you insist.
“And can you wear the red dress?”
Fucking bastard bastard swine bastard!
The red dress in question was a short red tennis dress thing- the show was in the middle of summer and I’d been to the office wearing the dress in question a couple of times. It wasn’t really flattering but it was cool in the sweltering un-airconditioned office and it did show off my (extremely lanky) legs to good effect. Bharat had clearly realized that having a woman in a short dress in the booth was the way to attract people, and attract people it did.
Sadly, horny 18-year-olds don’t need to buy systems for interfacing programmable logic controllers to the Internet.
Even more sadly, the only other people who were in any way attracted to the booth by my presence were the gin-sodden company PR flacks. Ugh. Being interviewed, slurredly, by the fourth company PR drone in three hours starts to pall. Breathing his quinine fumes over me.
“Sho, how did you get into the industrial IT market?”
Being a booth babe at a booth babeless show really, really sucks.