It was a warm, spring day. Not unlike any other spring day in Atlanta, GA. The sun was shining, the breeze felt warm, and of course there was pollen everywhere. Just your regular day in Georgia.
Then something happened…the weather turned from bright and sunny to overcast and chilly. Now, truth be told, this too is not unlike any regular Georgian day. As they say, “If you ever get tired of the weather in Georgia, just wait a minute.” But this wasn’t your typical turn-on-a-dime change in weather. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something was amiss.
Then I heard it. A loud sound. It wasn’t a boom. It wasn’t a bam. It was more like an elongated “fizzle and a sizzle”. The closest thing I can think of is the sound Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory makes right when he pulls the switch and all those electrodes start flicking.
I ran into the warehouse and saw the same thing the rest of the gang saw. There in the middle of aisle 23, between the rack of our Cisco 2950 routers and the HP L306 power cables was a pod. A tall, shiny pod. A tall shiny GLOWING pod. With one red button. (Now I’ve seen my fair share of funny things in our warehouse, but never anything like this!)
As we all stood around it, we waited to see who would be the first to approach it.
We stood for a long time.
A really long time.
I think we all kinda felt like we were in an episode of Star Trek, and nobody wanted to be the red shirt guy. (you know what we mean…) Finally our fearless leader Craig, being the role model he is (or maybe it was because it was delaying shipping orders for so long), walked up to the box.
“There’s writing on it.” He called back to us. Just beneath the red button, in English no less, was the word “Switch.”
“That must mean you turn it on.” He said. “Here goes nothin’.”
He pushed the button. Immediately a door on the side of the box flew open and we all jumped back and dove behind the routers and cables. I felt for sure we had just ushered in some alien invasion and this was their equivalent of a Trojan horse. In any minute, I’d be visiting good ol’ St. Pete at the pearly gates.
Thank the good Lord we were still alive. Steam lightly rose out of the door and we all peeked in. We then finally got our first glimpse of him: a small, shiny robot monkey. That’s right. A robot monkey.
I have no idea why this didn’t seem weird to any of us. But it didn’t. I guess after working here for so long you kinda get used to having weird things happen – it is just normal around here. The monkey laid there quietly with a small note on his chest that read: “All things will be answered in time”…
Just as we pulled the note out, his eyes popped open and he smiled and jumped out of the pod. Daniel, our Shipping Supervisor, let out a scream that would have made Steven King smile. The little fella didn’t talk much. Actually, he didn’t “talk” at all. Just funny “eeps” and “bleeps.” There was no indication of his name, but we soon figured out that the wording on the outside of the box wasn’t a label for the button. It was this little dude’s name. Switch.
Switch has been with us quite some time now. Quite frankly, we’re still waiting on those answers. We still don’t know where he came from or why. But there is some purpose in him being here. We know it. For instance: we always strive to do a great job and provide good service. But one day Switch scratched a note on the wall and asked a simple question: “Was that experience awesome?” This has posed a lot of discussion internally. He does things like that. Pushing us. Challenging us. (He also has his fair share of playfulness and humor as the level of practical joking around the office has been kicked up a notch since Switch’s arrival.)
I must say: Switch has helped us define something special. It’s the core of who we are, and I think it’s always been there. We just never put it in writing or strictly defined it. It’s what drives us; what makes us special and different; and it’s what will be the guiding light of this company for the years to come. As we continue to learn from Switch and each other, this phrase is what we will always ask ourselves: are we being experts in awesome?
To be continued…
Be sure to follow Switch on Twitter and keep up with the craziness of CK through his eyes.