Past and Present in Barça

2001 – Barcelona – one day in the summertime

For that kind of circumstances that life shows you just once, my dad and I got the tickets for the technical conference this year.

The whole family is in Barcelona: we are having a wonderful time, actually one of the best ever, as a family.

We get to the conference center: staff at the entrance checks our attendee badges when we enter the building and we are in.

Everything is big: you can feel the richness of the IT market in this era.

We have the printed agenda with the schedule of all the sessions: we look at it and pick up the one we want to attend; the choice is made on the title first and on the abstract then.

Everything is organized as only US companies can do: big rooms, big tables with breakfasts (all day long!!!), huge meal rooms, big signals that guide you wherever your next step is.

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2014 – Barcelona – one day in autumn

For that kind of circumstances that would never happen without a really hard work, A. and I got the tickets for the technical conference this year.

I’m back to Barcelona at this conference after 13 years: beyond the event itself, I have still in my heart the great moments of the last vacation my parents, my sister and I spent all together.

A. and I get to the conference center: staff at the entrance checks our speaker badges when we enter the building and we are in.

Everything is big: you can feel that this company is still investing in this kind of event, even if today the IT market is not as reach as it was in the past.

We don’t need the printed agenda with the schedule of all the sessions: we perfectly know where we have to go. We already spent some time in the Room K to make all the possible tests on all our devices and any combination of them. I don’t need to pick up the name of the session: I know it very well, I wrote it, in a spring cloudy day, in Sabaudia. It was actually slightly different: for this event we have had to negotiate it in order to make it less “drink oriented”, but we found the right compromise anyway.

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While we approach the room we pick up something to eat: I am very relaxed and eager to listen to some great speaker. I hope the speaker could be one of those with big energy and great demos. Otherwise I will change session after a few mins.

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While we approach the room we pass by the table with the breakfast and the juices: I can just get a glass of water. The adrenaline level in my body is raising up and that mixed feeling of thrill and excitement is actually mixing everywhere in that moment.

I finish to setup the last things on my laptop.

I try to fast-forward in my mind the 75 mins that are going to come.

I repeat and repeat and repeat the first 40 seconds of the speech. I know, and I feel the responsibility of it, that they are fundamental for the attendees: most of them will get the “Should I stay or should I go?” decision there.

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We find the room and we enter.

There are already many people and some of them are typing on the keyboards of their PC (how heavy are those laptops??? I would never bring mine here all day…) or writing some notes on paper.

I look at the big screen and I think that the big title projected there seems to be interesting.

The speaker is on the stage: he is talking to some people and seems relaxed.

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It seems that the previous session would never end: lastly the technical guys open the doors and the speaker acknowledges that he has to stop….

We have 30 mins to setup the whole environment. It’s a complex one, but the technical guys are very smart and support us in a great way.

A. and I get on and off the stage synchronously: we are a strong team now! 3 or 4 technicians run, in their black dresses, bringing cables, plugs and other necessary stuff. We connect our 2 laptop to the video cables (and electricity as well): my laptop also needs the audio system! Where is the cable?? There is then 1 tablet connected to the video system, but with a small adapter. The next one is the Surface, which requires some more attention: it must be placed on a box at the side of the stage; thanks to the USB hub, we are able to connect to it a camera and a phone. The camera must be put on the microphone bracket, close to the whiteboard that the technician just brought there. Now it’s the Kinect and projector turn: Kinect must be placed on the same box as the surface, in its exact position on the corner, as we tested yesterday. The projector has its location on the table in front of the whiteboard. A bunch of VGA cables hangs from the stage: I connect one to the surface, through its special dongle; the one coming from my laptop must go into the projector and the last one from the projector must be connected to the central video system. Ready? No, Kinect needs to be connected!!! To my laptop, but we need the USB extension: in a few seconds it is there (thanks tech guys!!!!!). We switch on all the devices and test them: everything works.

Good! First milestone ok! We have still 15 mins before starting the session.

No, we forgot to place the ball! It must be put at the bottom left corner of the big screen, hidden behind the curtain.

In the meanwhile I place the prizes on the stage, at the right corner: it’s Halloween today, so I add a scaring spider and a glowing skeleton on them; there are also some small lights that we will switch on in the moment I will announce the contest.

The show is ready.

Now we can relax a few mins…

A. goes out for a while: when he is back, he has a great picture of the display announcing our session. Good catch A. !!!!!

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Many attendees are already in the room and we have still 10 mins to go: it is time to set the proper atmosphere in the room, so we launch the video

Cheers

The music is at the right volume

Finding smiles on many faces sounds really good…..

Only 39 hours ago I was in the bed trembling for the high fever, completely terrified by the idea of having to cancel the presentation….. now it seems something happened in another era.

I feel relaxed and excited in the right balance while talking to some Italian colleagues and customers, but I can feel anyway the thrill that tries to overcome the others.

The tech guys in the back of the room raise their arm: it is the agreed signal for “it’s time to start”.

I push back the last attempt of the small voice in my brain that tries to put pressure on me.

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The time is arrived and the sound system cracks a little bit: the speaker starts his presentation and I think how exciting being there on the stage must be…..

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The sound system cracks a little bit and from the stage I hear my voice welcoming the room with a deep “Gooooood Moooorning everybody !!”: the tension has just left me and the SHOW CAN BEGIN…

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