From “Zero” to “Tech Super Hero”
October 6, 2019
Technology sucks. Printers don’t print, Projectors do project but without the sound, Wifi needs rebooting and don’t get me started on video calls (I’m looking at you Webex).
Luckily, there is always a nerd in the audience, willing to help out the technology muggles. I was that nerd, but not by choice. It started when I offered to help a professor with his laptop.
Soon enough, the section called me every single time a screen wouldn’t start up, or sounds stopped playing. I had no idea how that bloody screen manager worked. I was standing there and I couldn’t fix it. I felt stupid and humiliated.
The audience had made me their favourite tech support, but I was disappointing them greatly. They created me and now they could mock me. This situation had to stop.
My wife suggested I get trained by the IESE tech office. I thought it was a brilliant idea and contacted the tech support to have a 20-minute session on how to fix the interactive class system. THEY REFUSED. I was to focus on my classes and should not worry about being the section tech support. But mockery and humiliation was a daily ordeal!
I decided to take the matter in my own hands, so I spent a lunchtime playing around with the system. Plugging/unplugging different devices. Playing movies, playing presentations with videos in it. Starting the clicker. Showing different content on all the different screens (YUP I CAN DO THAT. I can teach you but I’ll have to charge). Shortly, the system didn’t have any secrets for me. What started as a joke ended up being an important part of my character.
This little side chapter of the MBA taught me a few things. First, Attitude is everything. I could have complained, I could have refused to stand up and try. Instead, I decided I could not let my section down and I learned connectivity tricks in the process.
Second, I learned that “no” is a hackable process. People say no to things. all. the. time. It was a hard lesson learned by navigating the Belgian municipal system. No, means that the person doesn’t have to do anything. It’s an easy escape. Especially when requests are unusual. It’s up to you (or me) to crack it. Had I had not been able to crack the screens myself, I would have found the manual online or found another way of dealing with the situation. Perseverance is key in hacking a “no”.
Third, crowds create fame and destroy it just for fun. The class loved calling out my name every time there was a tech mishap. They equally loved watching me struggle to fix anything. Never trust a crowd and always remember, they are the shallowest, most ungrateful and untrustworthy friend you can have.
My section was not a bad friend. It elected me “Most likely to help us out of a tech apocalypse”. I guess my journey of fixing your shit is not over, but I embrace it. Dear IESE, you can sleep safely, for I am legion.
Waïna Landauro is an 2020 IESE MBA. Author of iesemba.com and creator of the business videogame The nasty consultant. Founder of Interview practice platform Mockmate.com. He’s currently supporting startups at Google Cloud. Talk to digital waina