Today it happened. @jmspool has been warning me for close to decade to be ready for this moment, which I must say I handled like a pro, but alas, I was honestly unprepared for it. Today during a presentation I have, my computer died. DIED! CROAKED! DEAD! Shoot it in the head and get it out of all of our misery DEAD!
Let’s take a step back and tell you the tale and hopefully you’ll learn a few things to take away from my horrible experience.
Today I was to give a few talks while I’m in Israel. The talk that blew up in my face was to the Holon Institute of Technology. I was 1 of 4 speakers of the day afternoon, 1 of 2 who were on for an hour–Nath Shedroff was the final closer. The other two were local designers speaking for 20 minutes.
When I arrived, one of the Israeli speakers was having issues with her laptop set up so I volunteered to let her use my laptop. She did. During her talk the projector overheated every 5 or so minutes causing it to shut down almost instantaneously. The laptop worked flawlessly. She handled it like a trooper.
After a short break it was my turn. My machine being used by the previous speaker was all set to go. My presentation was going great! Then I hit slide number 36. I don’t remember if it was really slide 36, but I don’t really care at this point. The deck just wouldn’t move forward. The system crashed and when I re-opened, I tried to skip to the next slide, but each time I repeated this the system began to slowdown more and more, even restarting the entire computer didn’t help. It was just dead.
My gracious host was trying to find a way to help me through this tending my machine, while I did my best to remain calm and work without my deck. Having not really rehearsed this very new material, I didn’t know my deck well enough to do it justice. I percevered. I think I was even funny. Feedback later confirmed I recovered gracefully.
Fortunately, I had barely an older version of the deck on a USB drive and someone offered their laptop. I finished the presentation and received for my wounds probably one of the loudest applause I ever received for just talking about design without taking off my clothing. (No, I have never taken on my clothing on stage while talking about design or for any other reasons.)
But the story doesn’t end there. I was giving another talk across town @TheJunction32 a co-working space hosted by Gensispartners.com (a VC company). I didn’t have THIS talk on a key, but only on a Dropbox.com account. Unfortunately, the file was 120Mb, and took near a 1/2 hour to download onto a machine. I made it about 3 minutes before my start time of the talk.
The computer is still dead!
Wow! What a day!
The moral of the story:
1) Shit happens, be prepared for anything
2) Keep all your active presentations on a USB drive
3) Rehearse well enough that you can do your material w/ or w/o your deck
4) Be really certain that your deck needs to be as large a file as it is. Did you reduce images?
5) This is extreme, but keep an extra laptop w/ you at all times (OK, obviously most people won’t do this.)
It was really intense and out of all my time speaking was one of the scariest experiences I have ever had happen to me while speaking on stage in front of a rather large (200 or so) audience.
Well, I hope I got your pity and sympathy and wish me luck for my final talk/workshop on Thursday for UXi.org.il.