No, you can't get the t-shirt - yet.

Mar 08 2008

In preparation for the CeBIT, we decided to print a slew of XWiki t-shirts for all the people of our awesomly talended cross-platform team on the field (basically, this means Ludovic, Sonny & me - remember I work in Marketing ;-). I used one of them to enhance the look & feel of our dynamic displays -- you know, that thing where you put brochures and hope people will come, pick them up, have a chat about how great your products are, buy a few wikis and invite you to the restaurant. It looks like this :

Our awesome, t-shirt enhanced dynamic display at the CeBIT

At first, I made a crucial mistake. I forgot about the basic law of fairs : people get there to get some stuff. Stuff can be anything: pens, necklaces, bags; other goodies,.. Obviously, a t-shirt IS stuff to most people. The result was to be expected : the first one lasted less than 2 hours.

CSI : Hannover

We had to take action. First, I had the Hall Inspector to come and have a look at the crime scene. I asked for qualified detective dogs and was bluntly answered that 1) those dogs are currently busy tracking drugs on the frontier & 2) the Hall Inspector had most important things to do - like, taking care of the hundreds of stands in our hall maybe ?

Once I was past this initial disappointment, I started exploring our options :

  1. Find a gun and shoot trespassers - too noisy, potential legal issues implied
  2. Establish a physical barrier around the display - hard to implement + might prevent people from accessing our brochures
  3. Have a mechanism to deliver electrical shocks to people trying to take the shirt - no powerful enough plug available + risk of associated hairdresser costs

    Since none of them was quite feasible, I called our R&D team back in Paris to ask for ideas. They did a great job of designing a powerful, feature-rich yet intuitive mechanism under harsh time & materials constraints. Here's the result :

    The t-shirt protection device - back

    The leash creates a physical link between the t-shirt & the display, hereby preventing users from taking innapropriate action - or at least, reducing the effect of those actions.

    The t-shirt protection device - front

    Results were straightfoward :

    The t-shirt is safe now. I'd like to congratulate all the people involved in the operation for this amazing piece of teamwork. Folks, thank you ! A few statistics about the operation :

  1. An amazing 100% success rate in preventing peole from stealing the shirt.
  2. 17 people wanted to buy it
  3. 6 people tried to unplug the protection device to get the shirt anyway - none succeeded
  4. 1 went through the whole unplugging process - I slapped him in the face, he went away crying - don't be shocked, he deserved it

    Now the good news : we're printing a whole new bunch of them for our customers & community to enjoy :-)

    The Community t-shirt