Sir, Step Away from the Chocolate

Marian Pop is a programmer in the Global Solutions Team here at Yardi. His story appears to be about his participation in a conference, the preparation, and the stress, but actually it’s about chocolate, nothing but chocolate and how it can turn into a total enemy.

Working for Yardi may not always be the rock-star life one would normally expect. There are indeed days when you have to sit behind a desk, attend your daily duties and try to use your skills as best as you can to complete your tasks, especially if you’re a programmer. But I’m not here to tell you about those days, I’m here to tell you an inspiring story about hope, regret and redemption.

You might have heard of YASC (Yardi Advanced Solution Conference), the annual conference that Yardi is hosting both in the US and Europe for our clients. Here we get to meet our clients and share with them information about our flagship software product, Voyager, and all of the services it provides. It is a mixture of seminars, presentations, meetings and networking sessions that has proven to be very successful and the attendance is growing every year.

Last year I was lucky enough to be part of our European event in London. My tasks included holding 2 presentations, being a moderator for some of my colleagues and attending our lab section where we discuss with the clients any specific aspects that might interest them about our products. The most challenging part was to provide an interesting enough presentation in the time that I was allocated, without getting into too much technical detail, but also without leaving too much information out. Not tricky. At all.

The Romanian delegation flew to London a day before the main event. We were staying at a very beautiful hotel in the centre of the city just 1 minute away from Trafalgar Square (remember the rock-star life I mentioned in the beginning?). After we checked in at the hotel we met our colleagues from the other European offices, we went to check the conference rooms, we met with some of the clients that were already there and before we knew it, it was already evening.

Close to our hotel there was a local store and I’ve decided to go and get something to nibble while working in my room. I was walking among the aisles and I was overwhelmed by all the types of sweets and chocolate I found. There were brands and tastes that I’ve never tried before and that made me become the real human Puss in Boots. It was obviously an opportunity. Time for some shopping!

I returned quickly to the hotel as it was getting late and I had to go again over my first presentation. My problem was that no matter how much I tried compressing it, I kept finding myself going over the allocated time and that was not acceptable. I opened my laptop and started working. Not long after, I decided it would be a shame not to taste a little bit of fudge. Just a little. I can tell you it was as delicious as it looked. I kept the box nearby just in case. I started reading again to try to cut out whatever information might be redundant to save some more time. Then I remembered I had some peanut butter chocolate in the shopping bag and it would have been a shame not to try it. Just a little. So I brought the bag closer to my desk. As I was going through my database schema for the fifth time I decided I needed a break. I checked the shopping bag again and the caramels were tempting enough.

Hyperglycemia. That would be the medical term I presume. The popular term is “sugar rush”. After several hours of eating sweets I was nervously walking around my room in a very well defined pattern, creating a trench in my rug, continuously rehearsing my presentation which refused to be brought down to the required time. It was well after midnight and I’ve tried all the sweets I brought. I felt I could run around the hotel several times just to get rid of all the unnecessary self-inflicted energy rush. I was getting more and more nervous about the presentation knowing that there were only several hours separating me from it. Then the sickness came. And the shivers. I didn’t get too much sleep and I was feeling miserable. Stupid candy!

The sun was rising and I was still awake. Soon I had to get out of bed and prepare myself for the event. I went down to the conference room and put a smile of my face trying not to show that I was actually shaking. People started showing up, until the seats were almost all occupied. The colleagues from the room gave me reassuring looks and “OK” signs. The presentation had started. I don’t even know how it all passed. As I started talking things started to follow a certain flow and by the time I was ready I still had 3 minutes left. I made it! Just on time! Yes!
The second presentation was even better, I was becoming a pro!

What did I get after this experience? I got to meet some of the clients and I got to work together with my colleagues from whom I had a lot to learn.
What did my dear ones from home get? Half-full candy bags.