What my parents hear when I talk about work

When you talk to loved ones about techy stuff, do you imagine it sounds to them something like this?  The video, pitching a device called "The Retrooencabulator," may or may not be a gag, but it’s brilliant either way.  Now, as I get ready to take a stage at Photoshop World, I can only hope my demo doesn’t sound like so much mumbo jumbo…  [Via Michael Tapes]

The vid reminds me of my first real Web job, when my company was designing a site for Brisk Iced Tea. (Remember those claymation ads?)  I was so proud that I called my folks and walked them through pulling up the site.  Even the most basic terminology can be a problem:

  • Me: "Now click the window with Bruce Lee in it…"
  • Them: "Oh, there’s no window."
  • Me: "What?  I mean, you see Bruce Lee, right?"
  • Them: "Oh yes."
  • Me: "Okay, now click the window he’s in…"
  • Them: "But he’s not in a window, he’s in a temple of some sort…"
  • [Continue like this until I finally realize that they’re looking for a literal, physical window, and have no idea what the little box around the Web site is called.  Aaaaand, cut.]

[Update: Okay, it’s gotta be a gag; see also this Chrysler video. Sometimes during a long press tour, PMs will challenge one another to sneak little phrases into their demos (“the ol’ college try,” “gonna end in tears,” etc.), just to keep it interesting. Now I really want to hear Chad Siegel talk about InDesign’s sinusoidal magneto-reluctance…]

0 thoughts on “What my parents hear when I talk about work

  1. John,
    You’ll be fine on stage. Just make sure you don’t mix your acronyms or use obscure ones. I remember a recent meeting where how we where going to use CSS’s was discussed.
    For the network boys it was the content switch services (loadbalancers) for the app developers it was style sheets. (in this case it was network css’s) I’ve never seen so many bewildered Project Managers looking for technical help 🙂

  2. When I was 8 years old I began to study my parent’s photography books, carefully.
    Around the dinner table I would gab on and on about what I had learned, to which, they would occasionally interject, “Oh, that’s nice, Brian.”
    Every night, we call my mother and tell her what we’ve been doing, today. 43 years later she’s still saying, “Oh, that’s nice, Brian.”
    Brian Stoppee, President/Executive Producer
    M2 Media Studios, Inc.

  3. John, when presenting at PS World, please try to score at the lower end of the buzzword-compliance scale. Watching the CS3 launch event, I was particularly peeved by the endless carping on and chirping over the fatuous word “engaging.”
    [Yeah… as with so many things in my life/job, it ends with the punchline, “…and *hence the blog.*” –J.]

  4. Hilarious post. Reminds me of a smaller client a while ago – we had just launched his site. I was on the phone with him.
    “Ok, your new site is live.”
    “It’s not working for me.”
    “Did you type the url in correctly?” (Repeating, spelling for him)
    “Yeah, it’s spelled correctly.”
    After a few minutes of confusion, I asked him to restart his browser, and explain exactly what he was doing.
    “Ok, I’m typing the url into Google….”
    OMG. Was expecting instant Google bots, I guess, for a site that didn’t exist 3 minutes ago. Turns out that he had never gone to a website by typing the address into the url window. He didn’t even know that was possible.
    [Heh heh–I experienced something very similar when meeting with a director of technology at one of the biggest publishing firms in the world (which shall remain nameless). She literally had no idea that one could type an address into something other than the search window. –J.]
    So best of luck at your presentation. It’ll be awesome, I’m sure.
    [Thanks! –J.]

  5. Ok, you see on your monitor where it says Go?
    No, I see a picture of that store.
    Go to the top of the screen and read me from left to right the words.
    Welcome to the Old Sautee Store.
    No above that.
    There are no words there.
    OK, click outside the picture.
    Yes, now what?
    What does it say?
    It says Welcome to the Old Sautee Store.
    And no words above that, like Go?
    Got a ladder?
    Yes a little one here in the basement.
    Put it in front of your monitor.
    Climb up until you can touch the ceiling above your monitor. Then come down and tell me if you can do it.
    OK. Alright I did it.
    Good, now, climb up and make an imaginary line from the ceiling to the top of your monitor. Then get down and tell me that you did that.
    I did, so what?
    Now, climb back up the ladder, touch the ceiling, trace the imaginary line down to the top of your monitor. Then move your finger down until it hits the glass, then move your finger to the left corner of the glass. Tell me what your finger is next to.
    Ok, just a sec. . . . OK, I’m back. Now what.
    What was your finger over?
    A little apple.
    Good read me the words next to the apple.
    OK, Finder, File, View, Go, Window, Help. Oh!!! that Go!
    Yeah….that Go.
    [Hah! ;-D –J.]

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