BlogSpring “Blackout” Weekend

Spring “Blackout” Weekend

By Gary Stokes
March 20th, 2021

This “live” post starts with me eavesdropping on a debate in our Zion Conference Room about who is the best PLC programmer at Pendant, James or Rob. For the record, I have to back Rob here, for what should be obvious reasons.  The guys at Pendant will know why (in short, I hate being outdone when is comes to toadyism, which can run rampant around here, especially when Brad is around).

The debate wasn’t resolved, but Rob and James tentatively agreed to a code-off at the Pendant company picnic this summer.  Sounds like a blast, right? I suppose it could be, if we could figure out something funny for them to attempt to program. If you read this and have any suggestions, please add them to the comments below.

But that’s a digression. What you are looking at in the featured image is a “blackout weekend”, wherein Michael, Sai, Rob, and James are all working to systemize and streamline a variety of  Pendant processes. For example, Michael’s focus is on CAD drawings, James is working on PLC programming, Sai is all about Python scripting, and Rob is working on keeping the programmers from murdering the CAD guys and vice versa.  Oh, and I’m here to deliver lunch and write about it.

The main point is to become as efficient as possible, while at the same time improving accuracy and quality – no tradeoffs. And we’re using a large block of time (blackout technically started Friday afternoon and will run through Sunday) free from the distractions of the day-to-day to collaborate and produce results designed to make Pendant a better supplier to you.

But that’s a digression, too. Because what’s really happening includes bursts of highly focused production, mixed in with serious trash talking (sometimes self-directed), people spontaneously bursting into random snippets of song (when was the last time you heard “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”, and sorry for sticking that in your head for the next hour), people lobbing questions at each other, passionate debates about the best approach to a problem, off the wall musings from Michael (we’ll share some of those in a future series of blog posts), outpourings of frustration, declarations of triumph, and brief pauses to eat junk food and trash talk some more. Is there a synonym for “dumbass”? We’re leaning on that word too much.

It’s great fun for an observer. Some of the banter is hilarious, the junk food is especially junky, the skill level is very high, and then you get to watch things like Michael using VR technology to enhance his experience while he perfects CAD design systems.  Michael using VR   A weekend like this is not for the faint of heart, the uncommitted, the thin-skinned, nor the genuine dumbasses for that matter.

Pendant will emerge from the weekend better than before. The team will benefit from working as a team, together in close quarters, on common goals. The sacrifice of a weekend at leisure will seem small compared to the leap forward.

Whoops, back to the action for a moment. Now we have an argument about whether the Jack Daniels menu at TGIFriday’s can lead a teetotaler to become an alcoholic.  Rob (who doesn’t drink) contends strongly that it would definitely be a gateway to becoming a drinker.  The argument commenced when Sai (who also doesn’t drink) admitted he’s never had Italian food because they “put wine in everything”, whereupon Rob agreed with Sai’s reasoning.  James added that Rob avoids the Jack Daniels menu at Friday’s for the same reason Sai avoids Italian food. Rob then had to withstand an onslaught of trash talking from both Michael and James, disagreeing vehemently with his conclusion. And then right back to work.

I think I’ll go have a drink.  Or at the very least some Italian food.

I’d like to take advantage of that blackout leap forward