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Friday, February 04, 2011

When things go wrong, preparation helps them go right

Yesterday, things seemed to be going well.  I completed most of the writing and layout for our Canadian print publications and thought the continuing series of experimental live broadcasts at 2 p.m. would be easy to co-ordinate.  In fact, I took a fairly lax attitude to the set-up process, rushing to assemble the lights, mixer, microphone and stuff for the scheduled start.

Then, things just didn't work.  Livecaster's software application (procaster) would not load properly.  I tried a restart, but this made things worse.  Now I couldn't access at least one of the Internet browsers, Adobe Acrobat, and several other programs.  Problems, indeed.

After aborting the broadcast, I took Plan B -- a visit to the Apple Store downtown for some diagnostics and review.  With the "Procare" card I didn't need an appointment.  The technician pointed out a crack in the casing of my five-year-old MacBook Pro and then proposed we reinstall the system software.  The work would take about an hour.  I called home to tell my family I would eat dinner downtown, visited a post office to mail some documents, and returned to discover the system installation had failed.

The technician said the motherboard or memory could be "gone" but, based on the external condition of my computer, he thought it time to replace it.  As I had essentially been prepared for this day since September, I said, "Let's do it."  The sales rep took just five minutes to show me the options and I handed over my Amex card and walked out with a new MacBook Pro.

At home, I plugged it in, discovered the function that allowed for back-up restore, and connected the cables to the backup hard drive, which I had (fortunately) updated just a day before.  I spent some time with my family as the backup proceeded for an hour.

Voila.  Everything works.  All of my files, applications, resources, data, and systems are in good order.  I'm back in business.

Of course this speed didn't come without cost.  I could have purchased three or even four non-Mac desktops for the price I paid for the replacement MacBook Pro.  But I've grown to enjoy the reliability and power of my "old" MacBook and the Apple Store's integrity in the fall in not selling me a new computer when I thought I needed one then carried weight when it came time to make the purchase.

This is the power of branding.  In your architectural, engineering or construction business, you achieve these results when you and your staff do such a great job that your clients truly believe (feel) they've been treated fairly, with integrity and respect.  Price then only becomes a secondary decision-making consideration.

As well, obviously I'm fortunate to have followed the rules and saved everything with a proper back-up system.  I can't understate how important it is to ensure you have back-up when you are dealing with computers (and any other important business system).
I will resume the live broadcasts next Thursday at 2 p.m.  This time, I'm confident things will work, on schedule.

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