Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Red Firewall

We were a bunch of half baked Management Grads back in 2005. It was time for our internship program and along with a friend of mine I kicked off a Market Research activity for an IT Firm. Our targets were CIOs [Chief Information Officer] of IT organizations. Figuring out the usage and scope for Network Security Products like Firewalls was to be our assignment.

And there we were, charting the longitude and latitude of the City of Bangalore, on a brand new bike knocking at the doors of every possible IT companies we could figure out. We'd to cover a minimum of ten firms a day. Our initial thought was ten is such a small number, but the facts of cold calls soon hit us real hard. Forget about meeting ten CIOs, getting an appointment a day became an event to celebrate! Many a times, we'd to split the areas between us to meet the target.

Destiny had it that two months of our lives were to continue in this fashion. It so happened that we were one short of our target on a promising Friday evening. All what we had to do was to finish off the last one and head back home. We were at one of the commercial hubs of South Bangalore and were sure to find an IT firm to fill our last slot.

Soon we found ourselves standing in front of a state-of-the-art building which had a pretty interesting name. Since we were in that part of the world where IT companies were giving competition to the population growth of the country itself, we were confident about our find. Walked we did, right through the front door and met an equally confident front desk assistant who welcomed us with a warm smile.

The usual drill was to ask for the CIO and push our chances for a short instant meeting. The receptionists usually oblige or politely deny. But this one proved to be a different animal altogether. She answered in negative to our query on CIO, but said they did have a Firewall. We found that interesting, though not surprising since there were many small IT firms without CIOs but one person handling multiple roles.

Our following question was about meeting the person who is in charge of the Firewall. Her answer baffled us. She said, "Sir, we don't have anyone like that. I manage it myself. In fact we got it only last week and installed". We were not sure if we should be confused or mighty impressed. Here's a receptionist who also doubles up as the Network Administrator! What a revelation?! All that and more were completely proved otherwise with her next statement. That totally pulled the rug from under our feet!

Her eyes twinkled and smile broadened when she said, "The best part is, it is Red in color and I love Red"!

We looked at each other and needless to say, were speechless. For a moment we even thought, perhaps there could be a brand new type of Firewall named in the likes of 'Bluetooth'! Sensing our confusion she asked us to follow her. Took us through a door besides the Front Office desk and blissfully pointed her finger at a direction and repeated those words, "That is our Red Firewall".

There it was, perched on a wall, laughing out loud, a Red colored Fire Extinguisher!!!

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