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When Failure Results in Success

April 1, 2008

Last night I gave the first of two workshops on how to use a wiki to board members of a non-profit organization. I had equipment problems. I discovered I should have done some more checking ahead. I had left the Mac dongle for connecting my laptop to the projector at home. My husband (wonderful human) after a panicky phone call, brought it to me. It was from my iBook, and didn’t work with my new MacBook. So … the wikipage I’d prepared – http://wikiwhy.wikispaces.com/ – with its embedded screencasts and SlideShare links was unusable. I couldn’t use the projector. Much frustration, but “the show (or workshop) must go on!”
I had made a paper handout. I started (instead of ending) with that. Then, as my brain fog (“I messed up; what will I do? I messed up – etc. etc.”) cleared, I realized that at least half of those attending had brought their laptops. And the handout had the wiki address on it. So I was able to help them get to the URL of the explanatory wiki that I had planned to project.

You know what they say about always having backups in casse of tech problems? They are right. My paper handout and the explanatory wiki made a big difference! But they were peripheral to what actually made the workshop work. The people there, whenever I would pause, asked each other questions, or me, and figured it out themselves rather than being stuck watching my presentation. They got further along than I had planned/expected. They all joined the board wiki and many made new pages for their particular committees.

So I failed, but they (and the workshop) succeeded! Now for part 2, do I get a new dongle?

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