Billed as a drawing card for developers at the recent BorCon developers conference in Melbourne was a chance to chat with long-time Borland guru David Intersimone.
A hush came over the crowd in the packed keynote as the big man appeared on the screen, inside the MGM Lion's ring, roaring as the lion would at the beginning of a blockbuster. A good gag, we guess. But wait, there's more.
David I is pictured here (near right) talking from Hollywood, addressing the Melbourne attendees about an e-tailer using Borland software. After a few more jocularisms, he pulled out a Nokia Communicator, giving a good plug to the sponsor of the event, and announced he would transport himself onto the stage at Melbourne. He typed in the coordinates and on came the fireworks and flashing lights.
But David didn't show on the stage. The crowd looked around. Where was he? In walked local Borland MD Andrew Munro, carrying a life-size cardboard cutout of the big David I. "There's been a problem," he announced. "David has come through the transporter, but in two dimensions." The crowd feigned laughter to be polite.
Munro tried another poorly scripted gag using his own Nokia, pointing it at the cardboard cutout and claiming he could fix the problem. But there was still no David. Munro said he couldn't bring David back because he was using an Ansett transporter.
The crowd dutifully laughed again. Where is this man they call David I? Who else will we turn to for a poorly dressed, hirsute, and generally a-little-bit-on-the-tubby-side guru to talk to us about software?
Which begs the question: what kind of job description is "software evangelist"? Does he walk the streets, knocking on doors, espousing the superiority of J2EE Java Server Pages over Active Server Pages? What exactly does a guru do?
The answer, in the case of David I, will have to wait until later in the year, or maybe even next year, when Borland brings his Royal Guru-ness back to our shores. David I, according to Tabloid spies, actually caught a nasty flu and was not able to speak let alone fly to Australia. Either that or he was kidnapped by Microsoft, probed by IBM and God knows what by the lads at BEA.
But a tip for you PR folk and event management people: rather than cover up a promise with a cardboard cutout, why not go the whole hog and try for a stand-in guru? ARN would like to offer the services of our outstanding columnist Matthew JC. Powell (above right), who shares some similar features to the great guru David I, and would most definitely give him a run for his money in the "passion for technology" stakes. Cheques are payable to firstname.lastname@example.org, which we'll forward to any HR manager who can give us a job description for "software evangelist".