Customer Site Visit at Disney

Seeing how Sun systems are used by customers was one of the most interesting aspects of the job when I was a software support engineer in Sun Services back in the 80's and 90's.

My first role at Sun was a field support job, working out of the Los Angeles Sales & Service office.   My coverage territory, however, was not limited to the LA Sales District and, instead, included all of the southwest USA and Hawaii.   A big area with an amazing mix of fascinating customers and computer applications.

A few years ago, I wrote about one of my visits at JPL.   Today, something got me thinking about another fun site visit...   At Disney Studios.

It was 1990.   Disney was in the last days of "filming" The Rescuers Down Under.   And, while all of the computers and storage devices involved, which included Sun workstations, were running great, the management at Disney wanted HW & SW support from the system vendors involved, onsite, for the last critical 16 hours.   Insurance, just in case anything went wrong.

So, Steve Henry, one of the best HW support engineers at Sun (IMHO), and I hung out at Disney for two work shifts.

And did not touch a single system.

For 16 hours, we were treated to a full indepth technical tour of the creation of an animated film, shared amazing catered-in buffets with the animators, supervisors, and "film crew", and enjoyed the soothing creative atmosphere of the Disney workplace.   No telephones were ringing.   Soft Disney music was piped in.   And warm recessed lighting added to the overall ambiance.

I watched one of the illustrators / painters work on a scene which featured the movie's villain, Percival McLeach.   The colors she was using were drab, dark, treacherous, and depressing.   Frame after frame, she worked for hours, faced with this evil villain.   During a break, I asked her if working on such a character took its toll on her at all.   She smiled and shared with me that she loved what she was doing.   Wow!

After 16 hours onsite at Disney Studios, I drove home humming Disney tunes.   It was another great customer site visit.

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Kimberley

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