Five Things They Don’t Teach You at Automation School: Rule 5


So here we are, rule #5 of our series about the five things they don’t teach you at automation school.  If you have kept up with the other four rules then you’ll know that these aren’t about where to click on a piece of software or how to reset an emergency stop.  They are about how you can be the best operator or technician possible in the crazy world of entertainment technology.

Rule five takes me back to 2003 and the biggest star around at the time is about to take to the stage.  125,000 people are there to watch him, the show is going out live on national TV and for our little company Kinesys, which is barely 6 months old, this is the biggest moment of our short life.

We are providing the drives and control to move eight video walls that have to travel around a suspended oval track, they can also fly up and down on variable speed hoists and if that isn’t enough they all rotate as well.  The show starts with the screens butted together as a single wall hiding the star and in fact the whole set.

There are five minutes to go, I have done all I can do, someone else is operating the show, so I head out into the crowd and find a spot near the front of house position in this sea of people.  The music starts, the crowd are getting whipped up into a frenzy and it feels like the future of the company could just rest on this one moment.

And then, bang on cue, the screens start parting. A few seconds later they start lifting up on their hoists and a few seconds after that they all start to rotate 180 degrees.

The crowd have gone crazy as the music hits its crescendo and the star is revealed, every hair on the back of my neck is on end and I realised then that in our own little way we had helped to create this incredible moment.  Helping to make more of those moments is why I still do what I do 15 years later.

So my rule to you, rule #5 is simple. Know WHY you do your job!  It can’t just be for the money, you work too hard, work too many hours and spend too long away from family and friends for it just to be the about the money.  Acknowledge what you love about your job and take great pleasure in that.