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-- The Second Greatest Story Ever Told: The 4th Annual Blue Moon Holiday (http://archive.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?threadid=52164)
The Second Greatest Story Ever Told: The 4rh Annual Blue Moon Holiday
For those of you new to the world of TiVo, or who have never heard the story before, tomorrow is a very special day in the world of TiVo. Tomorrow is the 4th Annual Blue Moon Holiday.
Tomorrow is not a blue moon, but 3 years ago, the last day in March was a blue moon. The historians of Silicon Valley will show that TiVo shipped Version 1.0 on March 31st, 1999, during the 2nd full moon of that month, and about a month before any competitor shipped a PVR.
The story goes something like this. We had just come back from a very exciting CES show in January, and our booth had been located yards from ReplayTV. We know our competition. We had looked into their eyes.
Our CEO, Mike, called a company meeting, and we all gathered in the big open common area. He told us he was proud of where we were, but that now was the time to show what we were made of. He told us that the company that shipped first was going to get the leap that would put them on top of this new and exciting category. In the middle of January Mike stated, in a fairly comprehendible Scottish accent, that we were going to ship on March 31st, or we were going to die trying.
By my best calculations, I was the head of Quality Engineering at the time, we were about 4 or 5 months from really being ready to ship. I went back to my desk after that meeting and sunk into my chair. I just stared at the open TiVo in front of me. I couldn't imagine how that thing was going to be ready in just 2 and half months.
You could feel the tension all over the company. You could hear the low murmurs of engineers grumbling to each other that it simply couldn't be done. It wasn't that we didn't agree that we needed to ship first. It was that we had already had a grueling Fall and Winter, and we were already pretty burnt out, and there just wasn't much more give in our lives. At the time I was regularly pulling 60, and often 80 hour work weeks. We all were.
But a good friend, Steve, went back to his cube and noticed something. He had a giant lunar calendar on his cube wall, and he noticed that March 31st was a blue moon.
The next day we had an engineering meeting to figure out the new schedule, and better understand how we were going to bring in the schedule by more than 50%. We played with numbers, lied a bit, and eventually we came up with a very hair-brained plan that given a little magic, a small manipulation of the space-time continuum, and a willingness to forgo sleep for a while, might just work. We needed a rallying cry, which for Engineering teams is often a good codename. Someone suggested Mission impossible, which was too negative, and then I told the team about what Steve had seen on his cube wall. Once in a blue moon, greatness happens, and we decided to codename TiVo 1.0 Blue Moon.
At the end of that meeting one of our heads of engineering showed us the clip of Olivier’s St. Crispin’s Day Speech, from Henry V. (Yes, we’re really that sappy.)
“But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:*
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.”
“And in the end,
the love you take
is equal to the love you make.”
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