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'Please wear your badges. There's a political party event in the next building. We've caught them stealing our food.'

After that, the talk started.

I was at a tech conference, having gotten up early on a Saturday and driven 40 km to be there.

And I had no badge because I had gotten in without a ticket.


When the talk ended, I walked through the main area with company booths. It took me less than a minute to bump into the person who'd made the announcement.

'Where's your badge, please?'

'I don't have one. Tickets sold out but I figured I'd come anyway.'

He sighed.

'There are a couple of talks that I really wanted to hear. When you spoke earlier, I was wondering what you'd think about my case.'

'Well, you're not here to steal anything. You're just crazy,' he paused. 'All right, follow me.'

We walked to the registration area and the people there got asked to find me a badge.

Why would he do that?

For one, I was open about what I wanted — to listen to talks that his team had spent the last couple of months putting together. I wouldn't mind someone appreciating my work this way. Getting up in the morning and driving 40 km. Risking not getting in.

What I don't agree with is that it was crazy. I placed a bet in which losing meant having to go back home. But I got to hear two live talks that I loved. Both will improve my future project and career decisions. That's a bigger win than you expect on most days.


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