I've worked with Comcast's Troy Ewanchyna for a number of years when he was at the NHL. One of my fondest memories is the walking to a lunch meeting with the Prairie-raised exec during a bone-chilling, minus-27-degree winter's day. I was bundled up beyond recognition, he was in a four-season business suit. They grow 'em tough on the plains.
Yet Troy seems to have a soft spot for Surprise. He sends over this lament in a recent email:
Some cases in point that I've used:
- We don't remember phone numbers any longer. Everything is programmed into Outlook and cell phones.
- I go to an AC/DC concert and there's a printed playlist sitting there in the suite...I know the whole concert before the first song is played. People even plan when to take a bathroom break or whether to stay for the encore.
- I'm at a college hockey game and just when a penalty expires the announcer says "The teams are now back at even strength!" I remember the good old days when the goalie had to bang his stick so his team knew the guy was coming out of the box. Surprise d-man!... You weren't paying attention, I'm picking your pocket and going on a breakaway.
- I worked at a GPS company and saw a lot of this first hand: How crazy iit that people will blindly follow their in-car navigation systems and nearly drive over a cliff before they stop and think?
Good points all, Troy. But there's a big difference between an over-reliance on technology (points 1 and 4) and the elimation of the unknown (points 2 and 3).
What would be fun is if the announcer made his call 15 seconds BEFORE the penalty is over, or if AC/DC veered off the set list a bit and covered a Billy Joel song or something (not as crazy as it sounds; on his last tour, Billy and band backed a roadie named "Buzzsaw" who sang a truly inspired version of "Highway to Hell).
The beauty of Surprise is that when one door closes, it just forces you to find another one to open. Except in the cases of your points 1 and 4; trust me, you don't want the Surprises those babies can bring!