“It doesn’t work.”
“Okay,” I said. “I’ll get someone to troubleshoot it with you.”
“You can try,” said Jonathan. “But I’m not sure there’s any point. It just doesn’t work. And I mean at all. At ALL.”
Jonathan is Jonathan Paine, a former Pixar artist responsible for modeling some of Pixar’s most loved characters from shows like The Incredibles, Ratatouille and Up.
He’s also a partner of ours on some television shows we created — and a pretty darned good friend.
From sculpture to animation:
3D artists like Jonathan start their characters in clay.
Then they need some way to get their sculpture into their computers.
So they used to have to hire a 3D animator to 3D Draw the sculpture or they sent it off to someone with a $20,000 machine and waited weeks to get the file they could work from.
It ain’t cheap:
Both are options that take a lot of time and cost a lot of money.
The Matter and Form 3D Scanner, though, would sit right on his desk and give him a high-resolution 3D file within just a few hours or less.
It would have been awesome if it worked. And Jonathan was telling me it did not.
It just sat there:
I got Drew, the inventor, on the line with him right away so they could figure out what was wrong.
Jonathan was right. The damned thing was doing absolutely nothing.
They tried this and that, one thing and another.
And finally Drew said “did you turn it on?”
“No. How do I do that?”
The on-off button was so cleverly designed into the logo that Jonathan didn’t even know it was there.
He turned the scanner on. And, yes, it was working.
The company changed the on/off button design on the very next run.
Why this story matters:
When people call in for help with the scanner, they’re often embarrassed. Many are early adaptors who pride themselves on their tech skills. They feel dumb having to call in and ask for help.
The on/off Jonathan story puts them at ease right away. Hey, if even a Pixar Artist needs help now and then, they get that it’s okay for them to ask for help too.
But it also lets them know that the company takes people’s feedback very seriously.
Sure, they could have just told customers how much they valued them and their feedback.
But it wouldn’t work.
Think about it:
When you’ve been on hold for a long time, do you feel valued because the message says “we value your business?” Do you think someone is funny because they tell you how funny they are?
We don’t trust people who want to tell us how to feel about them.
People value what they discover more than what you tell them.
Stories give people the information they need to come to the conclusions you want them to arrive at.
And because they had to put it together themselves, they trust it.