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How to shatter toilet lid and get more …

How to shatter toilet lid and get more sleep at company's expense: PVS-Studio's trips to conferences in 2023

Feb 28 2024

The year 2023 has already passed, so it's time to pick up the annual recap baton (even though I'm a bit late to the party). Programming events is my area of expertise, so here we'll dive into some trip tales of the past year!

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In our company, conference attendance is a permanent marketing activity. It's true for many other companies, though, given how quickly annual programming events are growing — and we keep visiting them. The busy bee has no time for sorrow.

However, this article won't focus on our attendance statistics and won't be an overview of programming conferences. Here you will find the most amusing stories that happened on our trips to various conferences. What if this article inspires someone to join their teammates in trips to conferences? (If the company has such a practice.) Apart from bringing some marketing benefits, attending such events can be a kind of team-building activity that greatly enlivens the workplace routine.

Toilet stories

Meet the first conference of my tale, Offzone'23. It took place in August.

That day, we stepped out of the taxi at the railway station, arms laden with boxes full of merchandise and gifts. At that moment, the floodgates of the heavens were opened, and the great rain fell upon us. We hurriedly got beneath the roof, and the rain generously ceased. A promising start has been made.

The Offzone conference struck me with the amount of entertainment available. It was my first exposure to modern programming events. That's where I learnt about this harsh arms race of merchandise and entertainment. It would be completely pointless to come there with a conference booth if you didn't bring any fun or curious stuff. Frankly speaking, my previous experience was limited to being a photographer at business events, so the difference was drastic. I saw two completely different ways of driving people together for business purposes.

Offzone took place in a loft space that was divided into separate buildings, not linked by indoor corridors. Despite August being a summer month, the weather was cold enough to make outerwear a must. It was the outerwear that failed my colleague on his first business trip. Perhaps his face looked too suspicious, and so his jacket was a good reason to keep him out of the sponsor's restroom. Only after he took off his jacket and his promotional t-shirt was shown to the world did my colleague finally make it to the cherished place. It was a one-off, however; wearing a t-shirt of a different color, he was again refused and let in only when accompanied by the event manager. This poor exhibitor's restroom served as our focus point: we argued for the right to use it and ate a sad, cold lunch on a sofa next to it (the deliveryman was not pedalling quickly enough due to the peak hour). Conferences are for those who are strong in spirit. Events for thousands of people are a complex ecosystem, so some hilarious mishaps do happen.

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Another colleague of mine has become the next celebrity in this toilet-themed column. Her story about a broken toilet lid gave the title to this article.

Will you tell us this story?

"Sure! It happened in spring, at "BE: MARKETING Conf". To be precise, that was not at the conference, but in the hotel room where we stayed. As I stepped out of the shower, I slipped and performed a diving elbow drop into the toilet lid, just like a professional wrestler. My elbow survived the encounter; the lid didn't. However, the hotel didn't give me any complaints; we were just kicked out of the hotel restaurant."

Were you?!

"Just kidding. There is no connection between these two incidents. Our event manager just made a mistake and told us that dinner was included — but it was not. The hotel staff made us leave our plates full of pork stew. What a disappointment!"

I hope that was the worst of what you went through. Or was there anything else?

"It was, actually: later on, our room keys got demagnetized. But compared to that doomed lid, it didn't seem like a big problem!

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Peaceful stories

The next event on my list is the C# conference that was held in September. We had been working with its organizers for a long time, so this event had no surprises for us. The conference was rather small-scale: there were only two exhibition booths, so almost the entire audience visited ours. Perhaps it was the most peaceful trip of the year: quiet, calm, and predictable. In the early morning, while waiting for participants to check in, we even had time for a little nap.

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What's next?

As you can see, conference trips can be not only a marketing tool, but also a team-building activity, a spirit booster, and much more. We thank the organizers of these events for the opportunity to explore the world outside the office!

We're not going to stop here; in 2024, we will attend many other fascinating events.

If you are not going to visit conferences this year and will not be able to participate in the activities at our booth, we invite you to challenge yourself online in our bug-finding quiz (if you write code in C++, C#, or Java). But if we'll be meeting soon, you can practice in advance and then pretend that a code review takes you no more than a minute and a half!

Have fun and fruitful business trips with your team!

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