I wanted to showcase Viglo at the MaFLA conference of 2015. The president of the event, Ms. Catherine Ritz, told me it was too late to do so because the Exhibition Hall was already arranged with the other booths in mind. Fair enough. So I responded by acknowledging that fact, but offered to pay full price to have my booth placed elsewhere at the conference, even outdoors! Instead, I get a response saying that they already notified me that the Exhibition Hall was full (which I explicitly acknowledged in the prior message). Was my email even read!?
After I sent a torrent of emails that were, admittedly, an attempt to pester my way into the conference, I was struck with an idea. If MaFLA was going to refuse me a booth, then I would just have to build one on my own. The result is seen in this video:
To make that table, I purchased a wooden tv tray-styled table. But it was far too short, as it kept the computers at waist level instead of chest high. A dumpster provided the solution to that though. I hopped in and pulled out a giant wooden umbrella made for outdoor patio use. I disassembled the umbrella and used it’s arms to extend the legs of the portable booth. The legs of the table went through a number of different looks until I settled on the swinging look seen in the video.
Then to make the table portable, I harvested the straps of a backpack, which allowed me to carry/wear the table like a backpack. Two milk crates had to be sacrificed with a sawzall to provide back support, I attached portable speakers to each computer, and between the rear legs I fastened a pocket from the backpack to hold various items, like pens and business cards. Viola, portable booth!
If you watched the video, then it’s pretty safe to assume that the staff from MaFLA must’ve thought this was pretty cool too, huh? Of course not. Ms. Catherine Ritz came out, guns blazin’, telling me to get out. Prepared for the MaFLA staff to throw a conniption over my portable booth, I had enough cash to purchase one of their empty booths, offering it to them so they’d let me remain. Instead of being a negotiator, Dictator Ritz refused to simply take the money and let me be (hell, she didn’t even have to give me a booth, I had one of my own already!). Her robotic adherence to “the procedures” of how things are done lost MaFLA a couple hundred dollars, and more importantly, lost the attendees of MaFLA the opportunity to get acquainted with the future of language learning software.
In the end, Viglo lost the battle. But be prepared to see the portable table make its appearance this spring in a number of cities on the East Coast!
P.S. A special thanks is owed to Craig Marino and Mark Smith for giving me great help in building this contraption. (Not sure if they want to admit it or not, but too bad)