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If I Wanted To Ruin Your Life I’d Do A Lot More Than That

October 17, 2018

Novell held a big convention every year in Salt Lake City, called Brainshare. It was held in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. There was plenty of floor space.

Novell had the biggest booth, of course. Other vendors had various sized booths. From small 10×10 booths, to large 40×40 or even bigger. And my brother’s company GWAVA had the biggest of all. As Novell’s footprint diminished, GWAVA emerged as the proverbial “big fish in a small pond.”

It wasn’t my brother’s company any longer, actually. He had left the company some months before. At his level, (Senior marketing executive) you typically resign “to spend more time with your family” or some other excuse.

My brother had left GWAVA, but his wife, my sister-in-law still worked there. I was working for a large non-profit in Salt Lake City. I was a technology guy working a technology job. Brainshare was a convention for technology people and was all about technology jobs.

My point is that I was exactly the demographic that Brainshare catered to. And it has historically been my favorite convention. And it was in my home town, no need to travel. And a friend got me a free pass.

What could go wrong?

Yeah, I couldn’t really think of anything either. But, it didn’t take long for trouble to find me.

On the first day of the week long conference, I walked around the convention floor. I stopped in and visited with old friends who make products that worked with Novell. And finally, I wandered through the large GWAVA booth. I was really looking for my sister-in-law. We weren’t close, but she lived in california and I didn’t get to see or my brother as often as I would have liked.

She wasn’t at the booth that day. I talked to old friends. But, I kept myself to “safe” topics.

How’s your brother?

Oh, he’s good.

What’s he working on?

You know, he’s exploring his options and enjoying some downtime.

I knew every statement I made would be scrutinized and analyzed. These people who had worked with him would look for hidden hints and meanings in my most innocuous statements. I was determined not to reveal a thing. And I didn’t.

I chatted for a few minutes, said my goodbyes and wandered elsewhere to see new product demos.

The second day I made sure to stop by the GWAVA booth early so I had a chance to catch my sister-in-law before her meetings started. And that’s when I figured out that my relationship wasn’t what I thought it was.

Hey, it’s good to see you again.

Come with me!


I need to talk to you and not in my booth!

Okay. . .what’s up?

You are ruining my job! What were you thinking coming by here yesterday! You’re ruining everything! What were you doing?

Mostly I just came by to say hi to you. . .

Okay, fine! You’ve said hi. Now, I need you to stay out of my booth and away from GWAVA employees!

Sure. Can I get a hug?

I’m still not sure why I asked for the hug. I was still trying to figure out where the family and the business side connected.

I called and went over it with my brother.

She’s just really stressed about having a good show.

Yeah, I know. But, does she actually understand how much I could screw her life up if I actually wanted to?

No, she doesn’t. But, I do.

She and my brother eventually split up. Novell became Micro Focus and they eventually bought out GWAVA.

I never did try to screw up her life, but only because I didn’t really care about it after that.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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