I had the great fortune recently to be involved in an activity for Ping Identity that while uncommon, was not out of character here at Ping. We delight in having fun with work, in keeping it edgy and unusual, as well as taking on out-of-the-box ideas. The recent opening of our San Francisco office, and the looming RSA conference provided an opportunity that would only occur once, and we were determined to make it memorable.
The story begins around Thanksgiving last year when Andre (@andredurand), our CEO, spotted a vehicle that could help people connect our secure solutions to the idea of protecting their online identity. We inquired and bid, and inquired, and bid... and eight weeks later had what we were looking for. Getting a vehicle turned out to be the easy part. Now the real work needed to start in earnest -- RSA was only four weeks away!
This secret project was kept to a small group of PingIdentians until we were sure we could pull this off. The team began brainstorming ideas and taglines to wrap the vehicle in PingGoodness while a vendor who could make this happen for us was found. Ideas were flowing and emails flying. A creative frenzy was underway.
Meanwhile, if we had chosen a vehicle anywhere near San Francico, or one that had not achieved the status of an antique, this would have been easy. But no, we found our project in the Arizona desert, 622 miles from San Francisco. And most of the people that work at Ping Identity were not even born when this vehicle rolled off the assembly line. These facts presented some logistical challenges and the need to tell a few white lies....
One Thursday morning, in advance of Snow Storm Nemo, I headed to Phoenix on my way to Quartzville, AZ. Turns out Quartzville is THE RV capital of, well, the world I think. There are literally tens of thousands of them -- check out Google maps satelite view -- visible from space! There, amongst all the big modern motorhomes was our classic, a 1975 GMC Avion motorhome -- a little dusty, with a dead battery, but not at all discouraging, though the idea that this was going to be transformed and rolling past Moscone Center in a few weeks made me more than a little queasy.
Undaunted, and buoyed a bit by the fact that it was 72 degrees and sunny, a fact I was not able to reveal to those dealing with 30+ inches of Nemo snowfall, blackouts, and all the rest, we sent our purchase to a shop in Palm Desert, CA, to become: PingDefender.
The creative work was forming into a design and a plan to wrap the vehicle in Ping colors, logos, and tags. With two weeks to go, the wrap application process was started. Ten days later the four-day process was completed as the trucker arrived to flatbed PingDefender to San Francisco. Predictably, the driver arrived early and the application was completed 8 hours later.
Once you see PingDefender you cannot escape the idea that this is going to be awesome. We rolled to 4th and Mission in San Francisco early Monday morning of RSA and within 20 seconds of stepping out of our 'new' RV, I was engaged by passersby wanting to know about PingDefender and Ping Identity! People were taking pictures, tweeting, stopping by our booth at RSA to see who we are, what we do, and tell us how cool PingDefender is!!
Of course this is not a one time cameo by @PingDefender. We have other events in mind and the streets of San Francisco will be our regular cruising area.