And on some less appropriate ones as well. For example, last night I was taking part in a choir rehearsal as part of the preparation for a well-known religious leader's visit to the UK later this year. Not having had time to get changed after work, I was wearing The Shirt as we collectively negotiated the joys of counting bars, leaping fourths, subdividing triplets and other more applied forms of numerical analysis. Approaching the conductor - who'd been brought in from another parish in order to adeptly marshal our enthusiastic but slightly unfocussed efforts - with a technical question at the end of the rehearsal, I was a little surprised when he asked if I worked for NAG. Wondering if he was about to quiz me about - say - our optimization routines, I replied - somewhat cautiously - in the affirmative. "Great stuff," he responded. "I used the NAG Library all the time at university when I was programming in Fortran - it was really, really good." Owing to the context, the generous and unlooked-for compliment was so surprising that I forgot to say that these days, the Library wasn't only available to Fortran programmers (on reflection, perhaps that was just as well on this occasion) but I was also reminded that this kind of encounter isn't at all uncommon. Given the remarkable age of the company, perhaps it's only to be expected that you frequently bump into users - or ex-users - of your products, but it's still gratifying when they're able to share positive experiences - or happy memories - of it. Maybe I should start work on that Company Song after all.
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
A few years ago, NAG decided to brush up its public image and issued its staff with The Company Shirt (actually, it turned out that there was so much money in the marketing budget that each of us was able to have our own shirt, as opposed to being obliged to take it in turns to sport a single item of clothing). It's a rather splendid garment (you can see my colleague Mike Dewar elegantly modelling his below) that proudly but discreetly displays the company logo and, for good measure, the full name of the company (lest the abbreviation be misinterpreted as an exhortation to complain endlessly). The idea - which, I'd imagine, is common to just about every organization in the world - is that the shirt can be worn on exhibition stands, when giving commercial presentations or making customer visits so that a (somewhat loosely) unified image of the company is presented to the outside world. Members of staff have acceded to this idea with varying degrees of alacrity; speaking for myself - following an initial period of uneasiness where I suspected (quite without foundation) that the next step on the road to an improved image would be The Company Song - I've been happy to wear The Shirt on every appropriate occasion.