Thankful for my Remarkable Accordance Family
Last week, we brought our largest team ever to the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). While Accordance is based in Orlando, Florida, many key members of the Accordance team—including trainers, developers, marketing personnel, and associate scholars—are scattered across the United States and even throughout the world. These folks all telecommute really effectively, but we decided to use ETS/SBL as a pretext for getting many of them together in one place. For that reason, we actually brought more people to work the conferences than we really thought we would need.
I was a little worried that with so many hands on deck, we would have Accordance staff standing around our booth with nothing to do, but the Accordance booth was so consistently busy that boredom was never a problem. I did lots of demos to new Accordance customers, many of whom were Windows users excited about finally having access to Accordance without the need for an emulator. The demos I enjoy the most are the ones where a Ph.D. student comes with a specific research need, or a professor comes with a new class they're preparing to teach, and they want to see if Accordance can help them. When they see what Accordance is capable of, it is not uncommon for their jaws to drop, their eyes to light up, or even for them to laugh involuntarily.
One of my favorite things about working the Accordance booth is the way our team of demonstrators works together to meet people's needs. It is quite common for one of us to begin a demo and then get asked a very specialized question: "Can you show me the new Hebrew Masora Thesaurus?"; "Is there a way to do this search using the MT-LXX Parallel?"; "Can you teach me how to create my own custom maps with the Atlas?" If this question is one that could better be answered by someone else on our team, the demonstrator will not hesitate to ask for help. The scholar with the MT-LXX search had three of us working on his problem before we finally came up with a solution, and he left feeling very well taken care of. The thing I love about this dynamic is the complete lack of ego among our team members. No one is afraid to ask for help. No one is tempted to try to fake their way through a demo. Everyone's focus is on finding the solution the customer needs, and I think people leave our booth knowing we truly care about the work they do.
On the last night of SBL, our entire team enjoyed a wonderful company dinner at a restaurant in Baltimore's Little Italy. After dinner, we each said a few words about how we thought the conferences had gone. As I listened to each person's comments, I was struck by the degree to which each speaker was praising other members of the team—including team members who hadn't come to the conference. When someone mentioned that this year's brochure was really helpful, several people began praising the behind-the-scenes team members who had prepared it. When we discussed the excitement among some scholars over our new Masora Thesaurus, we were told about the remarkable scholar who had produced it, and the incredibly talented developer who had compiled the module. I never cease to be amazed at how quick my coworkers are to praise one another.
A few days later, I was back home with my family enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving. Among the things I'm most thankful for is the fact that I get to work with such amazing people who function more like a family than a mere company.