A Secret Worth Learning – The NewTek Friendship

 

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The folks at NewTek are incredibly caring and giving! Words don’t describe what I feel right about now. You all know that NewTek San Antonio recently loaned us a TriCaster 8000, to replace the TriCaster 300 we have used in the past. This is just part of what helps us make the Official Broadcast of Extra-Life.org so amazing. What you don’t (and we didn’t) know about the TriCaster 8000 that was loaned to us may just get you in the feels. They went WAY above and beyond, and kept a dirty little secret from us, until today! Was it ever a good one…

Rolling into our second year as the hosts of Extra-Life.org’s Official Stream, we really wanted to step up our game for them. After all, they’ve helped us in so many ways, it was only fair that we tried to make their broadcast look and feel even better. But how? We don’t have the budget to purchase any more multi-thousand dollar equipment, and we’ve already done so much on such a low “budget” (read: our of pocket) as is. We received small help here and there, but for the most part we were at the end of what we were able to pull.

“Do we think we can get it donated? At least loaned?” It never hurts to try. Tanya and I (Dale) had the idea to JUST ASK. We separately contacted the folks at NewTek, but our efforts seemed to have gone unanswered at first. They are busy people, we know. It started to sound like Tanya was making some headway, but then responses fell off again. We were losing hope, and time. One day, I just happened to be looking at one of Scoble’s interviews and saw Phil Nelson on there talking about the TriCaster Mini (Backpack) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfvT8GfY_e4. BINGO! I started to talk him up in the comments of Scoble’s Facebook post, and continued in private messaging. THEN, I learn he started talking to Tanya again as well. Don’t care who was the tipping stone, but it worked. That’s all that matters!

Gameday was getting pretty close, and we were getting pretty nervous. Though communication had picked up, they still weren’t positive if they would have one, or be able to loan us one. The glimmer was dim, but it was there.

The day before setup, Tanya receives THE CALL from Phil, and this post is the result of that call. Our Broadcast Specialist, David, drove straight to NewTek to pick his new temporary toy for the weekend. The thing ran beautifully for well over 24-hours straight, and our broadcast was crisp and went off without a hitch. Even with the incredible upgrade curve for David to learn, he rocked it out in a day.

OK, event over, and here we are almost a week later…

Some of our members are also in the 501st Legion, of which I am a partial member as I don’t have my armor yet. (One day) They were asked to volunteer at the NewTek Office Halloween Party tonight, and I was asked to be a Handler while they wonder the office and take photos with folks. It was a great party! The 501st escorted the costume contest judges, hung out, Boba Fett chased a kid dressed as Indiana Jones (not sure why, hah), and we had some delicious pizza. All said, it was a great time.

The “after party”: After getting out of character and out of gear, we all hung out chatting with Phil for a bit. Man, that guy has some great stories!  Ever meet a super fan of the Flaming Carrot comics?  Yea, me either, until today.  While casually talking, he slid in a note that really caught me off guard. I was thanking him again, for probably the third time tonight, when he dropped a bomb on me that was almost fashioned in a way for me not to catch at first. “Excuse me, you did WHAT!?” He told me they really didn’t want to tell us this, for fear that we would think they loaned us defective gear, but the TriCaster was broken before they gave it to us. Wait, what? The thing worked totally fine… Turns out, it WAS broken, until their engineers stayed late one night, replaced/repaired what was needed to getting it running for us. They didn’t have any other loaners on-hand, and went way out of their way to give a non-profit something amazing to use. I just don’t even know how to react to that. Shook his hand and smiled, I did. Speechless, was I.

Needless to say, I have so much respect for these folks right now! Extremely looking forward to hopefully working with them again in the future.

 

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