Wednesday, February 14, 2007

SWAG meister

One of the nicknames I have at work is "the Don Meister". All it means, of course, is Don, the Master. One can hope it's used affectionately to denote the one with the the keys to information technology heaven and hell, a kind of St. Peter ordinaire, not at the pearly gates, but at the gateway to that awesome computer screen phenomenon of "hey, that was easy!"

But being associated with the computer industry now for over 20 years, I've come to appreciate being a meister of SWAG - sometimes known as "Stuff We All Get". SWAG is promotional items that you get from companies or organizations by virtue of participating in a seminar, a course, a conference, or some other kind of event. Over the years, I've done fairly well. Not all SWAG is received by everyone, of course. Very often, it's the result of a draw.

What have I won? A notebook computer, a keyboard, a few backpacks or tote bags, toques, T-shirts, sweatshirts, paper weights, squeeze balls, pens, pencils, notepads, USB memory sticks, external storage devices, even blankets. Spread out over 20 years, it hardly seems noticeable, but when you take stock and itemize the collection, you realize just how much has actually come your way by participating in promotional and training events. In the last month, for instance, I have won prizes from Podtech (sponsored by Seagate) and another from Microsoft Canada. Nothing worth gloating about, but certainly bright spots on cold winter days when the sun might not be shining.

Some SWAG I've received has come to me by virtue of being an employee. Pano Cap has given me T-shirts and lunch bags, for example.

Sometimes SWAG is controversial. Some companies require that all employees ensure gifts they receive from suppliers and partners are under a certain monetary value (I'm assuming that doesn't include prizes won in a draw). Some bloggers (people like Robert Scoble, for instance) get so much SWAG that they make a point of publicly declaring everything that comes their way, whether they accept it or not.

But most of the time for most of us, SWAG is not too controversial. It's just a pleasant, occasional aspect of being part of a professional community, a member of an association, or an employee of a company.

No comments: