Archive for November 2009

Quizzing Misadventures

November 13, 2009

This happened last week at a premium B-school:

We (QuizMonks; the research team) reach the venue of the quiz two hours before the scheduled time for a dry run.

1) The event head has flown off to Delhi to participate in some other quiz. (Bravo!)

2) The assistant in-charge takes us to the venue when there’s hardly 30 minutes left for the quiz to start.

3) The LCD switches off every 2 minutes; there is no mic; no sound cord for the laptop to test the audio questions.

4) A volunteer gets a cord from somewhere after much delay and the audio works fine. (Phew!)

5) The volunteer says, “Since the sound cord is put in the system, the mic wouldn’t work. Dhananjay, can you shout?” (It almost prompted Dhananjay to reply, “Yes. Can I start with you?”)

6) We realize the LCD is a pain. The assistant in-charge asks a corporate participant to stand on a chair and rectify the LCD that’s mounted on the ceiling. (You see, the organizers don’t believe in being formal. What the hell! In fact, they don’t believe in being courteous either.)

7) After much delay, they change the venue of the elims to a different classroom. All participants are asked to move there.

8) At the new venue, the LCD and mics are fine, but the audio doesn’t work fine. A random volunteer says, “Guys, please don’t delay anymore. We are late already. Let’s start the quiz.”

9) We start the elims and Dhananjay has to change two audio/video questions on the spot, as the organizers couldn’t get the audio glitches smoothened.

10) The screen at the main lawns (where the finals are to happen) is a tiny one mounted on a tripod. We ask the volunteers to change it. One of them tells us, “It will be visible. Don’t worry. Anyway, the quizmaster would read out, na?”

11) We threaten we wont do the quiz if they don’t get a bigger screen. They use a flex/banner on the backdrop and the finals that were to start at 6.30 pm gets postponed until 7 pm. And then, they realize that the director is on his way. So the quiz finally starts at around 7.45 pm. The Quizmaster had arrived at 5.15 pm. (Who cares about sticking to the schedule!)

12) The ultra smart sound guy keeps on fidgeting with the speakers and every time an audio is played, no one is able to hear it. Every single time, the host has to keep on announcing, “Someone please get the audio straight.” Every single time.

All these goof-ups, despite giving them clear instructions (in writing) a couple of weeks before the quiz about the exact requirements; including, the size of the screen.

Just a couple of weeks prior to the above-mentioned disaster, at another premium B-school, the organizers look unprepared for the event. A tiny screen for a massive auditorium; winners being given post-dated cheques without even informing them about it, etc. The cribber-event-head tells us in a high-handed tone, “Dhananjay, I thought you’d bring with you at least 50 corporate teams. Still, we get only 27 corporate teams. What ya?” We make it clear to him that it’s not the responsibility of the research team to get teams.

Personally, I feel that most of these people conduct events to add bullet points on their CV. Everything boils down to that. What a farce! Quite a few organizers speak with us as if we are their slaves. I think they take this liberty with us, because we aren’t like the other quizmasters who strut around with attitude up their sleeves, stay on campus and yet arrive late for quizzes, order food at odd hours, ask people to postpone their flights since the quiz would run late and conduct the quiz according to their whims and fancies. Surprisingly (or, maybe not), they are the ones who are respected; students address them as ‘sir’ and talk to them like they were the bosses. These are men of honour!

When Dhananjay and I conceived the idea of a quizzing research company, we were very clear about what we wanted. Dhananjay loved quizzing and I always wanted to do something on my own. We approached two of our friends who also shared similar interests and just like that, we got started. Our motto was clear – to offer quality research that’s unmatched in the country and conduct quizzes where the focus is on the questions and not, the accompanying shenanigans. We would slog our asses; stay overnight at each others’ places, work and re-work on questions, re-frame them to make them look sleeker and yet informative; think about 100 odd things to make the quiz a good mix of easy/tough questions, keep on racking our brains to cover questions on varied topics, etc.

Some unsaid rules we follow (or, try our best to) religiously are –

1) No compromise on research no matter how ‘commercial’ the event/quiz might have to be.

2) We will never be late for our quizzes because, we value our and everybody else’s time. We reach the venue at least an hour and a half prior to the scheduled time and do a dry run.

3) Complete the quiz a week before the event, so that we can review it over the next few days and make it better.

4) A post-event review and take necessary steps to make it better next time.

5) We ask participants for their suggestions after every quiz and if they make sense (and they generally do), earnestly work towards them.

Maybe, we should throw some attitude. Maybe, we should arrive late. We should perhaps ask the organizers to serve us spicy Chinese food and Kiwi-fruit juice next time. We must insist on a chauffer driven car. We must repeat questions from previous quizzes. I think all this will make QuizMonks more coveted in the eyes of the organizers.