(Charlotte, NC) Here at Eritas Daily, we value follow-through and the tenacity it takes to track down the stories that fill out the entire picture for our readers. One recent example of this tenacity was a trip we took following marketing associate and Charlotte native Ben Mendelson back to his home office after first meeting him at SXSW here in Austin. Although Mendelson had been representing his company ‘Prophit!’ during the week-long conference, we were more interested in his return from Austin than in his networking capabilities. So, imagine our surprise when we arrive at his office all the way back in North Carolina to discover that almost week later he was still wearing his SXSW badge. And get this, it wasn’t even Platinum or anything!
Despite our initial shock, we almost instantaneously took a professional interest in what was happening, as we knew this was a scoop. “Oh hey!” Ben exclaimed from across the office before making his way to us. “Didn’t I meet y’all at South By? Man, what a fun place to spend a week. What brings you all the way out here?”
We explained to Ben that we were following different people who had attended SXSW to see how different their lives were after the festival. “We are big believers in The Festival,” the three of us in our team state in unison. “South By is a chance for everyone to learn, grow, and become part of what makes Austin great.”
“Of course, of course. Let me set y’all up in a conference room so we can have some privacy. Follow me.” With this, Mendelson lead us deeper into the office through to a conference room off the main area of the building. So far, remarkably, he had yet to mention that we was still wearing his badge. We knew to be patient. “Yeah just take a seat anywhere,” he said, plopping himself at the head of the 20 person conference table.
“Thank you,” we said in unison again before taking our seat, as only true professionals do. “So tell us Ben, do you feel different after coming back to Charlotte?”
“A little bit,” Ben began hesitantly. “I have had this weird itch on my chest and my stomach is still a little bit upset from all of those breakfast tacos, but I can’t complain. Does that answer your question?”
“Well, sort of. You see, SXSW isn’t just a conference for movies, music, and tech, over the years it has evolved into something more. The more people who come to Austin, the more ambassadors we have for our city. This is where you come in.” Now to reel him in and get him on ice. “We’ve noticed you haven’t taken off your badge yet, may I ask why?”
“I don’t know,” Ben said, still trying to process everything. “I just didn’t even think about it. So are you saying I should keep wearing this?”
“Yes, and more. Continue wearing the badge and tell everyone who asks about it what a splendid time you had at SXSW. Tell them that Austin really is “all that” and that if you could, you would move there. This doesn’t have to be true, but it will really sell your position.”
“Sure sure, but what do I get out of all this?”
“Well, if you bring enough people to Austin, you might get the chance to truly become part of SXSW. It all depends on what the higher ups think about your performance, so there’s no time to lose. Don’t you want to be part of something bigger than yourself?”
“Yes, yes I do.” With this, our part of this story ends. However, Ben’s is only just beginning. We wish him the best of luck and hope that when his soul is eventually absorbed into the heart of Austin in order to keep the lights on, he’ll understand what all of his hard work was for.”
This was written by a sniffling Nathan Ellwood. Don’t judge. Follow him @NPEllwood.