Lights out, let’s go: stories from the Uplevel launch

Any event coordinator knows that the day of a big event is always full of twists and turns: things that were planned, but fail; things that were unplanned, but appear. Tuesday, February 11, was no exception. But this is Uplevel. In the face of conflict, we prevailed.
Author
uplevel
Tags

We were still finishing our coffee on the morning of Uplevel’s official launch event and we had already faced our fair share of unplanned events. By 10am, our office manager had to call out for a sick day. Before lunchtime, we heard reports of a sopping wet hallway—thanks to a flood in the mens bathroom. Miscommunications with the movers resulted in our CEO, Joe, and lead designer, Nicole, focusing their efforts on re-assembling an oak dining table that had all 200 screws removed.

Then, around 2:30, the lights went out.

Headphones came off (so long, Deep Work) as our engineers and data analysts looked up from their now-black monitors, wondering what was going on. A sound of sticky plastic, followed by multiple thuds, came from the elevator hallway. Did you know that in partial building power outages, elevators will drop tarps from the ceiling with signs telling riders that the floor is experiencing emergency safety procedures? We learn something new every day around here.

A survey of the building revealed only a couple floors without power. Unfortunately for us, one of those floors is home to Uplevel, where we planned on staying late that evening with 60 industry friends, including our board of directors, who would be arriving in about 15 minutes. It was time for a team huddle. The board meeting was easily moved to a different space in the building, but the next challenge wasn’t so easy—where would we have this party? We spent less than ten seconds thinking about calling it. It just wasn’t an option. We were going to need light.

Cliche, but true, Uplevel knows that teamwork makes the dream work. A small team assembled and headed off to City Target with the company credit card and a four-item list written with a dying blue marker: lanterns, ambience-creating lights, flashlights, batteries. Then building management swung by with news: the outage was due to the bathroom flood and our power would not be functioning for hours. 

While half of the team worked the board meeting, the other half furiously ripped through lantern and flashlight packaging, fiddling with positive and negative battery directions in the dark, creating beautiful electric candle displays. Dave, our director of product, had the amazing idea to wrap the camping lamps in folded paper, creating beautifully defused lanterns. The results were exciting. Brian, one of our engineers, had the foresight to snag a travel speaker to pump some tunes—and a couple bottles of wine were shared in anticipated triumph.

When the 5pm start time rolled around, the once-bleak office was transformed into a glowing, welcoming, and party-ready venue. The last bit of daylight streamed through the windows. Guests were instructed to carry on past elevator safety tarps, where they were greeted by candle-lit walkways and paper-lantern-lit hors d’oeuvres and refreshments.

Soon, the room was full, drinks were in hand, and the vibe was strong. Midway through the party, the electricity problems had been fixed and the strong fluorescents blasted back on. How did we celebrate? We immediately turned the lights back off. This is a party, not a conference.

When everything could have gone wrong, we didn’t let anything bring us down. We knew our mission and we followed our superhero instincts to victory. 

As we celebrate our launch to the public, we truly know that we have what it takes to succeed. We can’t wait to see everything this team can accomplish together—lights on or off. 

Let’s take this further. GeekWire has nominated us for Start-Up of the Year! Help us snag the vote by voting here: surveymonkey.com/r/T9TJF8Z