Naga Chokkanathan

Why Not? — Drama

Posted on: July 20, 2011

Few days back I attended a technical seminar. A famous research scientist was supposed to give the keynote speech titled “Information Compromise and the Risk of Identity Theft”

As usual, somebody gave a boring welcome speech and then introduced the keynote speaker. He waved at us and was about to get on stage.

Suddenly, his expression changed (I could see this clearly because I was sitting in the second row!). He started shouting at the person next to him ‘Where is my laptop? I shouldn’t have given it to you useless people. You always misplace it somewhere and I suffer because of your mistake. All the notes for my speech are in that laptop and what the hell I am going to do now?’

Unfortunate for him, everyone in the audience could hear this – his collar mike was ON and he didn’t notice it. For the next couple of minutes, he was cursing everyone around him, using all sorts of insults. We felt very embarrassed because our keynote speaker was giving a not-so-nice speech today.

Luckily, the laptop was located in some corner seat. He went on stage, connected his laptop to the projector and the first slide flashed in big bold characters: “Sorry!”

Our speaker smiled at our reaction and started speaking:

Friends, I apologize for all the drama. I really didn’t lose my laptop, I purposefully gave it to a friend and retrieved it back after few minutes!


I wanted to demonstrate what happens when you unknowingly expose yourself online. In my case, I very well knew that the collar mike was ON and purposefully acted as if I am angry. But what if I was not aware of that? I might have said something which you people are not supposed to hear!

The same is true for all your online interactions – Your Emails, Chats, Searches, Purchases, Facebook, Twitter Messages and so on… you may say something without realizing that others are listening – That’s the security compromise we are going to discuss today!

Of course, he got a standing ovation for this lovely start and went on to deliver an exceptionally good Keynote address. I am sure none of us will ever forget about security compromise / identity theft and we will be a bit extra careful when sending an Email / Chat Message.

That’s the power of drama / story telling. When used in the right time, proper context, right mix, it can make a concept stick forever in the listeners’ minds!



N. Chokkan …

20 07 2011


2 Responses to "Why Not? — Drama"

Simply fantastic.. Pls do share more like this..

Thank you Balaji

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