Before I get to the point, here’s an administrative fun-fact about my previous HARBUS contribution. Last time, I answered some questions about the physical condition of the Aldrich 10 classroom, highlighting its charming bronze-age attributes. Not high-quality journalism, mind you, but honest stuff nonetheless. Now consider for a moment the fact that this was the official “recruiting issue,” and every company from McKinsey to Kraft to GolfLogix placed an ad that week. Basic marketing tells us that advertisers pay more to place their ads in the more visible locations, i.e. near those articles that attract the most readers. If you’re keeping score, my article was sandwiched between an ad for an immigration lawyer and one for sperm donations. My first article, and I can’t even show the paper to my mother. Wonderful.

And now, on to The Question for this issue.
You’ve seen this man in your classrooms prior to class, nimbly adjusting the technical equipment. His given name is Matthew Briggs. But around week two of the semester, I watched him simultaneously fix the overhead projector, beam in a live video feed, and adjust an audio problem with the room before whisking away to save another classroom. I realized then that he must have a proper name, one that is appropriate for a master of his craft. The legend of Electro was born.

The name seems to have stuck, and I get a lot of questions about Electro, his abilities, and his role here at HBS. Allow me to shed some light on this mysterious and powerful character by answering this week’s Burning Question:

Who is Electro?

Electro is a Classroom Technology Specialist, employed by the HBS IT department. He ensures that any technology that can assist your learning experience is running smoothly and effectively. He is roughly eleven feet tall, and sports lightning-bolt sideburns inspired by the electricity he so deftly commands.

What makes Electro so gifted with classroom technology?

Legend has it that Electro’s parents were both HBS professors. One afternoon, while jointly teaching a Section F TOM class, they were shamed by a malfunctioning slide projector and tormented by horrendous microphone feedback. Humiliated, they ran away, leaving young Electro an orphan. Raised by the HBS IT staff, Electro immersed himself in classroom IT, avenging his parents’ dishonor with every smoothly-running video presentation. He is one with the classroom, yet no one can know Electro’s inner sorrow.

What is Electro’s favorite movie?

Electro is particularly fond of Short Circuit 2.
He seems to fix every classroom at once.

Can Electro transform himself into pure energy, and travel through Aldrich via wires and electrical outlets?


Does Electro have X-ray vision?

Of course not.

How does Electro hook up the video feed using surround sound, presenting a live picture while avoiding cross-feedback from the ceiling microphones, simultaneously pausing a DVD which utilizes the same channel input/output buffer, all the while avoiding intra-channel interference?

Electro presses “channel,” then “select” then clicks the “avoid interference” checkbox in the “audio options” menu before manually rebooting the changeover switch.

Does Electro know true love?

Can any of us really know true love, in the classical sense? Like you, Electro knows passion, friendship and despair. But Electro has no use for your Hallmark-card, pedestrian concept of “love.” He was one of the first people in Eastern Massachusetts to get a Playstation 2.

Does Electro sleep?

Pressing Shift F4 puts Electro into sleep mode.

Is it true that Electro reads all HBS students’ email?

Yes. But this is simply because he must monitor all server activity to ensure proper bandwidth usage, not because he is interested in your personal lives. As a side note, Electro says that Ingrid from Section B should just break up with her boyfriend already because the long-distance thing isn’t working and he obviously isn’t open emotionally and it’s time you both got on with your lives.

What is Electro’s favorite food?

Doritos. Don’t act surprised, not everything has to do with technology.
What angers Electro?

Electro does not like receiving seven hundred emails from the Global Outsourcing Club that come with graphics and colored backgrounds. Electro does not wish to join the Global Outsourcing Club, and he sincerely wishes to stop receiving their communications.

So there you have it. Next time you see Electro, tell him that you appreciate his work and offer him some Doritos. He is the best in his field, and he looks out for all of us. And it wouldn’t hurt to live by his personal motto:

“Rely on education, Believe in technology, Trust in Electro. And Winners don’t use Drugs.” (Electro, 2004)

Got a Burning Question? email On behalf of the One and Only Section B, I’ll do my best to address it appropriately.

November 22, 2004
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