Our support team is the backbone of the MailChimp brand. They work tirelessly to help our customers, and I wanted to come up with a fun way to show our appreciation for their accomplishments. So I sat down with Kal, our senior support manager, and the two of us started brainstorming. Our slightly-fictionalized-conversation went like so:
Mattiel: Hey Kal, how’s it going?
Kal: Great! But I want to make something really cool for support. Something really over the top. Something like…
Mattiel and Kal in unison: A NEON SIGN?!?
M: We actually have a great relationship with The Neon Company. I’m sure they’d be happy to make something for us. And I’d be happy to design it! What were you thinking?
K: The nature of our job is to live and breathe our various apps and features. A lot of times updates and improvements come about because of tickets from support. But it can be difficult to know precisely when an interaction with a user has directly improved our app.
M: Nice. Maybe our neon sign could be triggered by a Raspberry Pi every time an improvement makes its way from the support team to the ASTA (Advanced Support Technical Advisor) team. Think Krispy Kreme’s “hot now” sign. That way, there’s a visual representation of each accomplishment.
K: Yes! It should be ridiculous and bright. And have moving parts. And be giant. And be ridiculous. How ridiculous can it be?
M: Extremely. I’m getting amped. The Neon Co. has tons of experience with large neon projects. They’re always busy making custom props for movie sets or neon storefronts for businesses around town. The Plaza Theatre? That was them. Let’s do this.
The neon process was like watching magic happen. Our video editor for this project, Troy, describes neon signage as “basically putting a star inside a tube.” A quote from our CEO made me think that a giant unicorn with majestic flapping wings would really embody the spirit of our support team. I watched the creature’s journey from conception to birth—her glass tubing forming and filling with glowing gas, the careful arrangement of all her parts and pieces on the wall. And the first time she lit up – wow! What a special moment. She was fabulous.
Once the sign was delivered for installation, it was clear that its size alone—10 feet by 5 feet!— was going to attract a lot of attention. On Pegacorn’s first test run, there was an audible gasp from the support agents, their faces aglow with bright neon. As the majestic beast’s wings flapped, people gathered around to take pictures, and there was a lot of fun chatter about possible names, and whether or not they’d be provided with protective eyewear. Because, you know, the future is bright. Bright as a Pegacorn.