Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Our Funny Business

People come up to us all the time and ask, “How can I be funny?” Okay, well, maybe not all the time. And maybe it’s not people. It’s actually—

Okay, fine, we often ask ourselves “How can we be funny?” And after an extensive but fruitless search on Google for “funny making software,” we’re reminded of a formula handed down to us from on high. It’s the formula for a joke and it goes something like this:

Tragedy + distance = comedy

You might be asking, “So an earthquake on Neptune? That’s funny?” First, we would correct you: They don’t have “earthquakes” on Neptune, they have Nepquakes. Duh. Second, when we say “tragedy” and “distance,” we’re talking in very loose and general terms. After all, what may be tragic for some of us may just be a bad hair day for someone else. And there’s a ton of different types of distance: physical, historical, emotional, and so on.

We at Restricted Intelligence deal in tragedies, there’s no way around that. Email hacking, phishing, security breaches… None of these are a source of joy for anybody (except maybe the perpetrator). So how do we make them funny?

That’s where the distance comes in. And it’s where we have to do some balancing and juggling, too. Now, we could set this on Neptune, but who knows how business works on Neptune? We could decrease the distance a bit and hold up a mirror, but that’s hitting a little too close to home, which isn’t funny.

Instead, we split the difference. We make creative stories close enough to the viewer’s experience so they can relate (password issues, phishing scams, BYOD, and so on), but create a context that’s a little further from reality: larger-than-life characters, scam emails that any reasonably intelligent human could pick up on, and the list goes on and on.

Oh, and the one thing that we didn’t mention as part of the Comedy Formula but is absolutely crucial: No one really gets hurt. And by that we mean no one really suffers. Egos may be bruised, careers sullied, but no one gets hurt. It’s like with great slapstick: people fall from buildings, get hit with bricks, step on nails, but they dust themselves off and get back to the story.

So now you know our secret formula. We take the scenarios you’re familiar with, we see how almost cartoon-like characters deal with it, and we make sure there’s no injuries at the end. You and your team, in turn, get to have a laugh and walk away with new tools in your fight to secure and protect your company and your customers’ information.

Just don’t tell our characters. They take this stuff very, very seriously.

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