Written by Ryan Groom, Co-Founder and CTO at Kognitiv Spark.
Three-plus decades ago as a high school student I worked a summer at the Ganong Chocolate factory in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, to save money to buy a new computer. Established in 1873, Ganong has the distinction of being Canada’s original and longest-standing family-owned and operated chocolate and confectionary company. Working there I ate a ton of candy (and still do!).
The computer I was saving to buy was a Commodore Amiga 2000. The Amiga was going to have an optional second 3.5” floppy drive, one for the Operating System (called Workbench) and one for applications/storage, which was just beyond exciting.
I worked away at the factory, helping make chocolates, confectionary even got to see how little hard pink cinnamon candies called Chicken Bones were made. After I purchased the computer I saved up for an additional 6 months and did a massive upgrade to a 40-megabyte hard drive and expand the memory to 3 megabytes of RAM.
This thing rocked! The Amiga was an upgrade from my Commodore 128D which I did adore.
This is the exact moment when I evolved from tech enthusiast to full-time geek. The Ganong job allowed me to dive into what was then only an interest, setting me out into the world with what would become a life-long love of technology.
Fast forward to a few months ago when I had a chance to speak with Nick Ganong about their need for Ganong’s technical staff to be able to connect to experts located all over the world to help them provision and maintain their manufacturing equipment. Nick and his team realized that the HoloLens with RemoteSpark was the next step they needed to move beyond using cell phones and video calls to troubleshoot issues with remote experts.
What Nick didn’t know was a summer job a “few years ago,” at the hometown candy factory would eventually lead to the development of the very solution his business needed to keep production flowing 33 years later.
The unique technological experience I gained from working with the Amiga changed my view of technology from “like,” to “love.” Not until the HoloLens came along did I feel the same sense of admiration and excitement for innovation that I had booting up Workbench 1.3 in 1988.
I still remember biking to work every day with one goal in mind…. buying that Amiga 2000!
Yes, I still do have an Amiga. The 2000 was sold to the local school board to help make informational videos but I bought an Amiga 3000 from a friend (which I still have), but that is another story.
To employers, those summer jobs you give students, you never know where that investment may lead. It was just too cool to walk into the very factory that played a hand in setting me on the path that led to founding Kognitiv Spark and building RemoteSpark and to then see our innovation helping Ganong’s engineers solve problems, quickly and effectively.
Thinking back, this summer job and buying the Amiga is my butterfly effect moment.
P.S. Chicken Bones are still my favorite!