Pandas, Pandas, Everywhere (Even on your Desktop)

Recently I got to sit down and interview Waffles, Bamboo’s newest mascot. If you haven’t seen him yet, check him out here as he delivers video cameras like it’s Christmas.

V: Waffles, thanks for taking the time to talk with me. First of all, I know you recently signed on with Bamboo to be the official spokesman, how has the experience been for you?

W: It’s been incredible. Opportunities for pandas are limited as it is, especially in this economy, but to spend every day surrounded by such a tremendous group of people, and get to be at the forefront of such an exciting industry — well, if you can find a better place for a SharePoint panda to be, I’ll eat my pen. Actually, I might eat it anyways. The new ones are made from Bamboo.

V: They’re very cool. I think some of our users are picking them up right now at the Conference in Baltimore. It seems like you’ll be spending a lot of time on screen, have you done any previous work?

W: It’s funny, actually; I just missed out on Kung-Fu Panda after they switched to CGI (which was a mistake – don’t even get me started), and a lot of the scripts I read after that, over the last few years, have been really stale — just a lot of roles where the studio wants me to sit there and wave a stick around, or I’m supposed to sell Chinese food.

V: Beyond Bamboo’s name, and the obvious correlation there, what made you decide to put your name behind Bamboo? Do you actually like the products?

W: Why, because I’m a panda? Frankly, I’m offended by that. It’s not like you see a toucan’s resume and immediately decide he has to sell Fruit Loops. I mean, I’m an artist. I didn’t get into film to be the next Tai Shan and just carry on some character archetype. I came here to blow minds, to push the envelope, you know? At Bamboo, I have an opportunity to change the way people do business every day, and there’s something to be said for that. A lot of people don’t know this, but back at NYU, before the film bug bit me (literally — I have kind of an insect problem), I actually took some computer science classes. Data Structures, Compiler Construction, and even a little bit of low-end Web development. Back then, there was a little bit of a stereotype about pandas in the sciences though, and I really didn’t feel like I had a future in the industry. I was young, and it was tough sitting there, trying to blend into a lecture hall with a bunch of college kids. It’s like — “Hey, are you from Asia?” No dude, I’m from San Diego. But all people see is a panda, and they make assumptions. But now, to be able to get back into software in a totally different era, while being able to embrace my roots as a giant, fuzzy bear-creature… well, you just don’t say “no” to things like that.

V: Have you seen the squeeze toys? Is it weird having your likeness in a little, handheld form?

W: It’s a little weird, seeing yourself as a stress toy. At first, some people were all, “look, Waffles had babies”, and I was like, “come on, please, I’m obviously a dude.” You know? I mean, I’m a panda, not a space alien. But everyone meant well, and I think for the most part they were just trying to be supportive. It’s hard being the face of a company; especially one that’s in the news as much as Bamboo. But like my mom used to say, {unintelligible grunting}.

V: A lot of people are going to get to know you as Waffles “the SharePoint Panda.” Obviously, you’re more multi-dimensional than that, so do you have any side projects that you’re working on?

W: Like I said, I definitely have a soft spot for development, so I’ve been working on a couple of little side projects with engineering on that end, but I don’t think I’m supposed to talk about that stuff. But let’s just say that where I come from, the word “panda” is pretty much synonymous with “business process automation.” I’ll leave it at that for now. As for personal projects, I’ve been doing a lot of writing in my spare time, and sometimes I think about starting a blog. But I don’t want it to be some one-off thing that I get really excited about, and then end up not being able to keep up with. The Internet has enough of that already, right?

Click here to download Bamboo panda wallpaper