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 SharePoint.org 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 multidimensional 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

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