Saturday, August 26, 2017

Five reasons why we are celebrating Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary


2017 marks 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published, initiating a global phenomenon. Far from the fact that some of us in Smartmatic call ourselves geeks, the literary series of the wizard boy has touched us in multiple ways. It has captivated us across the globe and across departments, so why not join the world celebrating and sharing our Potter’s love.

1.    ‘It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.’ Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Sometimes we approach technology development as if we were wizards. Though, our wizarding world is much more about finding solutions to enhance digital democracy, empowering public participation than to cast spells and fight the dark masters. Everytime our election technology is used to improve the integrity of democratic processes, we feel full of pride of how ‘the magic’ of our effort truly works.

2.       ‘Dragons are extremely difficult to slay, owing to the ancient magic that imbues their thick hides, which none but the most powerful spells can penetrate…’ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
We do love magic and dragons. Who doesn’t, right? While Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’s motto is “Draco dormiens numquam titillandus” (Latin for “Never tickle a sleeping dragon”), for us, the adventure lays in waking up and riding our dragons. In Smartmatic, we have a long-standing relationship (some might even call it fascination) with dragons. They awe-inspire us and motivate us. And far from what some Game of Throne’s fans could argue, in Smartmatic we all put extra love and effort to be able to ride one of our awards dragons!

3.       ‘Books! And Cleverness! There are more important things — friendship and bravery.’ Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Besides avid and obssesed readers, we also have wonderful children literature followers and critics amongst us. Some of our bookworms are now sharing their bibliophile tendencies with second generations. Yes, Harry Potter’s love included. Indeed, we even have laureated writers for children books in the company! In case of doubts, just ask our CEO. Even better, go and enjoy Hookitty-Tookitty-Tah, an awarded tale about a wizard baker boy who uses his cooking magic to rid his town of a bullying dragon.



4.       ‘We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.’Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Even if we don’t have internal Quidditch tournaments, we do try to support and delight in “more common muggle’s passions” for team sports, such as football or Ultimate. Yes, we do have sporty developers and many other energetic colleagues getting together on their free-time to play against each other. It may not be as awesome or flamboyant as quidditch, but nevertheless we play and enjoy the team magic of staff integration!

5.       ‘Working hard is important. But there is something that matters even more, believing in yourself. Every great wizard in history has started out as nothing more than what we are now, students. If they can do it, why not us? ’ Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
And last but not least, Harry Potter and all his wizarding world has tought us life and professional lessons about resilence, about fighting for our dreams and loved ones, about working hard to achieve success, and about the value of team work. Most importantly, against all odds, it has inspired us to believe that transforming incredible ideas into reality (such as election technology and Internet voting) is possible to build a better electoral world (for muggles and wizards alike).


Pd. According to Bloomsbury Publishing, The British Library will curate and launch a brand new exhibition about the magic of Harry Potter, inspired by J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece, opening 20th October 2017. “This will be the first British Library exhibition inspired by a single series of books by a living author. From medieval descriptions of dragons and griffins, to the origins of the Philosopher’s Stone, the exhibition will take readers on a spellbinding journey to the heart of the Harry Potter stories.” See you there!

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