Lasers, Forklifts, and the Backblaze B

Backblaze had a large presence at Macworld 2014 this year, and we had a great time at the show. We love going to Macworld and spreading the good word about online backup. We spoke with lots of interesting people, met with tons of Backblaze users, and even got some of them on film. One of the questions that we kept getting, though, was, “Where did we get that big ‘B?’”

B-Pod-2Based on my napkin drawing, Andy’s blueprints that we sent to our vendors.

The “B” started as a fluke. Initially we wanted to have a small presence at Macworld this year. Last year we were in the Appalooza section and this year we wanted to have a little modest booth where we could film some of our Backblaze fans and spread the word about online backup.

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The bare pieces start coming together.

A few weeks before the show, a large space opened up and we were given the opportunity to occupy it. We debated for a few days about whether or not it was a good idea to go that big, but ultimately we decided to go for it. After all, how often do you get a chance at a primo spot on the Macworld floor? But then we were faced with a problem. With large booths come large responsibilities. What were we going to do with all that newfound space?

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The “B” starts to take shape.

We started brainstorming in the office, but the best idea came from our CEO’s wife, Katia. Gleb came in to the office and said, “Katia thinks it would be pretty cool if we built a giant ‘B’ out of our Storage Pods.” This got the wheels turning and we decided that we were going to try and pull it off, with two weeks to go before the show.

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Getting ready for a paint job.

I immediately started down the path of working with our existing Pod builders to see if it would be possible to build 18 chassis (by my estimation) and set them up in a way that would resemble a big letter “B,” for Backblaze. I drew it on a napkin, Andy made a schematic (seen above) and we sent it to our vendors.

Looks good in red! Click here for a video of the painting process.

It quickly became apparent that our existing vendors weren’t going to be able to get it done in time without affecting our regular Storage Pod deliveries, so we had to think quickly and come up with a new place to get our Storage Pods bent in to shape.

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Taking delivery of the “B.”

Our savior came in the form Ally Bocchieri, of Power10 Sales, who found us Exact Corp, a farming equipment manufacturer. A weird choice? Not really! We needed metal bent. They bend metal. We had a two week deadline. They promised they could deliver on time. Perfect!

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Unloading the 300 lbs “B” is a team effort. Backblaze CEO, Gleb, helps push.

I had a little request of them as well. We’ve never actually seen what it looks like when our Storage Pods were assembled, and while these Pods are for display only and will never go in to production, I asked Exact to take a few pictures of the Pods being assembled, and just like the “B,” they delivered. A big thank you to Exact, who not only delivered the “B” ahead of schedule, but also provided the documentation of its construction which helped make this our most memorable Macworld ever! Enjoy the photos below and live the life of the Backblaze B.

2014-03-25 15.16.43Our newly allotted blank space.

2014-03-25 15.19.43One of the scarier unloading moments.

2014-03-27 10.14.43The final resting space.

2014-03-27 10.15.05What people saw when they walked on to the show floor. Great placement!

2014-03-29 18.02.20The Backblaze show team – (From Top Right – Tasha, Sona, Damon, Dave, Nathan, Gregory, Andy, Natalie, Yev, and Chris – Not pictured: Gleb, Brian, Zack, Anna, Monika, James, and Ken)

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Data center Dave starts taking apart the “B” for transportation out of Macworld.

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The B comes apart.

2014-03-29 19.17.58Loading the “B” on pallets for the return trip.

2014-03-30 14.06.25Luckily, the pieces made the journey home safe and sound.

backblaze-b-pod-officeThe “B”‘s fabulous new home at the Backblaze office.


About Yev

Yev Pusin is the senior director of Marketing and sometimes Marketing chief of staff at Backblaze, which he joined in 2011. Yev has a degree in business and communications from the University of Iowa, where he developed an alliteration affinity. Yev enjoys writing in an amusing way about the "why" of things and how decisions are made, so that readers can learn and be entertained all at once. Follow Yev on: Twitter: @YevP | LinkedIn: Yev Pusin