As part of our Hot Seat Webinar on the rise of the Millennials last Friday, we intended to enhance the “visitor experience” with a little add on after the presentation. Playing on the stereotype of participation ribbons and other memorabilia for millennials, we informed all of the viewers that they would be receiving a digital “Certificate of Participation” just for watching the show. While it was a project borne of humorous intent, we were dead serious about sending those out.

In reality the system that customizes a PDF certificate and emails it to a recipient is one that we built for a new service we are developing; a Virtual Claims Kit Compliance module that will customize posters, forms and brochures for newly insured employers, and send them the documents while copying the carrier for compliance audit purposes. It will also have use for possible educational endeavors that may be in our future. Since we developed the mailing system, we thought that using it for this webinar for its trial run would be an ideal opportunity.

As it turns out, the system had been tested with a few emails, but had not been run against any significant list of subscribers. It created an error on the first attempt to send the certificates out to our webinar viewers. Our developer running the application made some adjustments and ran the system again. Once more it generated an error message. He repeated the effort, tweaking and trying a couple more times. Unbeknownst to him at the time, the system was in fact sending the certificates out in the background despite the error messages indicating otherwise. We realized this when one of our people in Sales, who had watched the presentation, called to say his inbox was filling up with Certificates of Participation.


It seems that there was a whole lot of participatin’ goin’ on, as we sent out far more of these certificates than was our intent. If you are one of the people who received multiple emails from us in this manner, please accept our sincere apology. Our developer suggested at the time that we email an apology out, but I demurred, as I didn’t think people would want yet another email from us at the time.

The good news is that, for people who registered but were not able to view the live webinar, it is available for viewing at their convenience. And we intend, in the spirit of honoring participatory ideals, to email them all digital certificates as well. The better news is we think we have the bugs worked out, so if you are one of those people, you should get somewhere under one hundred of them. In fact, we are optimistic that you will get just one.

And that is the way it should be, really. No one wants to over participate in anything. Not even a millennial. That would be showy and imply that others had not participated enough. And if we start identifying winners and losers through excessive certificates of participation, there is no telling just how bad things would get.


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