On Thursday, the Silicon Valley tech company Palantir came to the UW to give a “Tech Talk,” a self-promotional display of technology used to get CSE students interested in working for the company. The talk is usually accompanied by food and, sometimes, raffle prizes. I decided to attend because I figured I would be hungry around 5:30 (definitely true), and I had heard lots of good things about the people at Palantir and what they were doing.
The food, as it turns out, was pretty good — we got to make our own tacos, and I greatly appreciated it. However, I had a 6:30 class, and was unable to stay until the end of the talk, which I heard went until about 7:00. This is where it gets interesting.
At the beginning of the talk, the Palantir folks passed around a cup into which we were to drop our names to win a fabulous iPod touch. Being all about gaming the system, I decided to enter my name several times — six or seven times, that is — using varried sizes of paper. Furthermore, I went around with the cup, allowing other to place their names in it, before placing my own names into the cup, to give me a superior placement within the cup. Apparently my techniques were effective — very effective.
In fact, I won the raffle. Or at least, my name was drawn first. However, because I had to be present to win, and instead I was attending my 6:30-9:30 Programming Languages lecture, I did not actually win. So they placed my name aside and drew again. And then my name was drawn, again. I still was not present, so I still did not win. Finally, someone who was present did win, and the raffle ended.
It seems that my actions grated on at least a few people, although the student who reported the incident was “nice” (?) enough to omit my name, while nevertheless accusing me of having no integrity. I decided to thank him or her for the post, and take full responsibility for my actions in a comment to the post.
But, I would like to hear from my readers as well: Were my actions unethical? Am I a shmuck? Should I be ashamed of myself? (Right now I’m not.)