Transcript of 44th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sylvia Bows, Tuesday, June 24, 1997 at 4 pm.

Ms. Bows: Hello, Doctor Balis. I just have to tell you that we'll have to make it short today. We're having dinner with Tom's parents at six and...
Dr. Balis: You don't have to explain, Sylvia. But six is a tight deadline, are you sure you don't want to simply cancel for today?
Ms. Bows: That was my plan, but Tom insisted that I go. He believes that you keep me sane, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad to hear that Tom appreciates what we do here.
Ms. Bows: He does. So we're going to talk about Beverly at dinner.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Bows: Tom's parents want her to be released from the mental facility. She's been responding well to medications and they want her to have as normal a life as she can which, of course, requires being out in the real world.
Dr. Balis: I see. And what do you think?
Ms. Bows: I'm trying not to impose my opinions. But Tom is completely opposed to the idea. He thinks that Beverly is not capable of being responsible for herself and her actions. He said that the only way he would consent to her release is if she has a legal guardian at all times. Tom's parents are freaked at the idea.
Dr. Balis: Why?
Ms. Bows: I don't understand exactly. I think it would have been okay if they could be the guardians. But they are too old to be dealing in that way. They are very angry at Tom for insisting on this condition.
Dr. Balis: Does Tom have any say in this?
Ms. Bows: He threatened to file criminal charges against Beverly, if they release her without a guardian.
Dr. Balis: I see. So dinner tonight is to resolve this issue?
Ms. Bows: Things were getting out of hand, so I wanted to give it a try by setting up a family atmosphere in which everyone could talk and express their opinions. I also wanted Tom's parents to be in the presence of the boys. I think the boys actually being there as real people might influence their decision Tom's way.
Dr. Balis: Good idea. I assume they are devoted grandparents?
Ms. Bows: Very. And the boys are their first and last chance at grandparenting. They are a strong argument in Tom's favor.
Dr. Balis: Are you stressed about tonight?
Ms. Bows: I guess you can tell I'm feeling very edgy. It'll be okay. I just want very much to put the whole incident behind me. And helping Tom resolve the Beverly family crisis would get me a long way there.
Dr. Balis: I agree.
Ms. Bows: Can we not talk about this any more? I want to clear my mind before I have to face the music at home.
Dr. Balis: No problem. Do mind talking about other difficult subjects or would you rather...
Ms. Bows: Everything else is fine. I just don't want to talk about Beverly.
Dr. Balis: Okay. I wanted to ask you about Richard. Have you seen him lately?
Ms. Bows: As the matter of fact, I have. He had an interesting idea and my department is going to adopt it in our efforts to communicate technical information to our clients.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Bows: Richard is talking about the way people remember and file away information. It's mostly done through storytelling--you have a better shot at remembering information if it is presented via an interesting and relevant story, then if you read something in a technical manual. Hence, if we're trying to teach people how to troubleshoot our hardware and software, we have a better chance at doing that if we can tell them stories of actual problems experienced by other users and how they managed to arrive at a solution. We've set up an online section where we encourage people to post their problems and their stories. And we are actually including the reasoning and motives behind the design decisions on which our products are based--we include anecdotes told by our engineers about the development process as part of the technical information we provide. I think it's really going to help.
Dr. Balis: Sounds very interesting.
Ms. Bows: Yes. Richard is a very smart man. And while his idea is not all that original--user groups have been doing this kind of support for a long time--the execution he's come up with is brilliant. I almost feel bad now that the Apple deal cratered.
Dr. Balis: Oh, I didn't know that was all over.
Ms. Bows: After the board of directors's a long story. But I believe that Apple could have benefited by becoming part of SII. We have a very different culture when it comes to supporting our customers and developer base--we treat them well. We go out of our way to understand and meet their needs.'s painful to watch a company blow it that bad. But, oh well.
Dr. Balis: Did you actually have to work with Richard on this project?
Ms. Bows: No, not really. We had a meeting and have been exchanging some materials and ideas on how to best accomplish his vision. But other than, I don't have to be in the same room with him or even to talk to him very often.
Dr. Balis: I see. I'm impressed that given your feelings about him, you were able to enthusiasticly grab onto his idea.
Ms. Bows: Thank you. I'm pissed but not stupid. But I have to say, Richard looks very bad--he's got thin and sort of withered. He looks about ten years older. I guess lawsuits just don't agree with him. God, I've got to go. I didn't realize it was so late. See you next week?
Dr. Balis: Of course. Good luck on your dinner.
Ms. Bows: Thanks, I need it. Good night, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Sylvia.
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