Thought Leadership

An intimate evening with Al

By Colin Walls

A brief bonus posting today! I wanted to share an experience that we had yesterday evening.

My work frequently involves me standing up in front of an audience and pontificating about stuff. That’s what I do and [most of the time] enjoy doing it. Broadly speaking, the larger the audience, the easier it is. The dynamic in the room is strongly affected by the number of people present. With just a few people, it can be very hard to get a reaction or even know if you have anyone’s attention.

I was, therefore, quite empathetic with a performer yesterday. We went to see Al Lewis at a small venue in a nearby town. He is a young Welsh singer-songwriter, whom we have seen a couple of times before. We really enjoy his music and hope that he can make it. We were so disappointed yesterday because the venue, which must have a capacity of well over 100 people, was rather sparsely occupied – I think there were about 15 people there. However, Al soldiered on and gave his performance just as much energy as he would for a full house.

All the people were sitting around the periphery of the room. After a couple of songs, Al said that he felt a bit lonely and we were all welcome to get a bit closer. Nothing happened, so he just continued his singing. I whispered to my wife “Let’s move”. She reluctantly agreed [not wanting to stand out from the crowd] and we moved to a table much nearer to the stage. Guess what happened then. Almost everybody else moved as well – nobody had wanted to be first. The atmosphere in the room was immediately warmer.

Al explained to us that, in the business, you do not have a “small audience”, but you perform in an “intimate setting”. I felt that this exhibited a very good attitude. At the end, I went to chat with Al and buy his latest CD and congratulated him on a good performance. I was pleased to hear that tonight’s gig is a sell out.

Keep a look out for Al Lewis and do go and see him if he’s a venue near to you.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at