How to explain polling (and software development) to a 3-year-old

Ten years ago, when we created the world’s first web-based audience response system, it was hard to explain to people what it was.

“It’s like American Idol where you text in your vote.”

“Ya know, those clickers that people use at conferences…. It’s like that, but with your phone.”

Well, when we invited Poll Evian children to the office for “National Bring Your Kids to Work Day,” they seemed to have very little trouble with polling.

One seven-year-old explained to the younger ones, “polling is voting. You just press the button.”

They borrowed their parent’s cell phones and responded to a multiple choice of their favorite animal emoji 🐯, a word cloud showing their ages, and a clickable image to decide what kind of pizza they would like to eat later. They were particularly fond of the polls where we allowed them an unlimited number of responses, tapping away with abandon in a live horse race onscreen.

We even learned which parts of our UI were most successful (the “lock” option to stop responses from coming in) and which parts required the ability to read (the “submit” button.)

Keeping with one of our most salient culture values – a desire to grow – we gave the kids as well as the grown-ups a chance to pot and decorate their own succulent as a souvenir of their day.


We also tried to give this very young next generation a small taste of what their parents and their colleagues do at work. Director of Engineering Matt Diebolt explained that he made software, which means he writes down instructions for a computer to follow in order to do things. Director of People Operations and mastermind of the afternoon’s events, Thoey Bou, described her job as making it possible for people to do their best work.

From the looks of it, most of the parents got their best work done that day when all the children settled in for a movie screening and popcorn. Well, until the kids karaoke began, that is. 🎤