TechEd Day 2: The lonely ask an expert panel

This is the day that I’m supposed to give my speech. I have brought my laptop to the conference and have my slides primed. I’m still a little nervous about presenting, but having gotten a feel for the conference and having talked to the many kind attendees, I feel that this will go pretty smoothly no matter what. After I’ve arrived at the conference, I met up with Steve Martin, my group’s manager, and we went out to the conference hall where the conference attendees will be leaving the larger conference room speeches. Steve and I are supposed to wait outside the rooms for people to leave, then shout “free USB memory sticks”, and hand out memory sticks and schedules for our booth’s small “ask the expert” talks. I had a blast doing this, and we got in touch with a number of customers, and then Steve and I returned back to our booth empty handed. After getting back the booth, I volunteered to walk around and find an “expert” attendee and then give away some awesome swag to them. Sarah Fastaband and I walked around for what seemed like forever until we found someone wearing one of our expert shirts and then screamed “we found one, we found an expert, woooo!” and managed to embarrass the pee-waddlin’s out of the poor fellow. Then, we hooked him up with a free mouse and were on our way to find our next victim. The next guy we were going for had attended all of the speakers that we had in our booth that day and was definitely wearing an expert shirt. Sarah and I tracked him down with the help of another booth monkey, Denise, and then we pulled him aside and surprised him with the “woooohooo! We got an expert!” skit again. I then went back to the booth to give my speech. The venue I was in was pretty far off to the side, and it was right after lunch… Long story short, I didn’t have an audience, so a few of the other people working the booth sat in while I rehearsed my speech. No one else showed up so it looks like I somewhat ended up off the hook on speaking to a large audience. I took a photo of the area I spoke in, check out my sweet poster!

Tech Ed Presentation photo

After the speech, I helped Eliot on our usability study and cruised the rest of the day at the conference. While cruising the conference I talked with O’Reilly about their publishing process and asked them “what do you think is your core competence?” The short answer is their editing staff. I’m always impressed with what a great job O’Reilly does with organizing their books. The conference wound down for the day and I left with Jim Travis to go back to the hotel. He and I suited up (bathing suits) and then went down to the pool for a little R&R at the end of the day. We then headed out for dinner at a small Ethiopian restaurant called the Nile. The food there was delightful and inexpensive. I was blown away at how full I was after the meal though, the portions were small but they expanded in my stomach like those “magic grow” alligators that start out small when you put them in water but expand to fill up the jar/glass you placed them in overnight. We came back to the hotel and I watched the Red Wings game with Sideshow Dan, Daryl, and a third developer who was deep in code mode working on a fix for an ADO/SQL presentation that would be taking place this morning. I went out afterwards to the Blue Martini and met up with Constanze, Ryan, Kim, Paul, and Erik. We had a blast and danced our hearts out.