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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

Where did the last fortnight go?

Where did the last fortnight go?

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Firstly, an apology - my posting frequency has dropped dramatically over the last 2 weeks, and with only 3 posts since the start of November, I thought it was time to get cracking again!

Secondly, an explanation of why I haven't been posting!  Well, having completed some training in Milan at the start of November, it was time to start the ball rolling on the Exchange, Vista & Office Roadshow on the 6th November.  Now, the first of these events was held at the Microsoft UK Campus, at Thames Valley Park.  I just went along to watch, and I thought, for only the 2nd event on the tour, it was pretty good, although there were a few people who were unhappy with the content and who the content was aimed at.  Susanne, a Microsoft Small Biz Partner, wrote a pretty long blog post on her blog (which I recommend you bang in your RSS feed reader) about how the messaging doesn't really apply to the Small Businesses out there.  I did agree with alot of what she was saying, yet, rather than write a response, I'll let you read David Overton's post.

So, we took the feedback on board, and we set out to improve the show - we couldn't re-tailor the message to just the Small Businesses (more on this later), but, we could streamline what we had, to ensure that all attendees left with a vision of what is possible for their customers, around Exchange 2007, Vista and Office 2007.  I think one of the key messages for us around the roadshow, is that we are putting the dots on the page for the attendees, and we hope that the attendees can join them, in whichever way is right for their customers.

So that was Monday, by Wednesday I'd traveled up to Manchester, to present at a Careers Fair, trying to encourage new graduates onto our Graduate Scheme.  So, that's 200 miles so far, then it was down to Bristol, another 200 miles, to prepare with the guys, for the next EVO Roadshow event, down in Bristol, at the Watershed Theatre.  This is the first time I would be presenting on the Roadshow, and I was pretty nervous, but excited at the same time!

Vista Exchange Office 2007

So, how did it go?  Awesome.  It was an amazing buzz (even though I was full of a cold!) and we received some excellent feedback.  You can see my picture on the left!  My main part was in the first 10 minutes, where I took the reigns and gave the 250 audience a real whizz-bang demo of Vista and Office.  The idea of this section is not only wow the audience with what is possible with Vista and Office, but ensure that they can see the business value at the same time.  We've tentatively named this, the 10-minute speed demo, full details of which I will be putting on the blog soon.

From there, it was on to London, where the Matt & James double act was on it's second showing, and we decided to adapt the 10-minute speed demo a little, by showing my top 20 things in Vista, so while James narrated, I was banging through the different features like there was no tomorrow.  Having got through 11, and time being pushed, it was important to have a whizz-bang final 9...


Games Explorer

So, that's where my first week went, but what about the second?  Well, I mentioned earlier, that many of the attendees to the first Microsoft UK Campus EVO Roadshow event, left disappointed, as they felt the messaging wasn't really appropriate for them, so, I was asked to go along to one of the many Small Business Community events to talk about Vista and Office.  This event was held at the MSN offices in Soho, and was a great opportunity to meet some of the small business partners, such as Vin.  The event was excellent - it was really great to get to know some of the pain points that small businesses are facing with this wave of products.  I demo'd for about 2 hours (I'm a firm believer in less slides, more demo!) and it resulted in some great talking points, and the feedback from the partners was very positive.  By the end of the demo, there were already conversations taking place (outside the pub!) about how they could apply some of what I'd shown, to their customers!  Result!  I was really proud of what I'd done - coming away from London, I felt like I'd made a difference to these guys.  I can't believe my job is so rewarding!

On Wednesday of last week, at the office, I had the chance to attend a cool session on Live Search, which, partner in crime, James, who is quicker on the draw than Clint Eastwood on heat, has blogged about it.  You should give it a read, it is definitely worth it.  I'm not going to pinch his content, but I am going to pinch this video - it's awesome!  Enjoy the Knights of Live Search...


Thursday was the next big one - the biggest number of attendees so far, and this one was another good one!  Again, I had the free reigns on the first 10 minutes, and I thought I'd really spice it up abit.  I took alot of elements from the previous demo's that I've given, but at the end of the demo, I thought it would be great to demonstrate the new features in Accessibility in Vista, or in particular, the Speech Recognition, which I showed by opening programs such as Word, Notepad, Media Player, and then Solitaire, which I then played, using speech!  To close this little piece, I switched back to Word, and spoke to type..."This is where the audience...Applauds!" and they did!  Awesome!

So, that's what I've been doing for the last 2 weeks!  Crazy, and as you can imagine, I'm pretty tired, and there has been a load going on in the rest of the world too, to name but a few....

Expect the next few posts to talk about these in more detail as I get through my Blog-To-Do list!

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