Thursday, November 24, 2005

mr. happyfunboy goes to huntsville

that's right...your friendly neighborhood happyfunboy recently took a whirlwind trip to huntsville, home of gigantic rocket ships and a massive aerospace industry.

you see, my company got the opportunity to be the co-presenting partner at a microsoft connections event. i presented a case study of how my recommending and implementing small business server for one of my clients really paid off for them.

here's how the trip for yours truly and my cohorts...amy & shellie...went:

wednesday afternoon: we pack up our stuff for the event...our table display items in one car, all my gear and equipment in the other car...and head out for huntsville. since we're all starving, we stop to eat a very late lunch along the way.

wednesday evening: we arrive in huntsville right at the height of rush hour. after fighting our way through the spaghetti that is 565, we find the hotel and check in. we go to dinner, and then return to the hotel.

late wednesday evening: amy and i go to make sure we know exactly how to get to the venue,
a movie cineplex, from the hotel. we find it, chat briefly with the logistics dudes unloading the across america truck, then head back to the hotel.

wednesday night: while the cohorts are asleep a floor below me, i remain up all night...catching up on work, correspondence, and prepping demos for our own upcoming truck event. also finish preparing the slides for the following day. at one point, very very early in the morning...i manage to get a short catnap.

early early thursday morning: i call the cohorts to wake them up, and am informed by one grumpy, sleepy-sounding female that there are 4 more minutes before their alarm will go off. i quickly hang up, and count myself lucky that i had not been strangled through the phone.

thurday morning: the cohorts get ready and are down having breakfast while i finish some work. i quickly get ready, cart my stuff to my car, and head off for the venue. the cohorts call, and i tell them to meet me there.

at the venue, i do a quick meet and greet with all the microsoft folks there...jeff, the connections presenter, and the logistics guys.

we scope a location for our table outside the theater. by this time my cohorts arrive. after bringing all our collateral inside, they start to set up the table. i check out the setup in the theater with jeff, and lay in the slides for our case study. jeff also gives me the schedule of times when i'll be speaking.

i go back out to help finish setting up the table, and see that connections attendees have already started arriving. so, we juggle finishing the set up and chatting with folks. i manage to meet ron, the ts2 presenter, and chat about mentioning our user group in the afternoon session.

connections begins, and after working out some logistical items with my cohorts, i go in to the connections event. while outlining the day's agenda, jeff introduces me as the local microsoft partner who will present an sbs case study, and also gives me a chance to mention asmbug, our smb user group in alabama, and the meeting we plan to have that evening.

i take a few moments to go out and see the truck, and meet mitchel, the technical specialist. we chat briefly about the truck while he gives me a mini-tour, and we hash out a few details about our upcoming private event, since mitchel will be our technical specialist there too.

other than that, i basically follow the crowd all morning. i stay in connections most of the time, standing off to one side, in case jeff needs to refer a more technical question over to me. when they're about to take a break...i head outside to the table.

we have a $25 gift card to best buy as a giveaway, which garners a decent amount of business cards.

when it's time to present the case study, using some very good advice i was given by a friend of mine early that morning, i run through my slides very very quickly...not belaboring or repeating any points at all. this leaves lots of time...relatively speaking...for audience questions. i field some decent ones, including suggested hardware specs for an sbs server, and whether or not project server is supported on sbs.

at the end of the session, one of the ladies from westglenn software helps draw a winner of our gift card, and another winner of their wireless mouse.

we pack up our table, bid the westglenn ladies goodbye, and head off to meet a friend of amy's for lunch. right before we leave, i touch base with ron again, and set a time to meet him before ts2 begins to transfer the slides into his presentation.

thursday afternoon: i get back from lunch just in time to get the slides to ron. he starts the ts2 session. very early on, he introduces me, and i am able to mention both the sbs podcast resources and asmbug. throughout the day, ron continues to mention asmbug and the meeting after ts2, which is a great boost for our group.

thursday evening: after ts2 ends, i chat briefly with a couple of our existing group members and some new prospects. we head over to the restaurant where our meeting will be held. the meeting is pretty free-form...mostly just a social hour, folks chatting and what-not. i go over a few things about asmbug, and ron offers some sbsc vouchers to our folks. amy, shellie & i have to leave a bit early...so after about an hour and a half, we say our goodbyes, then head out for tuscaloosa.

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