Monday, February 14, 2011

The Green Room and the Voice of God

There is so much to say about this past week. In a word, it was magnificent. Bring in the microscope, and it was a field of thorns and roses. The roses came from two places: first, from my most beloved, who always seemed to show up at the right time and in the right place, or to have a card or flower waiting in my room just when I needed it.
The second was from the amazing connections and networking that took place for me throughout the conference. It was such a delight to see the faces of the 3000 registrants and many took the time to find me and thank me, even the grumpy lady who yelled at me for not letting her into the room while we were waiting for the CTO of HP to come in with his security detail.
Production Crew
We had a full production crew for the plenary room, and we had three excellent keynote speakers. Because of the large scale production, lighting, sound system, and scripting, we had a "voice of God" introduce us each time we went on stage, and someone waiting to push us on just at the right moment. Each of us had a ... I don't remember what it was called, but a music clip that played just before our VOG, and then "Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome A___ ___, Conference Chair!"
Plenary Podium
We arrived early to get miked up, complete with a fitted earpiece and wire down the back. I started each day welcoming everyone, asking how many participated in the events the evening before, and moved on to intro the CEO of the sponsoring company. The CEO would then give a company plug, followed by an intro of the keynote speaker, and the keynote would be pushed on to the stage. The rest of us would hang out in the green room for the next forty minutes, half-listening to the keynote and chatting the rest of the time. What a great opportunity to interface with these amazing individuals.
Collaborative Discussions
After each interaction, I received a LinkedIn invitation from said CEOs, which is rather cool, I must confess. At our VIP breakfast I sat across from a manager from Microsoft and told him that I felt they were sorely mismarketing OneNote by only adding it to the professional version of the software when it was a tool that had many everyday applications. He thanked me and told me he was going to run my ideas up the line, and then offered me a 2010 Pro suite. I am not stupid, so of course I accepted. I met with VeriSign, who was very interested in building a relationship with us, and Google showed up as well. Rumor has it, they want to be a sponsor next year.
Microsoft Sponsored Playground:
As we got ready for the closing session, where I finally fit in some jokes that went quite well, my CEO said for the 150th time, "We REALLY need to figure out how we can keep you involved next year."
Cyber Cafe
I thought for a minute, and then said, "I won't be the chair, but I will be an advisor." Then, as my mind flashed forward to another great set of green room chats, I added, "Oh, and if you want me to MC again, I'll be happy to do that, too."
Media Hub (getting set up)

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