I have heard from so many individuals about the amazing connections and networking that took place 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 woman who got mad 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.
We had a full production crew for the plenary room, and 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 stinger; a music clip that played just before our VOG, and then "Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome...!"
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 intro 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, listening to the keynote and chatting. What a great opportunity to interface with these amazing individuals. I appreciated getting to speak with these great men, Brewster Kahle, Tim Sullivan, Chris van der Kuyl, Curt Witcher, and Shane Robison.
After each interaction, I received a LinkedIn invitation, 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. True to his word, 2010 Office Pro arrived at the marketing division's office via Fed Ex on Monday morning, complete with a thank you note.
I met with VeriSign, who was very interested in building a relationship with us, and Google showed up as well at the request of Dan Lynch, Mr. Google Your Family Tree himself. Given all of our Google sessions, it would be great to have them there again next year.
Microsoft Sponsored Playground:
As we got ready for the closing session, where I finally fit in some laughables about the naming process, my CEO said for the 150th time, "We REALLY need to figure out how we can keep you involved next year."
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)