Man, there were a lot of IT geeks in LA today! I was up there this morning for a stop of the Microsoft Vista/Office/Exchange 2007 and would guess there was close to 2000 people in attendance. If you’ve never been to one of these it’s basically a big marketing/propaganda brouhaha where Microsoft shows off all their new goodies and partner companies trade you chances to win gadgets for the ability to spam you. Jeff Raikes who’s been with Microsoft for more than 25 years kicked off the event’s keynote which was quite interesting until it ran more than 30 minutes overtime. Well, it also started 30 minutes late. It was pretty cool though, he talked about the upcoming Vista OS and Office 2007 and there was another guy that did demos of the two systems. There were two things that I was really surprised with – The speakers were really good and they mentioned Sharepoint a lot!

Why was I impressed with the speakers? They were techies and could talk! Well, that’s not the only reason. Every time I attend one of these events and am fortunate enough to listen to a good speaker I’m just in awe. I listen to how they pronounce their words, how they arrange their language, how they use their body language to get their point across. Being able to speak well in front of a crowd is one of the most important skills anybody could have. Sometimes you won’t even know what you’re talking about, ala President Bush, but your presence will be able to hold the attention of your audience. You’ll be able to blast your mind-rays deep into their souls. And then you’ll be able to make everyone in the world buy a copy of Windows Vista…I mean do whatever you… know what I mean. Unfortunately public speaking isn’t something I do too well. Sometimes I’ll be able in the zone doing a demo to some executives or a group of end-users and then mid-thought I’ll just psyche myself out, get self-conscience and lose all my mojo. I hate it when that happens. My voice starts cracking, I break a mental sweat, and my heart beats a little bit faster. Then bam! I lost my train of thought and try to recover with a joke about my buggy demo and hope they laugh to break up the awkwardness. Sigh… I guess all I can do is to keep practicing.

The other thing surprised me was how much emphasis they put on Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007. I truly believe that this application will cause waves across all industries and how information workers collaborate and work with all types of information. The level of integration that Sharepoint has with the new Office 2007 Suite will add even more reason for companies to upgrade to both pushing productivity levels to levels never seen before, after proper training of course. That’s also great because my job is to help companies implement and deploy this stuff! J

There’s still a bunch of Microsoft Launch Tour 2007 stops left if you’re interested. I’ll probably be going to the Anaheim one to pick up another free copy of Office Pro 2007.