Oktoberfest in Munich

I returned from Munich on Friday evening. I spent the remainder of the day catching up on the latest home and work news with TB and forcing myself to stay awake. I went to bed around midnight and woke up around 2 PM, Saturday! That should give you some idea of how exhausting these past few weeks have been.

It will take several more days before my body adjusts, at which point I will be heading out again…this time for vacation. :mrgreen:

How was Munich? First and foremost, Oktoberfest was completely wasted on me. I don’t drink and I don’t eat beef or pork. The Bavarians thought I was from Mars. I spent my days in the Worldwide Marketing Leads Summit meetings from 8 AM to 5 PM. The evenings were spent dining with colleagues then working from my room to catch up on all the e-mail I had missed while attending the summit. Fun, fun, fun.

Gas Mileage Update

About a year ago I wrote about tracking the gas mileage for my Mazda 626 and the price of gas here on the eastside of the Seattle metro area. Here is a quick update so you can see how both have changed over the course of a year.

Keith's gas mileage (2007 update)
Mileage Definitions

The "AVERAGES" row above is cumulative from June 2004 when recording began. Below are the averages restricted to the date range displayed in the chart above (Oct 16, 2006 through Sep 12, 2007).

mileage 2007 past year average

Comparing this past year to the overall numbers:

  • I go slightly longer between refills (27.5 vs. 23.9 days) and put more gas in my car (12.6 vs. 12.0 gallons) each time.
  • My mileage (MPG) average of 25.6 continues to trail the historical average of 26.8 since moving closer to work. Considering how much closer we live (5 mile vs. 17 mile one-way commute) my MPG average remains very respectable. (Hypothetical high-five to the Mazda engineers.)
  • All the "Price Per" entries (PPG, PPM, PPD) are more a reflection of the increasing cost of gas than my driving habits or car. Below is a chart showing how gas has increased almost 50% in our area between June 2004 and Sep 2007.
Seattle Gas Prices 2004 to 2007

Note that May is still the worst possible month to take a road trip. I am considering making May my official public transportation month.

Back from the Land of the Rising Sun

I am just returning to Seattle from Tokyo where I was the keynote speaker for Remix Japan. About 1500 people attended the event held at the Tokyo International Forum on Wednesday, September 19. In addition to the 80-minute keynote, I also presented a 50-minute general session for all attendees.

The keynote and general session covered various aspects of Microsoft’s Software+Services initiative and our broad Web platform, tools and services portfolio. Following the 3 hours for the back-to-back keynote and general session I spent another 3 hours in the afternoon doing interviews & briefings with members of the Japanese press.

It was my first time visiting Japan and the trip was too short for me to really take Tokyo and its 12+ million residents in. I spent the morning of Sep 18 meeting with my colleagues in the Microsoft Japan building near Shinjuku station (the busiest train station in the world). We then spent the rest of the day in rehearsals with the various partners and Microsoft staffers who were preparing demos for the keynote and general sessions. I left my hotel room at the Park Hyatt—the hotel featured in the movie Lost in Translation…it’s amazing!—at 9 AM and returned just before midnight. I was in the bed by 1 AM and up again at 6 AM to make it to the venue by 8 AM for final keynote preparations. The keynote started at 10 AM.

Tokyo Panorama from Park Hyatt room 4216
Picture of Tokyo from Park Hyatt
Nikon D200, Nikon 18-200 f/3.5 @ 18mm f/16, ISO 400, 1/80
Panorama captured from room 4216 at the Park Hyatt hotel. It consists of 5 individual, landscape photos taken by hand (no tripod) then stitched together as described in my panorama tutorial.

Continue reading “Back from the Land of the Rising Sun”

Recruiting at the NBMBAA Conference

This week I am representing my business unit at the National Black MBA Association conference as a hiring manager at the career fair. The event is in Orlando. I arrived late last night and will return to Seattle on Saturday afternoon.

I am here to interview MBA candidates/recipients for exactly one position across my Vice President’s entire organization and to help staff the company booth in the exhibition hall. I have recruited and attended events for many years so the mechanics are familiar. This is my first time attending an MBA event, however, and MBA’s are some odd birds, indeed.

A few observations (warning: blatant generalizations follow):

  1. Every recent MBA wants a base salary more than they are able to prove they deserve.
  2. There are an awful lot of MBAs competing for very few well-paying jobs (see #1).
  3. MBAs dress very well. There was a higher concentration of (knock-off?) designer handbags and tailored suits in the Orange County Convention Center than I saw my entire time in France or Italy, combined.

I realize the observations above only apply to a subset of the MBA population. Several of my co-workers and friends have MBAs. They are all smart, driven people who earn every dollar they are paid. Lawyers, on the other hand… 😉

World Tour 2007

U.S. Passport Between September 12 and October 19 I will be traveling to 7 cities in 6 countries on 4 continents. In order, I will visit Orlando, Tokyo, Munich, Portland, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Madrid. The only personal trip in the bunch is to South America to celebrate the 10-year wedding anniversary of some of our closest friends from school. We are also planning a vacation in Thailand around Thanksgiving.

Remember how I was worrying whether I would attain United 1K status again for 2008? Umm, let’s just say that will no longer be a problem with the travel planned between now and the rest of the year.

If all goes as planned, by the end of the year I will have increased my Countries Visited list to 25 — adding Sweden, Japan, Argentina, Brazil and Thailand between May and November this year. Woohoo!