On Vacation after Attending Annual Sales & Marketing Conference

Hi everyone. I wanted to let my faithful readers know I am still around and getting some much-needed and much-deserved rest and relaxation over the next couple weeks. Along with catching up on the many projects and chores that have piled up on my things-to-do list, TB and I are also attending a wedding in Philadelphia and visiting my family in Dayton.

I also have quite a few things to blog about to make up for the silence enveloping my blog these last couple months. Three posts in three months is embarrassing so I will endeavor to write several posts before the end of the month. Let’s start right now…

Last week I was in Orlando for Microsoft’s annual sales conference, MGX. MGX is a massive event with over 16,000 employees from all around the world all congregating to review the last fiscal year and prepare for the upcoming fiscal year. We took over most of the world of Disney spanning the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) to Amway Arena and all the hotels in the vicinity. It was quite an amazing experience witnessing how truly diverse and multi-national the company is, and just how hard sales & marketing folk can party. I attended MGX to present a 75 minute session to our worldwide audience marketing managers about how to increase satisfaction, adoption and revenue of Microsoft’s Web platform & tools.

I stayed at Rosen Centre Hotel which is adjacent to OCCC. The hotel is average but in an excellent location for conferences at OCCC.

Lowlight: The keynotes were definitely blah lasting about 9 hours from start to finish. Exec after exec got on stage and said almost exactly the same things. It was my first time attending this event so I am not sure what, if anything, I can share in this forum. Coincidentally, Microsoft reported 4th quarter and FY07 earnings the same day as the keynotes so a lot of what we heard regarding the state of the business was also reported to financial analysts covering the company that afternoon.

Highlight: I was able to have dinner with one of my first cousins who lives in Orlando and his son. That made the humid, hot & unbearable July weather in Orlando worth the trip.

Air travel is getting tedious and cumbersome with each trip. Security screening is still woefully inefficient even though passengers and TSA agents should know the drill by now. My flights were all delayed. My connections were all too tight. The combination of the last two resulted in me having to run to catch connecting flights in both the Los Angeles and Denver airports. I made my connections but arrived in my seat smelling a bit ripe, I’m sure.

I did experience a first on one of my flights: I got a shout-out (along with 2 other frequent flyers) from the purser on my United Airlines flight from LAX to MCO (Orlando) on my way to MGX. She said each of our names and thanked us for our continued business and loyalty to United after completing the flight safety review. I felt special at least for a moment and it cost the airline nothing to make that simple gesture. Well done.

I attained United Mileage Plus 1K status this year which means I accumulated at least 100,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) in 2006. I just checked and I’m only at ~42,000 EQMs so far in 2007 and it’s almost August! Either I won’t be 1K again come Feb 2008 or I have some serious flying to do in the next 5 months. Talk about a lose-lose. 🙁 I guess returning to my regular old Premier Executive status won’t be too bad. 😉