Brainstorm Conference – Day 2 Recap

As in any good road trip, I need to get my exercise in! (Connect with me on Strava if you run, lift or bike!) Mondays are my lifting day however it’s difficult to get a decent one in with just dumbbells. Do what you can do is what my personal trainer would tell me. Before everyone makes a judgement on “…the Microsoft guy having a personal trainer”, must be nice! I have to frame out the day in the life of my role. As a Program Manager, my role is to be the glue between interacting with customers and translating those needs back to our product devs. In order to meet customers face to face, that means traveling all over the world (see below, right?). The years have been good but without the proper nutrition and exercise over the years, I’ve grown ‘robust’..shall we say? So, I’m actually on a weight management program which allows me to meet with a personal trainer and nutritionist to get my personal health back on track.

From a traveling perspective? Yes, it’s a ‘glam life’ traveling to all these places, right? No way in heck! I LOVE my role and interacting with customers, but it comes at a price. I remember my first years as a buck consultant and being married… my new wife thought I lived a glamorous life jet setting to new cities, staying in nice hotels and eating at great restaurants all the time. So, I decided to bring her on one of my engagements to see what it was like! I booked it in Peoria, IL making sure I stayed at a hotel which was behind a strip mall (bad view) and some of the worst restaurants around. She now respects my view of traveling! 😊

Yesterday evening at Brainstorm was the Welcome Reception. For those who REALLY know me, you know that I’m not a social person. Yep, seriously! A room full of strangers can be very overwhelming and intimidating to me. However, I put on my best game face and dove in! I was able to visit and sit in with two different tables during the time. Once that initial ice is broken, I ALWAYS love talking / discussing stuff! I leave that general because I try to mix work with personal things which I enjoy like fitness or coffee. In the end, I always loving hearing our customer’s perspectives! Believe it or not, most everyone is a Microsoft customer one way or another!

I believe that’s why I enjoy speaking. Today was not an exception. There were two Intune for Education sessions schedule. It was prearranged that I’d be in the room to give any support needed or assist with questions. Well, as life had it, I was ask 5 minutes ahead of time if I could cover the first session! Yep, no prep and no deck. Just talking off the top of my head about our product! So, if it seemed a little random or winding… well, that’s because it was! I apologize to the attendees but I was covering for a co-worker that got slammed into another meeting! To top it off, because I was unrehearsed, I was over on time! This left me in the middle of a topic with several still to cover. Bringing me into the second session! Yep… back to back, unrehearsed and unscripted sessions! This second session was even MORE challenging than the first because about half of the attendees were in the first session! So, I had to bridge the gap of bringing everyone along for the ride! I promise, next time I’ll sign up for my own sessions so it doesn’t come off so poorly! Needless to say, it was a stressful day!

3 thoughts on “Brainstorm Conference – Day 2 Recap

  1. Chris, I was in several sessions that you either led or assisted with at Brainstorm. You did a great job. You seem to have a knack for reading a room, knowing how to mix humor, light sarcasm, and clever observations together to both educate and entertain your audience. Thanks for attending Brainstorm and thanks for being a refreshingly honest and extremely knowledgeable person. Your sincerity and interest in your customer’s needs is apparent and appreciated.

    • Thanks James for your feedback! Based off of a LOT of feedback we received, we’ve got some GREAT ideas for either, OH or next year in WI! Stay tuned!

  2. You rocked it Chris…no worries on that. I’m glad you’re back in EDU. I look forward to next year’s Brainstorm already and taking as many sessions as I possibly can when you are present. Love how you us straight up, slap us in the face, but mix the humor in. Keep up the great work!!

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