Just got back from the Australian Partner Conference at Hamilton Island with the wife & kids – had a great time up there and got to meet some amazing people, like Ian Palangio (an Office Solution Specialist from MS), Robin Young (SharePoint Product Manager), Colin Timm (MS Director, Enterprise Customers), Emy (our PAM’s Manager and someone who really looks after livePoint) and a whole stack of partners (Brett, Brian and co from OBS, Correct Solutions, Simon from Inspire IT, Craig – my old boss – from Dataract – some of which we will be working closely with in the very near future for both internal & client-facing projects).
Best work-oriented experience: To see what networking is all about. I mean, I’m a tech dude. What do I need to know about all this Salesy stuff, right? Some of our biggest deals this year will probably end up being made based on the outcomes of a discussion at a pub on Hamilton Island.
Best Drink: Vodka Red-bulls. I’ve had them once before. My mind was a bit messed up from the Vodka, but I did not blink for hours at a time.
Best Recreational Experience: Hmmm. There were 3 things that I probably will not get the chance to do again, but only one that can be done around that part of Australia – Snorkeled at the Great Barrier Reef off Hayman Island. Unforgettable.
I was a "Grinder" on a yacht (one of the guys who spins the handles really fast to move the sails around) and also went to a Shooting range (learning that "Skill in First person shooter <> Skill with real guns"). Pull!
Most embarrassing moment: When my son started to snorkel after about 2 minutes of practice while dear old dad sits in knee-deep water trying not to hyperventilate for 15 minutes (I got out to look at the reef eventually, then it was all over too soon )
Biggest disappointment: Not enough photos or time with the family (I only really got to spend Saturday with them… but I was there to work after all).
Most Entertaining Moment: Well, livePoint got to present a 15-minute talk as part of Robin’s presentation on MOSS 07 CRM about the company, some of the solutions we’ve done (For BT, Nutrimetics and Qantas) and how Echo for SharePoint allowed us to roll out these large MOSS applications with a lot less effort than might have otherwise been required (public beta coming soon) – the entertaining part was when the boss walked on his hands at the end of the presentation – I kid you not, there was one of the company owners, doing handstands in front of 100 partners. He had people coming up to him for the rest of the conference saying how entertaining the presentation was, so I guess it helped to keep livePoint in people’s minds.
If you are a partner and are looking at aligning your business strategy with Microsoft, or want to see what others are doing then get along to next year’s conference – you will not regret it.