I am writing my first blog post from the 2010 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference while waiting for Wednesday's keynote speaker, former President Bill Clinton to take the stage. As I have been a member of Voices for Innovation for a couple of years, I received an invitation to view this special keynote from their private suite. As you can see from the photo at left, I am handwriting this, as I didn't want to lug my computer around with me all day. I also don't have an iPad, a ThinkPad, or any of the other cool form factors on the market today. With all of the innovation flying around here this week, wouldn't it be cool if I could slide my handwritten notes into a device that would spit out a readable, understandable, eloquently written blog? Instead I will try to read my own writing and edit appropriately.
While I'm waiting for the keynote to begin, it is a good time to reflect on the past couple of days since my arrival in D.C. on Saturday. The area is not new to me, as I travel to Bamboo's Reston HQ at least once a month. Rather than flying into Dulles and staying out in Reston as usual, however, I flew into Washington Reagan and am staying in downtown D.C. for the conference. So I must admit, I do feel a bit like a tourist. Saturday night we hosted a few Partners and friends from Microsoft at the Washington Nationals Game. The San Francisco Giants ended up winning, but since I am a die-hard Cardinals fan and we had a few Giants fans with us, the game was still a great one.
After the game, I called it a night, but I was right back at the ballpark bright and early the next morning as I participated in the Support our Troops event that Microsoft coordinated with the local USO. Roughly 100 Microsoft employees and partners stuffed over 5,100 backpacks with school supplies for the children of our troops. Between all of the volunteers, we had an assembly line consisting of 14 stations, from opening the pencil cases to inserting pencils, pens, crayons, and closing the case to stuffing it in the backpack, adding notebooks, rulers, etc. It was an amazing effort and so well organized. We had visits from a few Washington Nationals ballplayers, the GM of the Nationals, Miss Virginia, and the famous character presidents that engage in a footrace during each Nationals game. We had a ton of fun and helped the local USO in the process. Following the bag-stuffing event, we were invited to a rooftop barbeque where we were joined by local military members and their families. I really appreciate Microsoft inviting me and my colleague Daisy (pictured at right with "Thomas Jefferson") to participate and give a little something back to the brave soldiers and their families that are protecting our freedom each day.
After the two events at the ballpark, I finally made my way to the Convention Center to check in for the conference proper.
Lights out. Keynote about to begin.