Friday, April 18, 2008

Failure was the only option

We interrupt the normal evangelising to provide a brief and lighthearted view of what can go wrong when presenting to your peers at an annual conference.

Way back when, I was turning 30 and Lotus threw me a huge party in Athens with all my friends and fellow Lotii. Actually it was the annual Tech conferene where everyone learns what's new and how to things on their laptop.

My team had been going trhough some rough patches and the last thing we needed was this event. But we got it together worked out the plans and executed.
Except my laptop was not having it. Beta code of R5 and some other issues created an unstable environmentthat just could not hold on long enough.

Sure enough 5 minutes in to my explanations around why Directory Catalogs are/were the greatest news I lost it all. Dead in the water. So what else could I do, I tried to walk everyone through setting it up on their laptops using my memory and notes I left myself on a sheet of paper.

Got horrible reviews, worst ever, but in the end had a number of people thank me for the explanations and help with setting it up and hitting the key reasons why it was important to get companies to use it. So all was not lost.

One again I learned you can not present on something you don't know well(luckily I did) because you never know what will happen on stage. You can give an opinion and some help but never ever present to staff or clients what you don't know because if you los eyour notes or laptop or slides what are you going to do?