Tuesday started again with breakfast in the Grand Ballroom at t Hilton Garden Inn. Mariano had some things to deal with so I headed over to the Microsoft Campus for the day’s sessions.
The first session for me was an Expert 1-on-1 Workroom with Leslie Vail. We had about 10 people join us in the room, but there were not many developer related questions. So I let Leslie drive the session and discuss various application level topics.
Later, I sat in on Mariano’s Expert 1-on-1 Workroom with Windi Epperson and relaxed a little as the others discussed a variety of topics, including options for Web Client deployment and Azure clouds vs other cloud services vs hosted services.
Then it was time for lunch in the Microsoft Cafe and Chef Kevin looked after me as he always does when I am in town. He ensured that the food I selected had no Flavour Enhancers (like MSG and its buddies) which have nasty effects on me :-(.
We then left the Microsoft campus and headed back to the Hilton Garden Inn. I had a meeting and so was unable to attend the Rapid Fire Partner Solution session, but the meeting went well.
Then it was time to get on a coach and go “Downtown, things will be great when you’re Downtown” to the Fargo Theatre.
The evening of the Fargo Downtown Experience started with a networking reception at the “Art Deco” Fargo Theatre (built in 1926 and restored in 1999). While the reception was in progress, we had some drinks (& popcorn) and listened to the organist who rose up from below the stage and played a great range of show tunes.
Then, as the organist disappeared back into the ground, it was time for Keynote Speakers. The first speaker was Wayne Morris from Microsoft (who originally hails from Brisbane, Australia). He reiterated Microsofts commitment to Dynamics and the small and medium market.
The rest of the speakers were all from the Fargo region and were introduced by our MC for the night Greg Tehven. We heard from Clint Howitz, CEO of DogIDs, who explained how an idea with one employee working from home has grown into large business with many employees. We also heard from Max Kringen, CEO of TellWell. TellWell is an organisation which helps other businesses with guidance and planning for social media strategies and design.
The final speaker was Mark Lindquist, who is a former United States Air Force Sergeant who now works as an actor, entertainer and motivational speaker. Mark was incredibly dynamic (no pun intended) and challenged everyone to get out of their comfort zones and do something that makes you uncomfortable as once you have done it a few times it will become normal.
To demonstrate he asked the audience to clasp their hands and then open their arms and do “Jazz” hands and then clasp them again. We repeated this three times and then he asked us to notice which thumb was on top. The point is that people always clasp their hands the same way ever since they were babies. Changing the clasp to the other way just feels wrong. Try it right now….. See what I mean?
We then tried the same process with crossing the arms and again one way feels natural and the other feels uncomfortable. Go on try it now…. no one is watching. The moral of the story was to get out of the comfort zone and reIMAGINE what you can do, soon it what was hard or felt wrong will be normal and you can move on to the next challenge.
After the keynote speakers, many of the attendees started with the “Downtown Experience” which was a sponsored pub crawl with each of the conference sponsors taking over one of the local drinking establishments.
I skipped the pub crawl and instead had dinner with the teams from NexTec and Mekoma as well as some friends. We had a lovely meal at Mezzaluna, which is situated behind the Fargo Theatre (number 14 on the map below).
Clockwise: Angel Blum, Mark Wiley, David Musgrave, Leslie Vail, Jen Kuntz, Craig Klapman, Corey Clay, Sheila Jefferson-Ross, Mike Davis, Belinda Allen, Mike McDowell, & Elsa Williams.
Note: Mariano was at Mezzaluna, but ended up on another table as we had too many people… more than the original booking number.
After dinner some of the group went and joined the Downtown Experience, while a few of us caught a coach and headed back to the hotel to get some rest.
Stay tuned for Day 3 and the final day of the conference.
This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.