May 9, 2010
@ 07:28 AM

It’s not a revival of my career as a traveling talking head, but it sure feels a bit like old days. I’m on United 875 from Seattle to Tokyo/Narita right now, somewhere above the North Pacific. A few hours more to go and then I’ll be connecting to Singapore and I’m guessing that I’ll be at my hotel sometime between 1am and 2am on Monday morning.

I’ll spend two days in Singapore as part of a Windows Azure ISV workshop series that has been organized by our field colleagues in the APAC region; the first day I’ll be presenting the all-up Windows Azure Platform –Compute, Storage, Management and Diagnostics, Database, Service Bus, Access Control, and the additional capabilities we’ll be adding over the next several months. On day two, I’ll be meeting for 1:1s with a range of customers about their plans to move applications to the cloud. That pattern will repeat over the next two weeks in Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia (this Thu/Fri), in Manila/Philippines (next Mon/Tue), and in Seoul/South Korea (next Wed/Thu). From Seoul onwards, some of my colleagues will take over and go to Sydney and Auckland, while I’m flying further westwards to Europe to speak at the NT Konferenca in Slovenia before returning to Seattle after a short stopover in Germany to see the folks.

Once I’m back in Seattle I’ve got 5 days at the office to debrief and prep for TechEd North America and then it’s off to New Orleans for the week and then, after a weekend stopover in Seattle, I’m off to the NDC 2010 conference in Oslo/Norway. It’s definitely the most flying I’ve done since I work for Microsoft.

The 1:1 meeting opportunities at the workshops in Asia, at NT Konferenca, at TechEd, and at the NDC2010 is what this tour is all about for me. It’s about reaching out and feeling the pulse of the customer landscape. That is very, very different from back when I was a traveling talking head explaining the platform. That’s not to say that there wasn’t a lot of value in teaching back then. Conference and workshop attendees learned a lot and Microsoft got the word out.

Back in the day it was all about outbound communication; and you can probably tell by my blog having been practically dead over the last 2-3 years that that hasn’t been my focus anymore. But what about the other way? You’d think that Microsoft is overwhelmed with incoming data and swims in requirements and scenarios and customer input. That’s right, we are. As a company. The problem for us in the product teams is that we’re getting much of that data in a very indirect and filtered form, which is simply because we are a very big and global company. Another problem (or danger) is to be tricked into believing that the entire truth can be found online and via feedback mechanisms like forums or even Facebook and Twitter. None of that replaces an hour of high-bandwidth, eye-to-eye conversation with someone whose business is not primarily (or not at all) about software, but for whom software is a mere necessity to get their products and services to their customers. It’s my firm belief that you have to get into a plane sometimes and go where the customers are. Luckily, my boss agrees. So here I am.

Some of the customers I’ll be talking to in 1:1s already have firm plans and want to talk architecture, some don’t know whether it’s a good decision for them and want to dig into details, some have made a decision for the cloud but went with another competing platform, and some don’t want or can’t move anything to our cloud yet, because that platform isn’t doing what they need. The latter two types of customers are the ones I’m most looking forward to meet.

The events in Asia are run in relatively small venue and my understanding is that my 1:1 days are booked out. I don’t think that’s true for the events in Slovenia, New Orleans, and in Oslo. If you plan on going and you are interested in spending an hour talking about what you’d like to see in Windows Azure and specifically in Windows Azure AppFabric then shoot me an email to clemensv at microsoft dot com in the next few days. And if you’re not going tell your friends who do ;-)

(Oh, and: United, did you buy your business class seats third-hand from TWA after they picked them up from PanAm?)

Categories: AppFabric | Travel

January 23, 2006
@ 09:24 PM

In the 5 years I've been "newtelligent" I have never been *really* late to an event. Not a single time. Admittedly,

  • I've been an hour late to a talk in Kuala Lumpur because the schedule I received was wrong,
  • I arrived in Vienna "just in time" and still intoxicated after missing the planned 05:20 (AM!) connection from Istanbul after a serious party night and being able to rebook to a later flight after rushing to the airport and still surrounded by a complete haze and only got to the venue about 5 minutes too late because the taxi driver didn't know where to go (I can't remember any content of the first session that day, but the attendees loved it),
  • I got stuck in Heathrow one night due to bad weather on a connection to Dublin, but with an early enough connection to make it to the event in the morning.

And now ... on the very last event I am doing for newtelligence I got stranded in a hotel room at the Munich Airport and can't get to Istanbul for a workshop that's supposed to start at 9:30AM tomorrow. Istanbul is snowed in. Next opportunity to get out there is at 11AM tomorrow. Hope that works.

[Update: It did work, even though with an hour delay. In Istanbul, the chaos continued. 15-25 cm of snow per day in a city where "winter tires" are a rather unknown phenomenon are a bit problematic. I love Istanbul, but I am very happy to be back home this time.]

Categories: Travel

November 7, 2004
@ 08:27 AM

In two hours I'll be back on the road (well, airport, to be precise). Today I will fly out to Reykjavik in Iceland where Achim and I will do the first of a series of SOA workshops with Microsoft EMEA from Monday to Wednesday, explaining principles of Service Oriented Architectures and the application of those principles in real applications with today's technologies. Other stops on the tour will be in Denmark in early December and, early next year, in Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands (AFAIK, all of these events are invite-only Microsoft customer events). A German-language, newtelligence-branded edition of that workshop will take place December 1-3 in Düsseldorf and we plan a newtelligence event in South Africa in early March 2005.

When I come back from Iceland Wednesday night, I'll stay home for less than 12 hours and will then fly out to Denver for a long weekend and when I come back from there the following Wednesday I'll go straight at our own TornadoCamp event held in Bad Ems (half way between Frankfurt and Düsseldorf). Coming back it'll be another short turnaround of likely less than a day before I will leave for the Microsoft EastMed Developer Conference in Amman. (Very much looking forward to that)

So with that schedule and a few customer engagements in between, I have plenty of days on the road and only two days left at the newtelligence office, before I'll move my office desk to Denver on December 11 for the rest of the year and into the new year so that I can spend Christmas with Jen, get some better traction with Visual Studio 2005 and do some writing. And for when I come back on January 10, the schedule looks just as busy for the following weeks and months.

Categories: Other Stuff | Travel

September 15, 2003
@ 04:43 AM

I am safely back from my Asia tour and Patricia and I have seen lots of very cool places and I am sure going to post some pictures today and tomorrow.  The one thing that didn’t really work well for me was Internet access so I was essentially offline for the last two weeks. So, first things first, below you’ll finally find the download links for the demos of my talks in Malaysia.


Categories: TechEd Malaysia | Travel