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August 26, 2009

Changing The Future

Channel@Work was really an amazing program. Kudos to all the folks who really made it happen!

Last week, I had the good fortune to attend CMP’s XChange’09 event in Washington, DC. As a vendor-centric show, this kind of event gives solution providers like my company the opportunity to see new offerings from various vendors, give feedback, and forge business relationships that can mutually benefit our companies.

But this year, one of the initiatives taking place during XChange’09 really made me, and a whole lot of others, sit up and take notice.

CMP Media partnered with Microsoft and the Framsyn Initiative to sponsor Channel@Work, a program that sponsored a large group of young people from all over the country who expressed an interest in IT careers to attend XChange. The goal was to give them an opportunity to be mentored by industry veterans, and give them a boost into the IT field.

The boardroom I was assigned to for vendor appointments was located directly across the hall from the Channel@Work workroom. The level of hardware they were working with was really impressive. Plus, they all got to keep the machines they built. 

Activities included team-building, computer-building, direct interaction with executives from IT companies, and the ability to engage with the rest of us delegates. At breakfast one morning, I got a chance to talk with a young man named Che. He told me about his job as a junior network administrator, the kinds of things he’s learned how to do from that job, and his goals for the future. I talked to him about the importance of keeping both his resume and skillset current, of picking and choosing certification exams that give the most options for huim in the future, and the importance of learning not just a given product release, but really understanding the underlying concept about how and why something works.

As part of this program, these young people were working toward completing Microsoft’s 70–653 exam TS: Windows Small Business Server 2008, Configuring, which earns not only an MCTS, but also a Small Business Specialist designation. Both of those achievements will immediately give those young people value to potential solution provider employers like me who focus on the SMB segment.

When the video above was played during the ARC awards dinner on the final evening of XChange’09, I was literally moved to tears. Seeing those kids so eager to learn and hungry for knowledge took me back to when I first started my IT career, and it made me remember how thankful I was and still am to all the people who first believed in me and gave me an opportunity in the industry, within which I’ve thrived for the last 15 years.

I truly believe that if the IT industry is to improve as a whole, it will come from mentoring programs like Channel@Work and others like it convincing young people that an IT career is one that can offer them the kind of fulfilling, rewarding life’s work that we all hope to find, and giving them the initial opportunity to find success.

|| posted by chris under business, freebie, hardware, it pro, media, more cowbell, nostalgia, rx, shoutout, thumbs up, travel, webcast || comments (4) || ||

June 21, 2009

The Cake Is Not A Lie

That right there is a fully homemade cupcake...absolutely nothing from a mix!

This Father’s Day dessert brought to you (and me) by AoME and CaaB. All homemade, and so good you’d swear it’s gotta be illegal.

|| posted by chris under epiphany, more cowbell, rx, thumbs up || comments (0) || ||

May 13, 2009

Things About The Bus Tour That I’ll Always Remember

It really was a beautiful as I thought it would be.

Yes, I know I was eerily silent during the bus tour, blog-wise. Funny thing is, despite all the time spent driving, stuff was always happening. We were headed somewhere all the time, unloading or loading swag, setting up the equipment for the AYC game. And connectivity was often hit-or-miss at the stops. It was all I could do just to get my scads of pics loaded to Facebook.

And once we got into the longer driving stretches for the stops between Kansas and L.A., there wasn’t a whole lot of connectivity to be had, period.

In some ways tho, blogging about it post-tour might be the only way for me to really get to the heart of what it was really like.

Things about the bus tour that I’ll always remember, in no particular order…

  1. Playing Two Truths and A Lie to learn about each other
  2. Getting my “bus” legs 
  3. Born To Run played live by Springsteen and the E Street Band
  4. Finding I can still hit correct pitches while singing Sex Pistols/Lenny Kravitz/Jimi Hendrix/Skynyrd/The Cult on Guitar Hero World Tour
  5. Ryan’s knee being used as more cowbell by Dana, repeatedly
  6. Having the coolest drivers ever, Mark and J
  7. Having a 2×4 and fries well-done at In-N-Out, my first time ever eating there
  8. Desert sunsets and sunrises
  9. Hanging with Vince in Denver
  10. 450 people at a stop in Kansas City
  11. Nearly every question in the live version of Are You Certifiable?
  12. Santa Fe and Bandalier National Park
  13. Hanging with Vince again in Vegas
  14. The amazingly delicious Brazilian steakhouse the final night in Vegas

Most of all tho…it’s the people I’ll remember. All the different folks we met along the way, and seeing old pals who came out to say “Heya,” just because I happened to passing close by. But it wasn’t just those folks.

I’m having serious entourage withdrawal from my fellow busmates. A few of them are still here at Tech-Ed this week, but most of them are already home. And I miss the heck out of them. Which completely blind-sided me, because I never expected that at all. One of us said it felt like we were a little family. Which we kinda were.

And that’s what I’ll always remember, most of all.

|| posted by chris under community, game, more cowbell, nostalgia, shoutout, thumbs up, time, travel || comments (0) || ||

April 30, 2009

And These. These Are My People….

After dinner last night, the entire Career Express team headed to Target. It was just like a Susan Bradley Mountain Dew run, except without any Mountain Dew in any of the carts at all.

Christopher and Elese, pondering the cornucopia of awesome that is Target.

What were some of the things people did get?

  • Water…lots and lots of water
  • Candy
  • Trail mix
  • More candy
  • Music

And because it was Target, there’s a whole other level of affectation required…

This reminds me of a joke I heard once. Wanna hear it?

But while we were waiting for everyone to finish checking out, I noticed something that, quite simply, take this bus tour to a whole other level of kickass…

What's Ken got in his cart right there?

Of course, I had to know…

Awwww HELL Yea! Sweet Home!

Drunk with our newfound scores, we promptly got lost in the economy-sized elevator…

How in the world did we manage to get lost one floor away?

You know why? Because we’re the creme de la creme, that’s why!

|| posted by chris under community, game, hardware, more cowbell, thumbs up || comments (2) || ||

April 27, 2009

Meet Your Fairy Godmother

Or at least, the closest you’ll ever get to one anyway.

Yep...that's MOM aka WOW right there. She had just finished re-attaching my severed right arm, and was just about to do something about that 'drunken brawl' hair I'm sporting. Until Nick interrupted with a camera, and she never got a chance to fix it. Also, even Marie was powerless to make whatever they were trying to pass off as eggs palatable.

This is Marie. As in Marie McFadden. Her nickname has alway been her initials, which spell MOM. But after what I’m about to tell you, Marie will be turning your world upside-down in a way that should make you stand up and cheer. Which means her nickname from now and forevermore will be MOM upside-down, or WOW.

And that’s all because Marie has freaking magical powers. 

Don’t believe me? While you were wishing on a star for someone to make your life easier, your business more profitable, and your stress level go down…

Marie and her team of enchanted sprites have been hard at work making that happen for you.

You see, Marie owns the worldwide Partner Managed Support Newsgroups. And when I say owns…I mean OWNS. As in, Marie is The Big Cheese. The Head Honcho. The Funk Hostess With The Mostest. The Shizz.

If it has to do with Partners and Managed Support via Newsgroups, this is her baby. And if you’re a Small Business Specialist, she’s basically giving you the best Christmas present ever…and in April no less!

Small Business Specialists have enjoyed an exclusive managed newsgroup which offers an astounding 4–hour response time for the low low cost of nothing! To this point, the products covered by this 4–hour support were limited to…

  • Windows Vista
  • Windows XP
  • SQL Server Reporting Services
  • Exchange Server
  • Windows Server
  • Windows SBS
  • Microsoft Office 2007 system

Well, as amazing as that has already been, Marie and her team have just strapped a rocket booster onto these 4–hour newsgroups, and are about to light the candle.

They are expanding the number of products covered by 4 hour response to over 50! And they aren’t padding this either with stuff like…the Legend of Aranna expansion pack for Dungeon Siege or some other such nonsense. No, we’re talking some SERIOUSLY serious stuff here. Check it out…

  • Dynamics: AX, CRM, GP, NAV, RMS, SL
  • Internet Technologies: IE, IIS
  • Messaging: Exchange Server, Live Communication Server, Exchange Client – OE and Windows Mail
  • Mobility: Office Mobile, System Center Mobile Device Manager, Windows Mobile
  • Office: Access, Accounting, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, Project, Visio, Word, Office for Mac, Office Sharepoint, Setup & General Questions
  • Security:  Forefront, IAG, ISA, WSUS, SteadyState
  • SQL Server and SQL SRS
  • System Center: SCE, SCOM, SCCM, SCVMM
  • Virtualization: Virtual Earth, Virtual PC, Virtual Server
  • Windows Client: XP, Vista, Windows 7 RC Client
  • Windows Server: Windows Server, Windows Server 7 RC, SBS, EBS

The sheer number of stuff covered is nothing short of mind-boggling. You can even see that the Release Candidate of both Windows 7 Client AND Server are both covered already. And how much are they going to start charging for this amazing increase in service? A WHOPPING 50% increase over what you’re paying now for it!

That’s right…50% more of nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. It’s all still SCOT-FREE and EXCLUSIVE to Small Business Specialists.

If you can’t immediately see how much ass this kicks…then stop using a computer right now and go sell insurance. This offer should basically make every being in the known universe with a frontal lobe want to become a Small Business Specialist. And once you are, you should go check out these phenomenal newsgroups by going here and actuallly using them:

So when does all this magic happen? Why…right now. As soon as this post goes live at 9am, Pacific time, on this the 27th day of April, in the year of our Lord 2009.


|| posted by chris under business, community, freebie, it pro, more cowbell, mothership, shoutout, thumbs up || comments (3) || ||

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