Partners!

I’m packing up and heading out for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. Always one of my favorite events of the year! SteveB, Kevin Turner, tons of partners (biggest ever this year!). And in DC no less, one of my favorite cities to boot. It is hard to believe, but my first ever Microsoft experience was at the second partner conference, in 1996. I had just started working with an agency supporting the training & certification and channel partner work, and although I hadn’t officially started yet, it seemed like a good idea to come to Seattle and experience the fun. Boy, talk about culture shock! Breakout sessions on selling Windows NT, competing with Netware, MCP certification,  as a new guy, I was totally lost. I scanned the sessions desperately, looking for something I could actually understand and that would (hopefully) help me insight into  the days and weeks to come. Eventually, my wandering eye settled on a session titled “Microsoft Outlook 97.” This was my ticket to understanding. It was 1996, and here the company was going to give perspective for what was happening in 1997! Eureka and other words, and I was at the session early, front row, pen in hand.

Of course, I had no laptop, too expensive. And if I had one, I’d be using Microsoft Exchange Mail, it was state of the art.

You know how this one ends. My session, the one that was going to give me direction for the year ahead, was not that at all. Instead, it was a demo for a new product – Outlook ‘97. Crushed though I was by not getting the inside scoop for what was coming, I was captivated by the software itself, and after the demo accosted the presenter, demanding a copy. “It’s alpha code,” he said. “Are you sure you want it? I have a disk.” Did I know what alpha code was? no. Did I still want? Yes.

Back in Portland, I installed on my one and only computer, and I was off to the races. Until the first time Clippy appeared. I was not amused. And there were performance issues; my machine, which previously had sung like the angels grunted and wheezed like an asthmatic runner. After a bit of this, I called the guy who had given me the code. “I hate the clippy thing, and the dog is even worse. How do I turn them off?” He gave me bad news…there was no way, but if I deleted a set of dlls, I wouldn’t see them anymore.

Which I did. Of course clippy and merlin and the pooch were gone, but now instead of them, I got an error message “dll not found.” I was not sure this was an improvement, and another call ensued.

him: “it’s alpha code, remember? You are not running on your production machine, are you?
me: “I don’t think I am, it’s running on the only machine I have.”

And thus was I introduced to the concept of wipe and reinstall. Smile

What wonders await me at WPC10? The mind boggles, but crack of dawn tomorrow I am on my way! Hope to see you there.

2 Responses to “Partners!”

  1. jer979 Says:

    Frank,
    Been a fan of your blog for a while now. I’ll be at WPC on Tues/Thurs (presenting on Thurs). May I schedule you for a brief chat via WPC connect?

  2. xinz Says:

    member of Outlook 97 team passed by …
    good story…

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