I’ve just returned from a whirlwind trip to Berlin, Germany, where I was presenting at the 2008 MCT Summit conference that Microsoft organized for the worldwide Microsoft Certified Trainer community. Despite the fact that I had a 24-hour day yesterday getting home to New York, and this on the tail of a very active and very fun trip that involved very little sleep, I am still feeling incredibly energized – this was a great event!
Why am I so energized?
- The MCT community itself – I’ve been an MCT for over 11 years now but I have never been surrounded by so many trainers at once. There were over 400 MCTs at the event, from 58 different countries, and although I didn’t get to meet each of them, I did get to speak to them all (more on that later) and it was an absolute adrenaline rush. Besides, I got to meet a lot of European friends I don’t get to see very often, and meet new friends as well. I love being an MCT!
- My scheduled presentations – The three SQL Server 2008 sessions that I delivered were all very well received. I had around 100 people attending my first two sessions and probably 150 in the third and final session, and had an amazing time interacting with each crowd. Keep in mind that everyone attending each of these sessions is used to being up on the stage himself (or herself!) so I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, but it was wonderful all around. My final session was targeted at MCTs who do not currently teach SQL Server classes (I don’t know if I was trying to scare them off or encourage them – both are probably appropriate) but there were many existing SQL Server trainers in the crowd as well. It was a riot. We covered 75 days worth of SQL Server content in 75 minutes, and had a great time doing it as well.
- My surprise presentation – I have been working in the evenings for the past week or two on a proof of concept SharePoint portal for the worldwide MCT community so that trainers can have better tools to help support each other in many different ways. I’ve been doing this work as part of my role on Microsoft’s MCT Advisory Council, and had spoken to the conference organizers about getting a few minutes during the keynote address to present the portal to the assembled MCTs both to let them know what we were working on and to elicit critical feedback. Everyone agreed that this was a good idea, but the schedule was planned weeks in advance and no one was sure where my presentation would fit in. So imagine my surprise when Tjeerd Veninga, the person responsible for the Berlin summit, announced that the next speaker, Matthew Roche, was going to demonstrate a new MCT Community Portal web site… I just wish that I could have seen my face. 😉 But how often do you get the chance to address a hall full of 400+ professional trainers and a bunch of senior people from Microsoft? How could I resist? So onto the stage I went, and despite the fact that I had no demo, no slides and nothing but a microphone, it went very well. The amount of positive feedback and support that I received from the assembled masses was nothing short of phenomenal. Over the next day I had dozens of MCTs seek me out to ask how they could help, how they could volunteer, all for the benefit of the community at large.
Now do you see why I love being an MCT?
- My family – I love to travel, but I hate being away from home. And now I’m home with my wonderful wife and children. What could be better?
- My music – I’m brutally jet-lagged, but am forcing myself to get up and stay up in order to re-acclimate to New York time, instead of sleeping all day, which is what my body really wants to do. So I have Manowar cranked up as loud as it will go, filling my home office (and probably the rest of the house) with the most powerful music in the world. It will get me through the day, and then my body will be caught up with the fact that I’m home again.
And remember! The Berlin event was simply the first of five MCT Summits taking place early this year. There are events all over the world (this link will prompt you to log in as an MCT, so if you’re not an MCT, you’re out of luck here) in the weeks ahead:
- Sydney, Australia
- Redmond, Washington, United States
- Sao Paulo, Brazil
I won’t be at all of these events (I have a family and a full-time job, you see) but I will be delivering the same three SQL Server sessions I delivered this week in Berlin. If you’re an MCT based in the US, this is going to be a great event that you do not want to miss. I’ll see you in Redmond!
 Just in case you have yet to learn this lesson yourself, never go out drinking with your Swedish friends the night before you have three technical sessions to present. Trust me.
 And yes, I’m still watching the mail every day, Mike! 😉
 This is on top of all of the other work I’ve been doing in the evenings. Someone needs to invent a longer day… (NSFW: http://www.xkcd.com/320/)