Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The (not really) UC Roundtable Pre-Con Event

"Join us now as we tumble down the rabbit hole and into a strange world in which sound and inner-vision is mutable and language is communicated in pure form."

First, let me begin this story by saying that I will never have a career in event scheduling.  I'd love to blame this on my iPhone or third-party mobile device, but I can't.  It was an amazing combination of coincidence and miscommunication.

As background, I am holding my 4th Annual UC Roundtable event this year at TechEd.  This is usually an informal get-together with Exchange and Lync Server IT Pros held at a local bar or other social location offsite.  This year, the Exchange Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) team asked if we could join forces with F5 Networks to bring all these groups together, along with the Exchange product team.  This event was scheduled for Wednesday from 6:00-8:00pm.

Through a tragic set of events, I was told Tuesday at 4:30pm that the event was happening THAT DAY, not Wednesday.  I couldn't believe it, and asked repeatedly, "You're kidding, right?!?"  I had to notify 38 people that the event was happening in 90 minutes.  Even so, almost everyone confirmed that they could make it, even on this short notice.  Thanks, folks!

When I arrived at the hotel where the event was being held, I found that the room was clearly not ready.  I checked with the catering manager who told me that the room was indeed booked for Wednesday, as I originally planned.  Now I've got 36 people and the Exchange product team showing up with no place to go.  The bar in the hotel couldn't accomodate that many people in any sort of format that would work.

I got ahold of David Bjurman-Birr, the head of the Exchange MCM group, who happens to be staying at the hotel and told him what was happening.  He offered to have everyone come up to his suite for drinks.  I had no other alternative, so we did -- all 50 or so of us.  Needless to say, it was more of a frat party than anything else.  David and Melissa were totally gracious and acted like this is nothing new, fixing hors d'oeuvres and drinks for everyone.  It was quite the spectacle, but everyone told me they had a great time.

Everyone still plans to attend the real UC Roundtable tomorrow evening.  I hope. 11:17 PM