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A Presenter’s Personal Diary from TechED Vienna

At 8 am in the morning under a heavy influence of Jet-Leg, a highly technical session up my sleeve and pumped up with a adrenalin like a junkie on a bad crack overdose I headed towards the Messe Wien. A nifty location on the banks of the Danube river in Vienna, where a mix of 3700 or more technological gurus, software architects, customers, partners, product managers, CEO’s CIO’s and some other three letter creatures that I don’t even know their names  would be joining in a ferocious SAP frenzy.   A few weeks before I got an email from headquarters notifying me that my session, should I choose to accept it, would be to deliver a presentation on Web Dynpro JavaBean Model Integration. Attached a two-way ticket from San Francisco to Vienna, hotel reservations in the Hilton Danube and an IO. Good luck and may God be with you.  After a long flight I finally arrived at the Vienna airport. To my surprise no exotic beautiful local agent was waiting with my name at the airport. Of course, I’m undercover, how stupid can I be to expect someone to display my name like that in public. I took a cab and headed towards the Messe Wien.  From my experience in previous sessions I like to arrive at least an hour before the mass hits the room. That way I have time to test my demo, plant my booby traps, turn on the surveillance cameras and wire myself with microphones. Luckily headquarters sent an IT team to help me with setting up the gear. When they came into the room I gave them the secret handshake, they mumbled something in German, but by the look in there eyes I knew that they understood.  Anyone who has been as long as I am in the field knows that you can never be too ready. I have seen the failing demo phenomenon too many times to know that you need to come prepared with all your ammo for this bugger to succeed. Sigmund Freud, the famous psychoanalyst from Vienna, would have probably called it the “Demo Syndrome”, and traced its origins to an Oedipus complex or lack of fulfillment in the phallic stages of childhood. Others would probably call it bad luck. I prefer not to say its name out loud, and try to minimize its symptoms as much as possible.  I accomplish that by following a set of simple ground rules. First of all I try to create a demo that I have as much as possible control of its execution and minimize the dependencies on exterior systems. They always have a tendency to be unavailable when you most need them.  Secondly, I don’t demonstrate anything I didn’t try at home before. Especially the triple flick-flack summersault with the half twist. The judges don’t like them and if my first point had a tendency, here you can surely count on them not to work. Thirdly, as I stated before, I always come at least an hour in advance to test the demo in the real battle field. You know what they say about how you test a bridge to know if it’s stable? You put a bunch of mother in-laws in a bus and let them pass on the bridge. If they pass, then it’s OK. If they don’t, then it’s also OK! Lastly, a tip that I got from a fellow agent, codename: Erez. Always have a recording of your demo in hand. Whatever can go wrong will go wrong no matter how much prepared you arrive. A recording always looks better than any excuse you can give to a room full of anticipating, blood thirsty, hostile spectators who spent the last month sleeping in a cardboard box in the Stephansplatz saving money for the conference admissions.  So, you are probably interested to hear if I got the session accomplished successfully?  I sure did my friends, and the TechED DVD will prove that for a brief moment in history (43 minutes and 29 seconds before questions) I managed to get a group of hippie-techies, long lost remains from a movement considered long gone, with long hair and an hideous appetite for byte code in a single room to share with me some exciting moments around Web Dynpro JavaBean Model Integration. The amount of aggregated SDN points that sat in the room for approximately an hour, if replaced by mileage points could easily get a man to the moon and back in business class. Two of the top 20 SDN contributors were spotted in the room plus 412 of my humble points.  Good luck to the presenters in Boston and thank you Vienna for your wonderful Wiener Schnitzel and inspiring Kaffeehaus that brought me to write my first blog ever. 
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