The long ride home from Microsoft Convergence

I’ve forced myself to blog daily about the conference as I find I have a lot more to say as a Blog Picture whole instead of waiting until I get home to do all the updates. I’ve slept a couple of hours on the plane already and the lady beside me has only had to nudge me once as I started to put my head on her shoulder for a pillow. She’s obviously not a Convergence attendee because if she was we’d probably be leaning on each other sleeping off the pains and aches of a massive week of learning and interacting.

Here is a summary of my last day update of the conference:

  1. The day kicked off with a very interesting keynote speaker in Malcom Gladwell, author of the Tipping Point. He went through several ways technology can be used to make important decisions. This was my favorite key note since the days of Doug Burgum and his infamous historical comparisons to the likes of Louis and Clark and Marco Polo. Here are some of the things I remember from Gladwell’s keynote:
    1. It simplifies the decision. Humans have the inability to process several different options and choices. If you do the Coca Cola challenge and introduce a twist by adding one more choice of either Pepsi or Coke the taster will only get the challenge right only 33% of the time.
    2. It removes biases to allow for better decisions. Story about the screen eliminated the gender bias in the Russian philharmonic.
    3. It enables better logical thinking rather than emotional reacting. Police acting alone tend to make better decisions then when acting in a group. The addition of instant replay to sports allows referees to get away from the home crowd effect and look back to make sure the play call was the correct judgment.
    4. When technology is applied to situations it makes the parties involved more accountable for their actions. Major league baseball umpires cleaned up their ball and strike calling when technology was added that critiqued their strike calling.
    5. Technology can aid in emotional decisions (or gut calls). Having relevant information can aid in making those gut judgments
  2. The question and answer session with Malcom Gladwell had a good couple of questions as well:
    1. Can humans really multitask – His response was if you mean do several important things that includes making serious decisions, no that is not possible. That would take humans to act like machines
    2. How can we use technology to remove bias in regards to the TSA and security – He likes the complete random selection, 1 in 5 people completely searched for example rather than profiling. This is because as soon as the enemy finds what the profile is they can transform into the opposite of what the profile is
    3. How can technology aid in making better decisions as parents – He doesn’t have kids so can only give a congressional opinion (an opinion on something he knows absolutely nothing about). The child psychology research indicates being consistent on actions and decisions. A child will respond better when they know what the consequence will be to their actions. (this comment backs up the positive parenting approach which I try to adhere to) 
  3. Had a meeting with our team to discuss take a way’s from the conference. Also made to do lists of what we needed to accomplish in the next week to make the most benefit from this event. We really need to justify the expense of this conference as it is expensive and time consuming. If you don’t change or put new idea’s into action the conference will merely be a weeks worth of vacation. As I am a remote employee this meeting also acts as a planning meeting for several months worth of activities
  4. As the day was wrapping up our clients tried to squeeze just a bit more out of the conference. We hit a few more ISV’s at the expo to discuss service support. One client needed a Go To person for critical issues he was dealing with. Meeting face to face with the ISV will hopefully help with this and a follow up call was scheduled
  5. As soon as 1:30 pm hit the expo was over. Holy cow the freeman expo people know how to tear down a place in a hurry. We got our RoseASP booth cut down in record time. It helps with several hands to take care of all involved
  6. We hit one last manufacturing/distribution session where one of our clients presented his successes and challenges with implementing GP manufacturing. Ladies, Tim is single, can bust a move on the dance floor, and is very successful. You might want to consider learning manufacturing. ha.
  7. Hit the MARTA train to get to the airport. Only missed our connection a couple of times. Had one very helpful man let us follow him where we needed to go. I felt like a little ducky following along hoping to get to the right place. Love the people of Atlanta. Very nice and accommodating.

That’s about it for Microsoft Convergence. I will follow up this posting with best stories blog but we can all look forward to Houston where Convergence will be held next year in March (Yuck, April is much easier on the accounting folk.)

Thanks Microsoft for continuing this event. And thanks to everyone else that make this event such a success. Seeing every in the keynote session this morning really made me realize how great the operations people are as it felt like there was only 100 people at the event when in fact there was over 9000.

Great job by all involved.

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