EnergizeIT Goes to Kelowna

On Tuesday, Damir and I flew into Kelowna to do an EnergizeIT presentation for their software developers and IT Pro types. I must say that the Okanagan Valley, where Kelowna is situated, looks gorgeous from the air:

Okanagan Valley, as seen from my plane window

Okanagan Valley, as seen from my plane window

Okanagan Valley, as seen from my plane window

Okanagan Valley, as seen from my plane window

We landed, checked into our hotel, took a quick peek at the conference room where we’d be doing the presentation and then headed downtown for lunch. We ended up at a barbecue place called Memphis Blues, where we both had the “Big Daddy”, a sandwich combining pulled pork and brisket. It came with coleslaw and some really nice beans on the side, and we washed it down with Boylan’s diet root beer. Had we not had work to do, I would’ve gone for some “Lynchburg Lemonade” (Jack, lemonade and other stuff) and a shot of Bulleit (they have a decent selection of bourbons).

Pulled pork/brisket sandwich, coleslaw, beans and a bottle of Boylan's diet root beer

There wasn’t much time for sightseeing – we wouldn’t be in town even 24 hours – but I did manage to snap a couple of shots of the local scenery near the hotel, including the “Sails” fountain:

Kelowna's "Sails" fountain

And a view of the lake:

View of Okanagan Lake and boats

We went back to the hotel and started setting up for our “From the Client to the Cloud” presentation, a giant demo in which we present a grand tour of what’s possible with Visual Studio 2010, SQL Server 2010, Office 2010, SharePoint 2010 and Azure. I do developer-y things, Damir does IT Pro-y things and we show you – with actual working code, data and infrastructure – the sort of system you can build to help you get things done. And by “get things done”, I mean a real, working, employ-real-people, provide-real-service kind of business (we like tell-the-world-where-your-cat-is-right-now applications as much as the next person, and you can build that sort of thing on the Microsoft platform too).

Here’s Damir doing the setup for the presentation on his machine (that’s my laptop in the foreground):

Damir setting up the EnergizeIT demo computers

And here’s a shot of the room about an hour before the session started:

Damir setting up the EnergizeIT demo computers

We played to a full house. And I’m not kidding when I say “play”: unlike many other tech presentations, there’s no PowerPoint in this one until the very end. Instead, the EnergizeIT session has me and Damir telling a story about starting our own online insurance company and building the applications and infrastructure right in front of the audience. It’s all storytelling, live demos, actual working code and data, and of course, jokes (including me telling Damir to “Dance, server monkey, dance!”).

The audience at the Kelowna EnergizeIT session

The feedback we got from the audience was great. Many said that they loved watching an all-demo presentation and were blown away by what Visual Studio 2010 could do. A couple of people said that watching the presentation made them want to delve into Visual Studio a little more, as we’d shown them many features and capabilities they didn’t know our IDE had. A number of people were also impressed by the breadth of the Microsoft platform and how easy it was to move applications from on-premises servers to the cloud.

With the presentation done, Damir decided to take it easy, while I went out with some of the attendees for burgers and beer at the nearby Tonics Pub. I had to make it a (relatively) early night, though: we were bound for Victoria the next day.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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