An Eventful Week

I feel as though I’ve barely had time to slow down this week, as every day has been very very long in nature but good fun in it’s own way.

Monday was spent bringing a new client on board – always an exciting but challenging time as you document the infrastructure you have inherited, start getting a feel for what needs to be done to improve things and begin building new relationships with the employees at your new client. Immediately having to deal with BT cutting through some cables and taking down all your new clients Telephone and Broadband Internet connections always makes life more challenging too!

Tuesday night was spent in Birmingham’s Brindley Place debating the Backup Exec line of products their approach to the UK Small Business market with a couple of former Veritas (who Symantec bought out a while back) employees who now work at Symantec and who were in town for the next days big Microsoft bash. This meet-up naturally involved impressive volumes of alcohol, lots of typical vendor bashing from the SBSC corner and repeated use of the familiar phrase "Don’t blog this" from the Symantechies when talking to us about certain sensitive subjects we drew them on. Thanks to the guys involved for an enjoyable evening. There were definitely some fuzzy heads all around the next day.

Wednesday was the day of Microsoft’s UK 2008 Launch party entitled "Heroes happen here" at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre. This was a huge event, much bigger than I anticipated, and I’d guess there were easily a couple of thousand people in attendance including many friends from the Small Business Specialist Community, Vendors and even one or two clients of mine. Microsoft laid on five different and very large conference rooms each offering a number of hour-long seminars covering various IT Pro and Developer topics – including some really interest talks on Security and Virtualisation from Microsofties such as Steve Lamb and Matt McSpirit. The day was interspersed with some games, question and answer sessions, swag giveaways and a ton of complimentary food and beer. I was then soundly thrashed 9-0 by Andy Parkes at FIFA 2008 on the XBox 360. Andy is a really nice guy, so I let him win, obviously… 

If you weren’t in attendance on the day itself, then Vijay has blogged about how you can view the "Virtual Launch" site over at his blog.

Once we’d all been kicked out of the ICC, we joined organiser Zi and the good people from Geek Dinners who had put together a sit down meal at a nearby restaurant. It was good fun to meet so many IT professionals from around the country over a pizza and a drink, and members of the AMITPRO, NXTGen and VBUG user groups were all in attendance. Many new friends and contacts were made. There are some regular Geek Dinners across the UK, but sadly none in the Midlands – anybody interested in making it a regular event?

The hardcore amongst the group then carried the party on within Birmingham’s Broad Street’s pubs and clubs and that’s when things started to get a little hazy for me. A select (and foolish) few didn’t finish until around 5am. Guess how we were all feeling the next day?

Finally, Thursday saw a big goodbye to UKSMBgirl, Susanne Dansey, who is moving on to pastures new in exciting far flung destinations. In the short time I’ve been a part of the UK SBS Community, Susanne has been one of the most knowledgeable and helpful community leaders I’ve met – I know she’ll be sorely missed by everyone who knows her but welcomed with open arms by her new colleagues the other side of the world! Good luck Susanne!

So, a busy but eventful week. The partying and subsequent hangovers will mean I’m doing some catching up on work over this Bank Holiday weekend, but I think it was worth it (even if my liver and sleep-deprived body says otherwise).

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