Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Allison Watson owes me lunch

  wo, actually. Microsoft is 0 for 2 when it comes to having enough lunch for attendees here at the Worldwide Partner Conference. Short version of the story: lunch was scheduled from 1:00 to 2:30 today; I, like many people, was in session from 1 to 2. I went directly from my session to lunch. I got down to the main floor to find the lunch station completely bereft of food. It was 2:05; I double checked my schedule. Was lunch over at 2? Nope. Two thirty; there is still 25 minutes of lunch time left!

I scooted to another food station – same situation. I asked an employee, and she told me she heard there still may be food at station 3. Or station 4. Wherever those are.

I scooted again, to stations 3 and 4. No luck, and no luck. By this time, I was with a group of other attendees who were in the same boat: hungry and frustrated.

I asked to talk to someone in charge. A kind employee, Teresa, went to fetch her boss, Richard. He came down, sat down with me and talked for a few minutes. He placed the blame for the situation clearly in Microsoft's court. He said that they had ordered 5,400 lunches for Thursday (there are over 7,000 partners here, and I believe the number of attendees including Microsoft employees is close to 10,000). Of course they ran out! After yesterday's fiasco, they bumped up the order for today to 7,400 lunches—an order the kitchen had trouble filling, because they couldn't get the additional supply on such short demand. It clearly was still inadequate.

I hate to fill up a grid computing blog with whining about a conference that I'm attending. But this is the only medium I have. This blog is about partnering with Microsoft, and the WPC is the event of the year for Microsoft partners.

Allison, this is no way to treat the partners who bring in 96% of your revenue. Last year WPC ran like a Swiss watch—it was all around a terrific experience. The content was good, and that's important. But what's also important is making it a good experience for all of us. This year has been a much worse experience, and all of your partners are going to leave with that taste in their mouths. We're glad you gave us a "double thank you" for your great year.

But, personally, I would rather have had lunch.

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