Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Heard a great quote today I thought I'd share:

You have two ears and one mouth; use them in that proportion. - Epictetus

-- Mobile post

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Presenting in Paris

Things are going really well this week and we've been very busy!

I had thought I'd be giving one presentation to 500 people. Turned out they wanted more effective/intimate group sizes so while the 500 people part hasn't changed, they've been arriving in groups of 10 over two days!

My rough daily schedule has been:

1:30am: find bed under pile of notes and cables having completed revision list of the day.

Horrible reality siren at 5:30am (alarm), doze (10 min), wake up in panic at the time, quick shower (10 min). Answer emails (30 min), review demo script and pack demo gear (15 min). Suit up (5 min), admire how dashing self looks in suit (10 min) while putting on stupid tricky cufflinks (5 min). Elevator ride from 30th floor (5 min due to commuter traffic), arrive at breakfast meeting 7am.

Review daily agenda and implement new last minute changes to suit audience segment of day (30 min), arrive at venue and set up gear (10 min).


Give demo and presentation (10 min) to groups of 10 people, answer questions (5 min), repeat indefinitely until dinner break.

Note to self that I haven't gone to bathroom yet. Briefly excuse myself and enjoy 5 minutes of solitude.

Arrive at dinner meeting. Review day, take notes, chew, swallow, begin alterations to demo based on daily feedback.


All in all, I wouldn't have it any other way, this has been a lot of fun. You know I love an audience!

-- Mobile post

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dune Bashing in Dubai

On my way to Paris I had a very long layover in Dubai due to a series of flight delays that resulted in a missed connection. Let's hope my trip home goes more smoothly!

This reminded me that I hadn't posted photos from the last time I was there in October. I'm a bit behind on my travel blogging and Dubai is really spectacular.

It's home to some really amazing man made marvels. From the huge man-made Palm Island, to the Burj Dubai, the modern engineering that's going on is really impressive. Sort of a modern day Atlantis!

The Burj Dubai (pictured at the top of this post) is the tallest building in the world, stacking in at nearly a kilometer high (roughly 850m)! Putting that in perspective, if you stacked the Sears Tower in Chicago on top of the Empire State building in New York, the Burj Dubai would still be taller by about 50m!

You can see from the photo just how much it dwarfs the other huge high rises around it. It's estimated to be fully completed this year. I was impressed to see a window washer way way up near the top. That's one heck of a big job!

Contrary to popular belief, Dubai does NOT have oil money. There was a time that it did, however, the reserves have long since dried up and now the city is sustained on tourism alone. The economic crisis has really hit them hard and most new construction projects are currently on hold. It was odd to see so many half-completed high rise buildings, especially so many very uniquely designed ones.

The Palm Island, more impressive by air, is a massive land-reclaimation project in the shape of a palm tree. The next big project is "the World" island, shaped like a giant globe.

After a bit of city touring, we went out into the desert for some good old fashioned DUNE BASHING! This was incredibly fun, even if we weren't allowed to drive. Our group even had to rotate through the front seat to handle the odd queasy stomach. Quite the ride!

Dune bashing!

More dune bashing!

After diving over the edge of the huge dunes in our Toyota Landcruiser we went deeper into the desert where we had a huge meal and were painted with henna tattoos.

Mike getting tattooed.

The famous Burj Al Arab. To get a room here, you need a minimum of $2000 USD. The most expensive room goes for $28,000 per night!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Reruns and sequels

It's about 1am and I'm preparing to leave for Paris for the second time in as many months. It seems my whole life is in reruns lately, doomed to repeat patterns of the past.

The flight from Australia to France is a gruelling one but at least I can catch up on some badly needed sleep! That's if I can remember how...

I've been given a tremendous opportunity to present a product integration to over 500 delegates at a conference being held about a block from the Eiffel Tower.

What I love about that is I actually had a hand in building all three of the products being integrated in this solution: two that I worked on in Canada and one that I worked on here in Australia.

My dedicated teammates from Canada and Australia have put in a lot of their personal time working nights and weekends to make this happen.

I'll be representing about nine years of independent product development work from four countries, wrapped together by a few weeks worth of commando style tactical integration work, being shown in a single live working (fingers crossed) demo in front of the top executives in my company and many industry leaders. It needs to impress!

Nothing like adding a little pressure to a presentation.

Lucky for me, this isn't so much a re-run as it is a sequel. This is the same integration I presented at the big product launch for the press last month. The audience will be more technical and have higher expectations, but I'm confident it will show very well.

I've heard it's snowing there. That will be a nice change of pace from the sweltering Brisbane summer heat.

So what does any of this have to do with the photo at the top? I snapped that picture of the man and his dogs on the street the last time I was in Paris in December. If I don't pull this off, that's what I've decided to do next... it doesn't look so bad! I bet he gets more sleep than I do...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Mom the World Traveler

Happy New Year everyone!

This year my Mom came to visit over the holidays and as far as I know, this was her first big overseas trip.

We had a really nice Christmas, touring around the countryside on our own little amateur safari. She managed to get pictures in the wild of all the big Australian animals including a koala, a salt water crocodile, a pademelon wallaby, loads of kanagaroos, a kookaburra and lots of different lizards!

She snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef where she found Nemo and a large Green Sea Turtle. She even managed to see two sharks out there and volunteered to take a SCUBA lesson! We were all very proud of how adventurous she was!

Koala in the wild.

Salt water crocodile in the wild!

Holding a fresh water croc at the zoo.

A kangaroo in the wild.

I hope you all had a fantastic start to 2010!