A little over a two weeks ago I blogged about Joey and I heading out across North America – and beyond.  I thought it would be fun to write up a trip report and share it with you here on what we’ve accomplished so far, where we’ve visited and thank all the folks who have helped us along the way.

Before I do: Just a quick flash back and tip of the (green)hat to the first post (read it here) so you can see if we are headed to a city / country near you. New dates / registration links are being added as we get them confirmed.

 I shot this photo out of the car window as Joey and I were driving off from the airport rental car parking lot. It will be a familiar sight to us over the next while – airports, rental cars, hotels and parking facilities (with possible weekend visits home to see the family).

A lot of people think traveling as part of your job is glamorous, you get to see lots of cities and lots of places, take in the sights and the culture as you are getting your job done. Actually, it’s not. In order to make the most of it - you have to make time for the important things to stay sane: Connecting and talking with REAL PEOPLE along the way – breaking bread with them and listening to them. Luckily – we worked this into the plan from the get-go so I get to check out local cuisine on this round as we’re meeting MCTs, MVPs, training center staff, college students, partners and consultants.

The secret formula we’re using is quite simple. Partner with an AWESOME Microsoft Learning Partner who can host us in their facility for these Office Hours Live events. Cross promote to get people interested in showing up and learning about Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 when we are in town. Finally – during the 3 hr window of time we set aside for this activity – engage in meaningful conversations – answering questions, collecting product / scenario feedback on what’s going on with these customers and what issues they are facing – oh yeah, all this while taking copious amounts of notes.  I have to take a moment to give a special SHOUT OUT to 5PE / New Horizons for stepping up to kickstart this whole process – it wouldn’t have been possible without them! 

But it doesn’t stop there.

I mentioned some “extra” stuff we’re doing while out on the road – to keep our sanity. Personally, nothing is more daunting then having to go out an eat by ourselves while on the road. We decided to take it up a notch: if we’re coming to a city near you, we’re putting the offer out to connect over drinks / coffee / dinner (dutch of course as we’re on a budget) and just geek out talking tech, issues, beer, philosophy – whatever. So far three cities down and counting:

  • We’ve had appetizers and drinks with some System Integration partners and user group leaders in Dallas (thanks Quinn and Michael!)
  • Connected with #TheKrewe members Claudia (Houston), Aubrey (Kansas City), Tiffany (Dallas)
  • Local V-Team mates in the field who work for Microsoft and also do the Technical Evangelism thing (Matt Hester and Kevin Remde)

One other fun thing we get to do while out on the road and working with learning partners is connect with Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) in different geographies. We reach out to “regional leads” in advance to see what they’d like to setup for a get together. We had one recently in Kansas City were we delivered a custom “demo skills training” session to help hone their technical presentation delivery skills. It went over quite well – I’m looking forward to the next MCT meet up opportunity.

What’s a “life on the road” report without pictures? I’ve been snapping a few choice moments along the road and sharing them on my twitter feed. I thought I’d also take advantage of SkyDrive to make a quick little album of our travels. Check it out!

See you on the road – don’t forget to tweet @JoeySnow and @RicksterCDN if we’re in your local area so we can get together!