Worst Presentation… Ever.

I would like to take this moment to apologize for all of the attendees who were at our WIN302 session this afternoon here in Barcelona.  Moments before we were scheduled to begin, a very nasty power issue hit our room, causing the lights to go out, all of the equipment on stage to shut down, and reset all of the audio equipment (replaced with a series of rather nasty sounding "pops".)  Our demo machine, which we had just spent the last few hours getting set "just so," was also a casualty of this.

Following 10 minutes of working with stage crews, audio techs, and David frantically trying to get the demo machine back to a usable state, we decided to begin the talk.  I had counted 5 minutes since someone ran down onto the stage yelling into a walkie talkie, so I figured we were in the clear.

David was still working on the demo, so I began the talk, and quickly needed to fill time while David worked on the demo machine. 

In short, by the time we got back to being ready, things were all jabberwockied up, and I was most certainly off my game, and as a result found myself rambling when I should have been focused, grasping for phrasing when I should have been driving the message, and stumbling in a talk where I had hoped to be knocking it out of the park.

I want to apologize to the attendees, because you deserved a much better talk than the one you got (and David and I are going to make it up in part 2, tomorrow). 

Reading through the feedback was pretty hard, this is a crowd that has very high expectations, and today did not meet that bar.

Just when you think you have things all ready to go.

How could we have done better?

  • A backup machine, set in exactly the same fashion as the first machine would have still not been particularly pleased with the power issue.
  • I need a way to be able to save the state of all of my open visual studio windows and script out so I can run one script that opens all of the instances, and all of the right files (setting to the right spot would be nice as well).
  • Not freaked out.  We had just gotten set and ready to go, and the power thing really knocked me off kilter. 

So, we walk away and we learn something, and we'll be back to do it again tomorrow.  Everyone has these nightmare conference stories, but that still doesn't make things better.

Comments (4)

  1. I wasn’t at this presentation, but I wouldn’t worry too much. We’ve all been there! My VM died on me an hour before a presentation and luckily I’d stuck to a promise to always take screenshots and put them in my PowerPoints so that I had something atleast if everything went wrong!

    It’s amazing how many presentations I’ve been too where power has friend laptops!

  2. thijs says:

    Hi Matt,

    I was at this presentation, and you shouldn’t worry too much! Although your demos didn’t go as planned you both did a pretty amazing job. Considering the size of the audience and the complexity of your demos I think you could have done much worse! (and to be honest, I’ve seen a presentation where everything went as planned, but it was still a 100 times less interesting than your talk).

    So don’t let this put you down!

  3. raul.igrisan says:

    Doesn’t it make sense to prepare the demo on virtual machine(s)?

    You can have different images/snapshots for various stages of the presentation in case something goes wrong.

    Also that way you can store the demo along with the slides and reuse/share the presentation.

  4. Trika says:

    Matt, you should be ashamed of yourself, really. Seriously.

    OK NOT SERIOUS!!! NOT REALLY! I bet you handled it as well as anyone would… more likely better. Hope your time off was great.

Skip to main content