Techies Let it All Hang Out at Tech Ed

From Tech Ed security bashing to gate crashing.

Sent: Monday, June 9, 2003 2:40 AM
To: eWEEK readers
Subject: From Tech Ed security bashing to gate crashing

Upon downing a double bourbon in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport last Monday night, Spencer felt himself getting as corked as Sammy Sosas bat. But he needed the drink after spending all day and most of the evening at Microsofts Tech Ed event. Waiting for his seat row to be called, the Gleaner of Gossip mused that if the event coordinators had been clairvoyant, they might have played The Boomtown Rats song "I Dont Like Mondays" as an intro for the keynote by the companys senior vice president, Paul Flessner. Instead, his colleagues chose to whip the crowd, Ballmer-like, into a frenzy by calling on the left half of the audience to shout "Tech" and the right side to scream "Ed" at the top of its lungs. The Febrile Furball felt Flessners discomfort as the VP took the stage and immediately denied having any part in planning the war chant entrance. It was a bit like Sosa blaming the batboy, Spencer thought.

At a panel discussion among several of Redmonds enterprise customers, Flessners day only got worse. How did it feel to get hit by the SQL Slammer worm? A rep from Merrill Lynchs technology group described it as "falling into the category of sucks." A Continental Airlines IT exec said the companys CEO told its CIO that the worm had torpedoed Continentals business plan.

At a dinner that evening, the Kitty overheard Flessner acknowledge what had been common knowledge for some time, that "it was completely our fault. The patch we issued to fix the SQL flaw before the attack had no installer. All patches now come with an installer." Flessners Monday from hell continued during the dinner, when he met an enterprise customer who claimed that Microsoft just lost a potential deal with his company—that had been hashed over for eight months—because of pricing issues. "Me-ouch."

Spencers flight took him to the Big Apple, where the next day, he planned to attend Salesforce.coms Sforce launch party at the swank Grand Havana Room. Mike Doyle, CEO of rival CRM service Salesnet, evidently had the same plan, but shortly after arriving, he was ejected, Sosa-like, by CEO Marc Benioff and a phalanx of security guards.

Benioff confirmed that Doyle had been accidentally invited because he was on Benioffs personal e-mail list. El Gato thought things got a little hot in the smoky club when Benioff gave Doyle a nudge in the back on his way out and Doyle reacted in kind. Keith Raffel, the CEO of fellow CRM service provider UpShot, told the Kitty he wouldnt have gone had he been invited. "However, if I had known there was going to be a boxing match, maybe I would have," Raffel said.

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Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt, the Whiskered Wonder, has been the mascot and tipster extraordinaire for eWEEK and its predecessor print publication PC Week since 1984. The Gadabout Gatto makes the rounds of...