I have long respected Colin Powell. And even if you disagree with his political and personal persona, he is still living history. When I heard he was to keynote at Convergence this year, I was very excited. For a political junkie like me, this was perfect!
He is a great speaker. He has great stories. He is human. He is funny. He knows his place, and his wife will put him back there if he forgets (love that).
I know several people responsible for some of the behind the scenes aspects of the big Microsoft conferences, Convergence included. So when I heard that General Powell (or is it Secretary?) was on the lineup, I started asking people to get me a meet and greet. And I asked. And I asked. And I got crickets. Could I hang out back stage and stalk him, shake his hand? Crickets. I did manage to swing a great seat for his talk, but that was about all I could hope for, or so I thought.
I wound up on the big stage with this:
So how did I get from denied access and a seat in the second row to hugging the General? They opened the floor for questions. My question was: (insert genuine compliments here), can I shake your hand? He grinned and invited me on stage. MS executive Doug Kennedy helped me on stage (thanks Doug) and when I got there, I got the hug above and the handshake I asked for. Woohoo.
In answer to so many of you that asked, yes, I guess he is pretty tall, it looks like I am on my tiptoes here in the hug, and he’s still quite taller than me (I’m 5’7” for comparison).
And the handshake I asked for:
So thank you to Mr. General Secretary Powell for the hug and handshake, you are quite gracious.
And thanks to Murat Ozturan, Donna Edwards, David Kohar and Gus Gonzalez for the pictures you sent!