All Good Things Must Come To An End
Well, I hope that isn’t the case. Today is my last work day in Kenya and my flight leaves tomorrow, Saturday, night around 10:30p. I have made a few great relationships that I hope will last forever… and, I would absolutely love to visit Kenya again. More on that later.
For Friday, I have a few things that I need to do and the coordination needs to be 100% in sync; or, I will probably let someone down as I won’t be at the right place at the right time.
8:00a – Joram and my ride show up at my hotel to take me to USIU (United States International University). The Microsoft team has had in place for several weeks a day long event titled “Microsoft connection and Dev Camp Event.”
It was a day long event with special focus on devices, development, and our the introduction of our DreamSpark program – where students can use their software access cards for FREE genuine Software for Development. More info on DreamSpark can be found here.
At first, the event was slow to start as the students trickled in… but, I would guess we had 50 or more in attendance between students and faculty.
I presented first as I needed to leave shortly after to make it back to the Microsoft Kenya office for an internal conference call. At USIU, it was a great opportunity to showcase the diversity of Windows-based tablet devices and phones and discussing how the single device could be both a Tablet and PC/Laptop replacement. Overall, the attendees were excited to see the new form factors that are being made available… and a few already had Windows Phones (Windows Phones in Kenya has about 11.4% adoption).
Off I go…
Mariam arranged for a taxi at 11a to rush me to the Microsoft Office. I was the key speaker for their monthly call and I had huge shoes to fill. My introduction for the team that was sent a few days ago listed “Become the Ultimate Device Seller – we are delighted to announce that the session will be delivered by an award-winning guest speaker, Stephen Legler.” I had to see if I knew this guy so I looked over my shoulder. What an introduction… and an honor.
The call has Microsoft attendees from the West, East and Central African markets. There are normally 100+ attendees that join this call. Today, we had about 60-65… I trust that the attendance was a little light because it is the last month of our fiscal year… and not the speaker, me.
I think the call went well and I truly enjoyed meeting (at least virtually) the many Microsoft employees that support Africa. The world is BIG and SMALL… we all have many of the same challenges and opportunities that we can rally around.
After the call, I had a quick meeting with Kunle, the Country Manager for Kenya. We spent several minutes going over the last two weeks and I hope I was worth his team’s time and resources. I know it was an experience I will never forget.
I then caught a taxi back to the hotel arriving around 4p… thinking that’s it. That is the last time I will see my Kenya colleagues… maybe forever or maybe for several months or years.
At the hotel, I began to tidy up a few things so packing tomorrow wouldn’t be such a big exercise. Around 7p, I went downstairs and had my final meal at the Fairmont Hotel – a nice Ribeye Steak and Garlic Mash Potatoes. Near the end of the meal I noticed I missed 4 calls on my cell phone because the volume was turned off… it was Andrew (my “handler”).
I went back to my room and was ready to settle down for the evening but called Andrew to see if he needed anything urgently. He let me know that majority of the Microsoft Kenya office was having dinner at the Fairview hotel and I was invited to join them.
Not only was it a good time hanging with the team in a more casual setting, I was able to get a picture with all of the wonderful people I worked with throughout the week (missing from this photo are Andrew, Winnie, Mary, James, Robert at the very least).
It is now around 10:30p and I need to get up at 4a to squeeze in ONE MORE tourist activity – Sweeetwaters. You might think that I’m a wise person and would head back to the hotel… but, I didn’t. Three of the Microsofties wanted to go to a local bar/pub (or whatever you guys call it) and I was invited to go. WHY NOT I say.
I ended up leaving the late night get-together around 12:30a… arrived at my hotel around 1a (with my kidneys intact – inside joke w/ my Kenyan colleagues) and finally dozed off to sleep at 2a. My morning call at 4a is something I’m not looking forward to… I guess I’ll sleep on the plane or back at home.