Saturday, November 15, 2014

Consultant Toolkit: How to make friends at a tech conference (USB Battery Chargers)

By Steve Endow

Once a year, Fargo, North Dakota becomes the epicenter of the technology world as the smartest (and best looking) people on the planet all converge at the most scenic and bucolic city in America for a Dynamics GP partner conference.  This year, it was for the reIMAGINE 2014 conference.

When I have flown from Los Angeles to Fargo the last 3 years, I've had a stop in Minneapolis St. Paul--an airport that must have been going for a world record in walking distance between terminals.  Since many of the Fargo flights are routed through the MSP airport, it's become a spot for me to meet up with colleagues on the way to Fargo.  Last year, my blog buddy Christina Phillips and I coordinated our Fargo flights, so we were able to grab lunch and catch up at MSP and then take the same plane into Fargo.

This year, while I was waiting at the gate, my friend Tanya from S2 Technology just happened to walk by.  Sure enough, we were on the same flight to Fargo.  As soon as she sat down, she had to find an outlet and start the famous airport charging routine.  Yup, she was a wall hugger.  She had to charge her laptop, and then she had to plug her phone into her laptop to charge that too.

I admit I've been there before.  But earlier this year I was introduced to a nifty gadget:  the USB battery charger.

It's very simple and somewhat obvious, but brilliant.  Just a battery that you can charge via USB, and then use to charge your phone or tablet or other devices that charge via USB port.

They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes depending on what you need to charge and how much capacity you need or want to carry around.

A friend gave me a small version like the one pictured above, and after seeing how handy it was, I bought a slightly larger version made by Jackery.

I dug out my Jackery charger and gave it to Tanya to test.  During our wait for the flight, it did a pretty good job of charging up her phone and had plenty of capacity left.  I think she was sold on the idea.

During our mind-blowingly awesome Pushing the Boundaries of .NET Development presentation, Andrew Dean and I gave them away as prizes to the attendees of our session--who I'm told were the smartest people at the conference.

And throughout the conference, I was able to charge my phone and tablet without having to ever look for a wall socket.

And on the last night of the conference, Andrew's USB phone charger stopped working, leaving him with a dead cell phone.  I gave him my USB charger and his phone got fully charged overnight--a tech rescue.

So if you want to stop being a wall hugger, check out USB battery chargers.  They are inexpensive and can help you make friends at tech conferences.

Steve Endow is a Microsoft MVP for Dynamics GP and a Dynamics GP Certified IT Professional in Los Angeles.  He is the owner of Precipio Services, which provides Dynamics GP integrations, customizations, and automation solutions.

You can also find him on Google+ and Twitter

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