Mix08 – Mixing it up with a Scavenger Hunt

The Flight

Today I arrived in Las Vegas for the Mix 08 conference. After our airplane had taxied out to the tarmac for takeoff, the pilot informed us that since we were going to Las Vegas, our lucky number for the week would be 34. That was the number of planes in front of us on the tarmac waiting to take off. So we got to wait for an hour while all the traffic ahead of us took off. Ready, set, wait.

The Hotel

Got to the airport and to the Venetian Hotel just fine. Checked in, and the room was just as nice as last year, but they have upgraded it a bit. Everything looked shiny and new, and the CRT televisions were replaced with LCD TVs – three of them. One in the Sitting Room, one in the bedroom, and one in the bathroom (because you have to have a TV in the bathroom). Tested the wireless in the room, and it looked like everything is all set for a great Mix 08.

The Scavenger Hunt

I went to get a bite to eat, and bumped into Rob. After eating, we registered, and went to freshen up for the “Bring Silver to Light” event we signed up for. All we knew is that it was a scavenger hunt, and were looking forward to some fun.

We walked over to the Treasure Island Hotel, and found the Ballroom where the event was. We met the rest of the Blanchefleur team – Kerri Sweeney and Kirti Chandratreya from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Boston, and Michael Iantosca who owns his own consulting group eDefine, and works with them onsite. We poured over the rules, and the items we had to find in the hunt. There were lots of places to go – The Venetian, The Mirage, The Palazzo, Treasure Island, and the Fashion Show Mall. We had 14 photos to take, and 3 bonus items to find. We had to incorporate a sign with the word Silver on it, a Silverlight sticker, and a beam of light from the included flashlight. The folks from Boston had some great ideas, we had some great ideas, and really gelled together nicely. We had a few open questions, like finding a Silverlight Luminary, where can we find Elvis, and whether we would make it all the way to the Fashion Show Mall, but those would play themselves out. We took the list, and headed out onto the Vegas Strip.

Some of the benefits of the gelled team came out quickly – we had a great idea to get a picture of Elvis – Madame Tussaud’s! The manager there let us in with a discounted rate, since we were on the scavenger hunt for the conference (gratuitous pitch to Visit Madame Tussaud’s at the Venetian Hotel).

The most interesting thing that happened to us was while we were walking around the Venetian, I spotted Scott Hanselman coming down the escalator. I immediately yelled out, “Hey! There’s Scott Hanselman! He can be our Silverlight Luminary” He turned around and walked over. We plowed through the awkward moment and told him the whole story of our scavenger hunt. We had to convince him that this was for real. He kept saying, “All I want to do is register for the conference.” He let us take his photo with the Silver sign, and we helped him find the registration booth. Thank you, Scott, for your graciousness.

We took the photos back to the Treasure Island Ballroom, struggled with the Silverlight app that wouldn’t play nice, and had a few beers. We laughed about our experiences, about the other teams that took themselves too seriously, and wondered if we would win the big prize. Either way, we made some friends, saw Las Vegas, got some fresh air, and had a great time.

The Update

The Prizes awarded for winning the Bring Silver to Light Scavenger Hunt included free Microsoft software and a 8GB Zune. Unfortunately, the Blanchefleur team did not win the grand prize. We also did not win the second place prize. And, we were not one of three teams to tie for third place either. We didn’t get anything. But we all had a lot of fun.

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