We started out the day doing RunAs interviews - we've been so busy doing other sorts of interviews that we hadn't taken care of our own stuff well enough. The good news is that there's lots of amazing people at IT Forum and getting a great interview is pretty easy.
The big event today was a double dose of Speaker Idol - Wave Four *and* the Finals.
Wave Four was a really strong group of competitors, Jakob Heidelburg won in a very tight competition.
We had a chance to grab a quick bit before racing back to the Community Lounge for the Speaker Idol finals. Then our mystery judge was revealed - none other than Mark Russinovich!
Before the competition could start, we had a special announcement. Mark Budzinski, the winner of Wave Three took the stage and very graciously explained that as much as he enjoyed Speaker Idol, he did not plan to be a speaker at Tech Ed in the future (which is the goal of Speaker Idol after all), and so declined his slot in the finals. The audience gave him a fine round of applause.
That left us in a bit of a spot - we were missing a competitor! Ilse Van Criekinge was the runner up of Wave Three, so she filled in. And don't worry, we knew about Mark's situation the night before and we gave Ilse some warning... just wanted to wait until the finals to make the announcement.
So now we had our finals line up: Peter Mendelsohn from Germany, Maral Topalian from Lebanon, Ilse Van Criekinge from Belgium and Jakob Heidelberg from Denmark.
All four competitors were very talented, I think every one of them would make an excellent Tech Ed speaker.
It took awhile for the judges to tally up their scoring, then the results came in. The winner: Ilse Van Criekinge! Ilse won a speaker's slot at Tech Ed IT Forum in 2008. The runner up was Maral Topalian. Maral wins a delegate ticket to Tech Ed IT Forum in 2008 (although everyone suggested she submit sessions too).
I was blown away to realize that the first two women competitors in Speaker Idol came in first and second. As the competition came to a close, there were lots of interviews for the contestants.
When Greg and I finally got clear of the hub-bub around Speaker Idol, we grabbed Steve Riley, snuck off to a quiet corner and grabbed a fun interview. Steve is such an entertaining guy, I think most of the edits for the show will be lifting out the excessive laughter.
Then it was back to the Community Lounge for another passport draw. Then back to the FishBowl for more interviews.
It turned into another late night... Greg and I had dinner at the hotel and crashed early. One more day to go.