The award for worst key note (that I listened to) at Interop Las Vegas 2007 goes to…

Nortel CEO, Mike Zafirovski. Competition was pretty diverse – Lou and John are both seasoned and polished pitchmen having served much of their career as top salesmen for their respective employers. Lou spent his several minutes of his opening comments talking about the most important people at Interop – us, the attendees! – and then reinforced that point throughout his talk. 

Mike, obviously lacks this polish.

To win this flame actually took:

  • Little preparation – the mish-mashed graphics showed this was actually a PowerPoint Mashup with little thematic consistency or flow forethought
  • Discussion of the Olympics video clip without showing it – why bother mentioning it then?
  • Customer videos shown back to back so the potential impact of a customer reinforcement of a message is lost, forever
  • Zero content – Nortel announced several new products at the show, yet Mike said zip about them

As painful as his speech might have been for an investor or for an Allhands meeting, it was excruciatingly painful for enterprise customers. Sadly, Mike missed the point about making it worth the while of the audience. He told me nothing useful or why Nortel matters.

This flame is not a reflection on Mike's presentation skills. I'm sure he can be good with topics he's intimately aware of, but for this audience, his marketing team especially his speechwriter or PowerPoint team let him down BIG TIME. Shame on them. Nortel does have a story to tell, they just need to get creative help to get the story coherent for the audience. Mike, give me a call ; I can help. 

The runnerup to Mike for worst presentation was Mike Muglia of Microsoft, who I'm told gave a 90 minute product overview of Microsoft software tools (I wasn't there for this speech).  zzzzz!


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