Well, an exciting has come to an end, this week I had the pleasure to teaching 6 Spice U classes in 3 different cities and giving the first couple 201 classes now that it has been released. It has been a very exciting couple of days and I got to meet some great people. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive for all six classes. While most of the days were a whirlwind of fly in, get to the hotel, get to the training, get to the airport I was still able to get everywhere I needed to.
I would like to extend a personal thank you to everyone who came out and made the past three days a great experience.
In what ended up being a fairly uneventful travel day I have arrived in DC with all of the materials for a round of Spice U classes. I have to admit that I will be glad to give out some handouts tomorrow and lighten my luggage a bit. After getting to my hotel I decided to look at the map for the class and see how long I needed to allow to arrive, it looked like the training site was very close, so I decided to take a walk and find it. Turns out I am right around the corner and with one way streets it is a shorter trip to walk then to get a cab.
Slide decks have been run through, demo environment is prepped, now I just have to get some rest tonight and deliver a full day of training.
Last weekend marked the first class for a few of my fellow SpiceTrainers, and the feedback they have provided so far indicates classes that were successful. Feedback from these classes along with the San Fran premiere are being incorporated to keep improving future classes, and there were some excellent comments. It was great to see emails from other SpiceTrainers Monday reporting success over the weekend.
At the end of the day today I received a copy of the semi-final draft of Spice U 201, the brand new Inventory deep dive. Most of this week will be spent learning the new class as well as getting acclimated to some formatting and flow changes in the 101 class. I think I must be a little bit crazy for taking on the beta runs of two classes in just over a month along with the truncated prep time, but it is also very exciting to be able to roll out the fresh content. Nicole does a great job providing all of the needed speaker notes so I have a reference going in.
Well, the day is done and after finishing a nice barbeque dinner with the SpiceTrainers, Nicole, Nic, and his wife I have retired back to the hotel to relax before my flight out tomorrow.
On Friday several of us arrived early and toured the new Spiceworks HQ building and got to see many of our friends in orange. I finally got a chance to meet both David Scammell and Jim Kubicek in person and shared a ride with them. We were formally introduced at the weekly Spiceworks employee meeting and got a chance to see a bit of what goes on behind the scenes at Spiceworks. My NDA prevents me from spilling secrets, but what I can ssay is that I am consistently impressed by the skills, professionalism, enthusiasm, and raw talent of Spiceworks employees. An incredible amount of work goes on behind the scenes to deliver the product that we use and keep it free. It is very obvious that Spiceworks is lead from the top down when you get to watch the founders and senior managers interacting and being engaged with a variety of initiatives within the company.
Today we arrived at Spiceworks HQ around 8:30 to begin our training. Nicole had provided well organized packets and planned out an agenda for the day, but had also allowed plenty of time for some special guest visits, including Jen, Nic, Tabrez, Jay, Cole, and SpiceRex himself. Our day began with breakfast and a welcome from ChiefSpice himself Scott Abel talking about the program and sharing his enthusiasm for the new Spice U program and his dreams of growing it to encompass thousands of users every year who can attend classes. Scott is someone I consider a visionary leader, and I admire him more every time I speak with him. He is fearless and willing to take risks to succeed, but he stands behind his team and allows them the freedom to innovate and a safety net if things go wrong. The rest of the morning was filled with logistics and Q & A, most of whic was hashing out details of things we had been discussing for a while electronically. After a relaxing lunch we covered some speaking tips for instructors and did a review of the slide deck for 101. The day was filled with a lot of laughter, great information, and a wonderful sense of comraderie.
In a few weeks Nicole will be opening the doors for new applicants to become SpiceTrainers, and I would encourage applying. Being a SpiceTrainer will be a lot of work, expect to invest 20-40 hours in fully learning the material for a class, a full day in training plus travel, and probably another 5-10 hours in sorting out logistics. The investment is worth it however since Spiceworks has created a very rewarding program with a lot of support for trainers and a generous compensation package. Watch the community for details on how to join the program.
The first class in San Fransisco was incredible, Nicole and I had an early lunch and got to the venue a little before Noon to check things out. The space was good with a lobby area, seating for 24, and a projector and teachers station with plenty of space for my laptop and notes. For the first class every attendee got a Spice U T-Shirt and a set of SpiceNotes, so we placed notes on everyones desk and set up a space to hand out T-Shirts.
People began arriving about a half hour early and when 1:00 rolled around the room was filled. This first group was very engaged with more than half asking questions, mostly drill down on the topics presented. Speaking about Spiceworks was very easy, and I depended on notes less than I had expected to.
What I did find is that the pacing on the deck was a bit off with the way questions are asked, elaboration on topics presented in the overview were ended up bringing some topics from the second half to the first half. I the end I was able to keep things on pace finishing on time, but the first half ended up over two and a half hours.
Overall a great group and based on the feedback both on surveys and in person a successful first class.
This post finds me sitting in the San Francisco International Airport just outside Gate 66 where in a little over half an hour Nicole and Ashley will be arriving. My laptop is loaded with the demo and presentation, my notes and printed and I did another full review on the plane from Pasco.
I don’t feel ready for the first class, but I have never felt ready for a presentation in my life and they have usually gone well. Last night I did a more thorough dry run with the slide deck in my hotel room and I am fairly comfortable with the demo and deck, with how well put together everything is the job will be easy.
Later on tonight I will post how the class went, but for now I am excited to begin and looking forward to meeting Nicole and seeing Ashley again.
The San Francisco class is now at capacity, so the first class will be a full house. I’m also working on the logistics for a three city tour at the end of April. So far Columbus is booked in terms of venue, so a registration page will be going up soon. Working on getting the logistics for D.C. and Minneapolis pulled together.
I made a good connection with New Horizons in Columbus, Jay, the gentleman I spoke to was extremely helpful and made the booking experience about as simple as I could imagine.