Over the years, people have flocked to Las Vegas to see the likes of Sinatra, Elvis, Dean Martin and Tom Jones. I, on the other hand, went to see Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.
It was a couple of years ago at Comdex, the large IT exhibition that draws thousands of people to rub shoulders with the IT glitterati.
As I left the opulent building after Ballmer had finished, I remember thinking that the speech I'd witnessed must have been one of the best performances the theatre had seen since Frank, Sammy and Deano left town.
In those days, Ballmer's lectures were like a head coach's pep-rallies for an American football team. His motivational speeches were full of rhetoric about crushing opponents and doing everything necessary to get Microsoft's products into the end-zone.
Anyone that has seen Ballmer in action will probably agree that he is not simply a talented speaker; he also has a powerful, almost hypnotic effect on his audience. After he finishes I often expect the crowd to collectively jump up and rush out to sell Microsoft products.
These days, Ballmer is a different proposition altogether, although the passion and enthusiasm are still there. At the XP launch in London last year he revealed a secret weapon in Microsoft's product testing: his sons, 'the Ballmer brothers'.
Apparently some of their favourite games didn't work on Windows 2000 but now work on XP, winning the thumbs up. And last week in the UK, Ballmer spoke about difficulties in synchronising his home and work calendar, a problem that was causing distress to his wife.
With its heightened emphasis on collaboration - working with partners, and even with the competition - Ballmer's new stance reflects the cultural revolution that has occurred at Microsoft over the past few years.
And that will stand the company in good stead to realise its .Net vision.
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