James Whittaker on the art of making truly killer presentations

Editor’s note: The following is a post from Jennifer Warnick, a writer for microsoft.com/stories.


It’s a Friday afternoon, and James Whittaker is sitting at Hi-Fi Brewing in Redmond. Laptop open, pint to the side, he’s working on his latest brainchild, a manuscript called “The Art of Stage Presence.”

After spending his career leading various deeply technical charges, Whittaker has spent the last year tucking his metaphorical soap box into countless overhead compartments as he travels the globe speaking about Microsoft. Stage presence, he said, is his super power.

“I’m convincing the world that Microsoft is a force to be reckoned with, that we do interesting work, that we’re thinking about the future, that we have great ideas,” Whittaker said. “I’ve spoken at all of the major developer conferences on every continent. Except Antarctica.”

Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” begins playing overhead. “And I will totally teach penguins to code if you give me an opportunity,” he continues in his Kentuckian drawl. “Anyone who has ever sat through a technology conference can confirm that brilliance is not always bestowed in equal measures with stage presence and public speaking skills,” Whittaker said. “See, there are four parts to every talk …”

Read the full profile at microsoft.com/stories.