Bryan Roper stole the show at the #Build2016 keynote conference this morning. The Twitter-verse was all about his choice of clothes and his impressive presentation skills. Who is this man who stole the spotlight during the Microsoft Build keynote?
Here’s what you need to know.
1. He Was a Blues Pianist Who Played on Cruise Ships
Roper didn’t start out in the tech world. In fact, he developed his stage presence from being a pianist in blues clubs and on cruise ships, according to Microsoft. He started out working in freelance web design, but also taught himself piano and guitar. At 20, he played at The Green Iguana, where he was invited to come play every week at the Blue Shark. This jumpstarted his pianist career and eventually he was asked to join a cruise ship rock ‘n’ roll band, The Dirt Poets.
Roper played six nights a week on cruise ships and studied how the lead singer worked the crowd.
“I had to realize that this had nothing to do with my personal gratification as an artist and everything to do with giving people a memorable time,” he said.
2. Roper Eventually Started Teaching Computer Classes on Cruise Ships
Roper took a job playing for Holland America so he could earn officer status in six months and his wife and son could sail with him for free. But then he learned about the Holland America Digital Workshop Program, which offered similar benefits for teaching computer classes on cruise ships. He went that route instead. He found that he loved connecting with people and empowering them by teaching technology. Lisa Sikora with Microsoft discovered Roper through one of his classes and was impressed by his abilities. She brought him onto Microsoft as a lead trainer and the rest is history.
3. He’s the Executive Demo Lead at Microsoft and Just Started a Blog This Year
According to Roper’s LinkedIn, he’s the Executive Demo Lead at Microsoft. He describes himself as a “Storyteller. Marketer. Project Manager.” His job involves writing demos for new versions of Windows and delivering “face-melting, high energy product demos.”
In January, he started a blog here. The blog currently only has one entry, but it’s a good one. He talks about remembering MLK and what his legacy did for Roper. He talked about losing a close friend, Gary Brown, who altered the course of his life completely. But, he said, if it weren’t for MLK’s work, he never would have met Brown.
Roper’s so popular, a T-shirt was even made in his honor:
4. His Presentation Stole the Show at Build 2016
Roper’s presentation stole the show at Build 2016. Twitter was full of people loving his clothing choice, from his trademark fedora to even the cuffs on his shirt and his shoes. One person on Twitter wrote: “These Microsoft product demos are worth watching, if only for the hats worn by Bryan Roper.”
Roper also won’t let a tech presentation be stuffy and boring. He was called a “rock star” on stage, as he got people to applause just for writing with pen on paper and for writing diagonal lines. Here are just a few comments about his presentation:
5. His Sense of Humor and Trademark Fedora Are Big Hits With His Audience
Roper is known for his trademark fedora and his on-point sense of humor. The author of his Microsoft bio said that he didn’t look like at tech employee, but more like a “detective for the Miami Police department in his straw fedora…”
His Twitter account is also full of fun jokes and lighthearted posts, like these: