What would you do if you were an exec at a major tech company doing a demo on the web, and your company's browser kept crashing? If you're Microsoft director Michael Leworthy, you remain calm--and download Google Chrome instead.

That's what happened during a recent demo of how to migrate data to Azure, Microsoft's cloud offering, and Leworthy's reaction is a lesson in maintaining grace under pressure, even when things go very wrong in front of a very large audience.

About 37 minutes into a 73-minute presentation, Leworthy attempted to demonstrate how to do a data migration to Azure using Microsoft's Edge browser. "You've discovered a bunch of virtual machines, and we can go look at these machines and what they are," he said, but as he tried to type the words into the Edge browser window, it simply froze. A lot of presenters might have lost their cool at that point, but Leworthy merely appended "maybe" to the end of his previous sentence. "I always love it when demos break," he added.

When it continued not working, he apparently remembered that the security settings might not allow him to perform the operation. He said, "I know. I know. I forgot." Then without missing a beat, he continued: "So, while we're talking here, I'm going to go install Chrome." That drew a few chuckles from the audience, and Leworthy giggled as well, especially as Chrome's "Browse Faster" slogan appeared on the screen.

Let's not improve Google

"We're going to not help make Google Chrome better," he added, unchecking the box on installation that would have sent usage statistics back to Google and getting even more laughter.

"The Edge on these machines is locked down a little bit, and there are some things that just don't work," he explained. Then he calmly chatted to the audience about their evening plans as the software finished downloading and installed. Moments later, he was back on the Azure site and getting on with the demo.

Leworthy's reaction was a great example of how to stay calm and simply deal with a problem if things go wrong while you're onstage--the fact that he treated the whole thing like no big deal meant that the audience could quickly forget it and go back to focusing on how to use Azure.

Microsoft, apparently unperturbed by the incident, posted the entire presentation to YouTube, Chrome installation and all, where members of the tech press picked up on the glitch and started passing it around. By the way, YouTube is also a Google product.

Here it is, so you can hear for yourself how Leworthy handled a potentially embarrassing moment:

Published on: Oct 31, 2017