Tracy’s Blog

Take your work seriously…but never yourself.

Bootcamp Character

Chester FlakeEvery once in a while I stumble onto a personality so bizarrely charismatic and fascinating, it’s difficult to avoid being captivated by their presence; much the same way one cannot look away from the gory road-remnants of what used to be a human being while driving by a horrific traffic accident. I encountered one such personality in an unlikely location: while attending a Microsoft Professional Developer Certification two week boot-camp course in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this year (a separate topic that deserves a blog thread all its own, but we’ll reserve that for another time).

The man they call ‘Chester Flake’ was not only my Microsoft boot-camp instructor, an accomplished developer, Database Administrator, and overall .NET expert-turned-trainer, but has also dabbled seriously in policitics, stand-up comedy, acting, real estate, owned a slew of businesses, and all with more than enough personality to fill up a large building.

Sure, we wasted some classroom time listening to his fantastic (and remarkably true) tales, but honestly I was grateful because without his daily bizarre antics, I stood little chance of remaining conscious during class since, true to its ‘Boot-camp’ title, the course came complete with severe sleep deprivation and hideous study schedules. In addition, the man they call Chester Flake was a fountain of .NET knowledge and there was little I could quiz him about that he hadn’t already encountered in his own development experiences and could answer to. As such, he was able to side-step many of the tedious, fundamental elements of the curriculum and present more advanced, highly tangible and applicable lessons for those of us who were already developers, making very efficient use of the classroom time we had and reserving the fundamentals for individual learning.

All-in-all, if you’re ever faced with the choice of a mundane hoo-hum instructor to lead a course you’re attending or a slightly insane, completely maniacal one; I suggest the nut for 2 reasons. First, you will find it much easier to stay awake during class and second, chances are he or she is very good at what they do since otherwise they would’ve been terminated long ago for offending the office staff with their off-color and eccentric sense of humor.


December 12, 2007 - Posted by | MISC


  1. You are so right! The FRM (Flake Retention Method) really works! He was very funny and extremely knowledgable. This was my first boot camp type experience and I cannot imagine how other instructors get their students through the volume of information and homework otherwise. All hail the Flake!

    Comment by Mike | April 9, 2008 | Reply

  2. What a great profile. I had the same instructor, and I also thought he brought a certain value added to the intensty of the boot camp experince. Great blog post.

    Comment by Jon Jones | May 18, 2009 | Reply

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