10 Scenes From Lenovo's Wild Accelerate Partner Conference

The Meeting And The Message

Lenovo's Accelerate partner conference rolled into Orlando, Fla., this week bigger than it's ever been. This year's show attracted 1,280 partners, a record, and Lenovo had so many sponsors interested in the show that it had to turn some of them away.

Despite the party atmosphere and enthusiasm among Lenovo executives and partners, the main message of the show was deadly serious: The turmoil of recent years is over. The company's North America leadership team has finally reached stability. It is keenly focused on growth in PCs, the data center and mobility and it has arranged its channel program to drive rapid, substantial growth across those businesses.

North America President Emilio Ghilardi provided a good demonstration of the juxtaposition of serious messaging and fun-loving shenanigans when he implored partners to "stay with us" to spur growth and minutes later led the crowd through a few rounds of the wave.

Here are 10 scenes from the event.

Ghilardi Makes The Case

Lenovo North America President Emilio Ghilardi tells partners that the company now has the product strategy, channel program and executive team it needs to drive growth, noting that the company does nearly 90 percent of its business through the channel and that its growth through partners far outpaced its overall growth number last year. Ghilardi became North America president just about two years ago, not long after the company acquired IBM's x86 server business and the Moto Mobility business from Google.

Famous Faces And Flying Laptops

It's become almost a given that PC manufacturers will beat up, submerge and otherwise abuse laptops during their shows and conferences, and Lenovo is no different. Here, NBC personality Katie Linendoll recovers a Lenovo Yoga laptop after it was dropped by the person who brought it to the stage. Lenovo also showed video of laptops being burned, drenched and sandblasted.

Catching The Eye

Don't sleep on the good-old desktop monitor. The PC is still the dominant work machine, and Lenovo has released this monitor, the ThinkVision P27, a 27-inch 4K display with a 16:9 anti-glare screen, and IPS LED backlit panel, DP and HDMI inputs and other features. Lenovo is the No. 1 PC manufacturer in the world, commanding nearly 20 percent market share.

Oz Pearlman Blows Minds

"Mentalist" Oz Pearlman took the stage and jaws began dropping almost immediately as he figured out audience members' cell phone security codes and determined which famous people audience members were thinking of, seemingly out of thin air. He also played the long game. In this picture, he explains that a piece of paper inside a balloon has something written on it. It later was revealed to answer seemingly random questions about audience members. A dollar bill an audience member sat on for most of the performance was later shown to have a serial number that matched the answer to a math problem generated at random by other audience members.

They See Me Rollin'

Lenovo rolled its TechWheels trailer into a reception for partners Monday evening. The vehicle travels around the U.S. showing off Lenovo laptops, tablets and Motorola smartphones and it's always a draw at Accelerate. Here, people check out X1 Carbon and Yoga products.

The Mobile Message

Lenovo spent $2.9 billion buying Motorola Mobility from Google in late 2014, and the integration of that business hasn't gone particularly smoothly. "We made the acquisition about two years ago and as yet we have not been able to use that for the reason we bought them," Ghilardi told partners. "We bought them because we want them to become the next generation of profitable growth for this company, but in the last two years, Oh, my God. How many things we have learned. How many things we have changed. We believe we are now ready to make them what we want them to be: the engine of growth of Lenovo."

Serving The Masses

Lenovo's server business is based heavily on its $2.3 billion acquisition of IBM's x86 business, also in late 2014. Executives admit that they were mistaken to think they could simply sell data center gear using their existing PC strategies. Server sales have suffered for it and Lenovo lags Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell. Now, however, Lenovo has reorganized its channel program for data center hardware and says the fact that it doesn't have to deal with a large portfolio of legacy gear means it can move faster, meet customer demands more thoroughly and partner freely with software firms like Nutanix and Pivot3 to bring hyper-converged solutions to market without fear they'll cannibalize existing legacy product lines.

In The Heat Of The Night

Channel partners in balmy Orlando for Lenovo's Accelerate conference were treated to an outdoor reception and party that went on late into the night. Here, partners enjoy the night air and the dance music just outside the TechWheels trailer parked outside the Swan & Dolphin resort where the conference was held.

A Marvelous Give-Away

Wolverine was on hand, but rather than X-Men, he was flogging the Lenovo X-1 Yoga laptop. Partners at the show could have their picture taken with Wolverine and other superheroes to have a chance to win an X-1 Yoga. Lenovo said it would give away three of them during the show. Here, Wolverine flexes to show off the X-1 logo on his bicep.

Sammy Kinlaw: A Performer At Heart

Lenovo North America Channel Chief Sammy Kinlaw must be a performer at heart, and it's become a tradition for him to star in a slick video that puts him in the starring role of popular movies and TV shows with their content changed to make them about Lenovo and its channel. This year was no different, and he took on roles as James Bond, as well as roles in "Game of Thrones" and in this picture, Carpool Karaoke with "Lady Gaga."