Tuesday, 17 November 2015

North America Trip - MVP Summit 2015

Microsoft signI arrived in Seattle on Saturday night. I caught a shuttle-bus to my hotel in Bellevue, and not surprising that my fellow bus-travellers were also MVPs. One of those turned out to be Glenn Henriksen who was the first of many MVPs to make me feel welcome and included in my first Summit. (More about Glenn later!)
View of Seattle Space Needle tower from baseSunday morning I took the opportunity to travel by bus back to downtown Seattle and see some of the sights. It was still a bit cloudy with some rain about, but I gather that’s pretty normal for Seattle. I went up the Space Needle, though the view was limited to to lots of low cloud and a bit of rain.
Microsoft Store at BellevueGetting back to Bellevue later in the afternoon, I registered for the Summit and bumped into a few familiar faces before attending the “1st Time MVP Event” (which was food & drinks with a mix of fellow first-time MVPs along with a bunch of ‘old hands’), followed by an Australia/New Zealand MVP Dinner, where again I was made to feel welcome by even more familiar faces.
In fact the best compliment I received was along the lines of, “Dave, we thought you already were an MVP!”
Monday morning things started in earnest with well-organised buses providing transport from our hotels to Microsoft’s Redmond campus. And ‘campus’ is a good term as it is in many ways like a University campus. Microsoft almost takes up the whole of the suburb of Redmond. I only got to see a tiny part of it, but I was very impressed with what I saw. A beautiful location with impressive buildings, landscaping, gardens and playing fields.
Microsoft Conference Centre at RedmondMost of my time was spent in the Microsoft Conference Centre (yes, they have their own conference centre on campus!). It’s big enough that I reckon they could fit in the entire Australian TechEd/Ignite conference.
You aren’t meant to take photos inside, but I can show a few outside shots I took on an early morning walk around part of the campus.
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Because more and more of Microsoft’s ASP.NET development (and .NET in general) is now being done as open-source on Github, many of the sessions I took part in were not under NDA. Look out for recordings of these on MSDN’s Channel 9 soon.
Not surprisingly, the Summit is a bit of a “who’s who” of Microsoft technologies – there were a lot of names I recognised from blogs that I follow, or who I’ve heard on various podcasts over the years. The nice thing is that all the “big names” that I encountered turn out to be just nice friendly regular people who are more than happy to chat and welcome a “New MVP”. I also made a point of inviting everyone to come and visit Australia (and this was made more enticing by reminding them that NDC Sydney is on next year).
Dan Wahlin and Glenn Henriksen holding popcornWednesday night I caught a late session of the movie “The Martian” with a few fellow MVPs, including Glenn. As you can see, Glenn and Dan realised that it was more efficient to get the free popcorn refills before we went into the theatre. Smart thinking!
One of the benefits of attending the summit is direct contact with product teams. Both giving feedback but also being able to pick their brains. Thursday was ‘hackathon day’. I know I was really encouraged from meeting the Glimpse developers Anthony and Nik and getting some feedback on an open source Glimpse plugin I’m working on.
And at the end of Thursday afternoon, that was the end of the summit. A final bus ride back to the hotel at Bellevue for my last night in Seattle.

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