I attended my first ever MVP Summit as a Microsoft MVP in Azure. Even though I got my MVP award back in 2016, I could not attend the summit in 2016 because of scheduling conflicts, there was no summit in 2017 and, so, I vowed to go to this one, regardless of circumstances.
To say this was an experience of a lifetime was understating it. The MVP Summit is a week-long event – if you count the “pre” and “post” conference events. Most of the talks are conducted by the product teams themselves and they afford deep insights to their products, answer tough questions on any issues and give a look ahead into upcoming features. But the best experiences, came from random unplanned meetings in the summit hallways.
There were way too many of these types of meetings for me to do justice to in a blogpost but here are some I captured on Twitter:
Random last minute lunch on the first day with Dave (MVP from Canada), Jared (MVP from Conn), Swetha (MVP from DC), Melissa (MVP from DC) and Vishal (MVP from FL)
Bumped into THE Scott Hanselman in the summit hallway the first day.
In line for morning tea/coffee with Mahesh (RD from Philly), Greg (MVP from FL) and Mihail (MVP from Bulgaria)
Random hang out Monday night with Oscar (MVP from FL), Matías (former MVP and current MS employee from Argentina) and Nicolás and Guillermo (MVPs from Argentina). This was at a party help by a 3rd party vendor Infragistics. I may have also been at 2 other vendor parties and 1 other private party that night.
Microsoft knows how to throw a party – with arcade games, silent disco, food, drinks, dessert, patined swag – this was the place to be Wednesday night. If you’ve never witnessed people dancing to music you cannot hear, do yourself a favor and visit the next event featuring a silent disco.
Thursday and Friday were full of Azure goodness (again) with many deep dives and meetings with product groups. I also ran into a classmate from college, Ling (pictured below), who now works for Azure Functions and here we’re doing the (in)famous FSU chop.
Some important takeaways:
- Every Microsoft MVP should make a point to attend the MVP summit every year, or, at least once every other year.
- The amount of info on current and upcoming products of your area of interest is breath taking. And it’s all NDA unless explicitly said otherwise. Microsoft is serious about enforcing the NDA, and MVPs are advised to do the same or face consequences.
- MVP summit is as much about out-of-class interaction as in-class. Some of the relationships you make in the hallways can change your life.
- Attending the MVP Summit can be both heady (inner voice saying “Yay, I made it”) and humbling (inner voice saying “All the MVPs and Microsoft employees are far more smarter and talented than me”). You certainly need those two extremes to balance each other
- Take some time to visit Seattle, the Microsoft campus and surrounding areas instead of being stuck in the summit your entire trip.
- Above all, enjoy and learn – as a recipient of the Microsoft MVP award, you earned this.