n a rare move, I'm going to post this on all 3 my blogs. If you see it 3 times, well then you're special.
Last week I headed out to Redmond for my first MVP summit. There were a lot of pros and maybe a con or two.
To start with, my MVP lead, Tom Archer was fantastic. Despite the hard time I gave him, I have nothing but good things to say about him. He was a huge help despite the broad number of MVP's he supports, so thanks Tom for everything.
Secondly, Joe Healy, one of our Florida Microsoft Developer Evangelists is an absolute machine when it comes to introducing, connecting, convincing and "volunteering" people. Joe's the guy twisting arms at Microsoft to get their support for things like SQL Saturday and the upcoming tweener session. Joe truly is the man and he was kind enough to spend some time with a GP MVP. I got glimpse of some of the special things that are happening in Florida that are not going on in other parts of the county...yet.
The sessions were really good, especially the interactions with the project teams. I suffered a little because there was no one from the GP project team there. I did get a little time with the Performance Point folks and that was a big plus. The teams really seemed to be listening and a number of folks commented that they seemed to be listening more this year than in past years.
The schedule was brutal and the rooms were spread out across the MS campus. If you stayed within your discipline, you didn't move around too much but if you crossed products like me, you could find that you didn't have nearly enough time to move between buildings.
The first day of "open sessions" was interesting. Essentially, we had rooms designed for discussions around a cross discipline topic like social networking, book writing or interacting with your local MS office. The interactions in some of the rooms were phenomenal. MVP's are not generally a shy group. A few sessions were flat because not only are MVP's not shy, some of them are incredibly stubborn. Fortunately, if you didn't like your session, you moved to another one!
As we moved into product sessions, things got a little lonelier for the lone GP guy. By nature, the MVP groups are little cliques. Most folks know each other, even if only from online interactions. All the Access MVP's know each other, same for Sharepoint, etc. All of the groups were very nice but I was definitely an outsider.
The distance between locations also made it hard to hook up with folks from other disciplines if they missed the parties. I never did connect with Warner Crocker and Rob Bushway. I'm sure Warner thinks I was stalking him. (I was, but in a good way.) Rob and Warner spent a bunch of time with the product groups and we'll all appreciate that down the road. (By the way, did Hugo Ortega get sucked into a big, black hole somewhere?)
To wrap up, the summit was fantastic. It could have been better with a few more GP MVP's there but it will happen at some point. Actually, I'd be pretty happy if fewer people asked "What the heck is Dynamics anyway?" When MVP's ask that question, we're still not getting the message across.