My First MVP Summit

MVP12 028

If you’re looking for insights into SharePoint vNext / Wave15 / 2013, then you’ve come to the wrong place. This post is to all of those who are wondering about the MVP Summit experience itself.

I received my Microsoft MVP for SharePoint Server on January 1st, so this was my first opportunity to participate in a summit. In the weeks leading up to the event, emails started pouring in with invitations and planning for extracurricular activities. Sunday and Monday are generally filled with pre-conference workshops, lunch and dinner activities, and for SharePoint MVPs – paintball. Unfortunately, for that last part, I was unable to attend as I was in San Francisco presenting a couple sessions at SPTechCon. Maybe next year.

MVP12 007So what is the summit all about? Basically, 4 full days of presentations by various product team leadership. Each morning the SharePoint MVPs filed into Building 37 on Microsoft’s main campus, where we sat through a carefully planned series of sessions that covered every aspect of the SharePoint platform. This was not a bunch of marketing (well, except for the session on SharePoint marketing) but was an opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback, and get a direct response from the teams building the platform. That’s it, folks. A week of interactive sessions, with plenty of Q&A.

MVP12 005I have to say – a couple times I felt bad for the folks up front, because the room hit them hard with questions and real-world impacts of the current platform, as well as the vNext roadmap. The MVPs are not a shy bunch. But overall it was great dialog, and both the MVPs and the product team got value.

During and in-between sessions there were constant side conversations, partner discussions, and new connections being made. With all of my travels, I’d say that I knew about half of the room, and have interacted with about half of the Microsoft presenters. But to have this level of access and open dialog was fantastic. For me, participation in the summit was/is the single biggest perk of the MVP award. I’m glad I was able to participate.

MVP12 008After each day of sessions, we found our way to the various evening activities, which culminated in a huge party at CenturyLink Field where the Seattle Seahawks play, and where I was able to snap the photo of fellow-MVP Rob Foster (@lespaulrob) and I down on the field. And like the old man I am, I left just after 9pm and went home to sleep.

Now….once the restrictions on the MVPs have been lifted (after public beta), I’m sure you’ll see quite a few blog posts that go back to the summit, sharing more detail around some of the conversations. But you’re going to have to wait for it….

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.