Ready, Set, Summit!

The 2015 MVP Global Summit is just one week away! Banners welcoming MVPs from around the world are flying all over Microsoft’s world headquarters in Redmond. Here are some of our favorite tips for getting the most out of what Microsoft Azure MVP Magnus Mårtensson called, “a huge honey pot of knowledge and experience—a continuous fire-hose-draught of learning.” (Thanks to all the MVPs who've contributed ideas over the years!)

Summit is a well-oiled machine with great transportation, receptions, meals and sessions. Just follow the flow and let the organizers and MVP old-timers lead the way. It is hard work to take in so much great content in such a short time. Do take time to get to know the teams at Microsoft better and become friends with the folks who build your products! For the rest of the year you will be interacting with these connections in your work. Also, network, network, network! Hang out and chat, strike up a conversation in the halls during the day and in the bars at night. First question is always “What’s your expertise?” All of us experts come together and we really thrive on learning and sharing.

If you are local or are flying in early, come join us for a special community volunteer event which will be held the afternoon of Saturday, 31 October, followed by a dinner later that evening. We will be working with Hopelink for a harvest glean that will benefit local food banks Sign up at Seattle GiveCamp at MVP Summit 2015.
--Visual Studio and Development Technologies MVP Paul Litwin

While Bellevue has nice shopping and restaurants near the hotels (including a Microsoft store), if you have a chance to go into downtown Seattle, take it! It is a beautiful, walkable city. Pike Place is a great place to spend a couple of hours or an afternoon. Also ,I know everyone has heard this a million times, but here it is again: Don’t break the NDA. Microsoft trusts us with their “secrets” and breaking that trust hurts all of us. Twitter will survive if you don’t tweet everything that happens at the Summit. The blogging world won’t end if you don’t tell everything you know.
-- Outlook MVP Diane Poremsky

At the airport, look for people with MVP logos on their coats, bags, scarfs, hats, canes. They probably have attended a Summit before. Say hi and make a friend. You may be able to share a cab to Bellevue.There are two Microsoft stores you can go to during the Summit. The first one you will come across is the one in Bellevue Square and the second will be on campus next to where the buses will drop you off. The campus store has employee prices, but limited selection. Also, go down for breakfast early and take your time talking to the people at your table.
-- Visio MVP John Marshall

Get Comfortable – Find a seat, take off your jacket, grab a drink and relax a little.  It’s a busy week with lots of great content, speakers and feedback sessions.  If you are new to the group, there are a few ways to break the ice and one of them is taking off your coat.  Nothing says I’m about ready to leave than someone wearing a jacket, of course the swanky MVP jackets are not included in this ;)  If you are not new to the group make sure you do your best to make others feel welcome.  A former colleague used the term “rock piles” to describe a group of people huddling and it’s not overly welcoming.   Open up that circle and make new friends while welcoming your old friends

Outside the Box – While we are all deep subject matter experts in an area and MVP Summit is all about gathering those groups together, find some time to attend a session that is outside of your area of expertise.  While most sessions are targeted there are opportunities to sit in on some other sessions and learn a bit about something you may not work with daily but that you are interested in learning more about.

Go Offline – MVP Summit allows you to connect with other MVPs and the PGs for a short while, face to face, once a year.  OK twice this year but still.  Close the laptop lid, stop hiding behind a screen.  There isn’t a whole lot of anything you can tweet, blog, or post to Facebook anyway.  Emails can wait until the next break, or the evening.  If the email is incredibly urgent quietly take your device into the hallway to respond.  As a speaker, and an attendee, the last thing I want to hear is you pecking away at your keyboard.

NDA – Most importantly respect the NDA.  "If it happens at Summit it stays at Summit” is a clichéd approach but the best one.  It allows MS to continue hosting the MVPs and sharing information as well as ensures you won’t be booted from the program :)
--Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP Rodney Buike