I’m fortunate to be attending my 2nd Microsoft MVP Summit, in Bellevue & Redmond, Washington. The first one I attended was in November 2016, shortly after I was first awarded my MVP award. It was pretty overwhelming! I was still getting used to the idea that I was an MVP let alone being able to absorb all of the content presented to us.

There was no MVP Summit in 2017, as the program was reorganized in early 2017 to change everyone to a single renewal date. In doing so, the date for Summit was changed to what I assume is now the permanent time of year from now on.

What’s it all about?

I see the MVP Summit as a celebration of the MVP award and a perk. Part of it is all about the networking opportunities, of which there are plenty! The other part of MVP Summit are the technical sessions and some non-technical soft-skills sessions. The core conference is 3 days, with some soft-skills sessions on Sunday we can sign up for and some product groups having additional sessions or opportunities after the official part of Summit is over. There are over 500 sessions to choose from depending on your award category.

The bummer for Dynamics GP MVPs is our product group isn’t in Redmond, it’s in Fargo, so we technically don’t have any content specific to our product. There is plenty of content in areas related to our world though, whether that is Dynamics 365 content, Azure, SQL, SharePoint, Power BI, Office 365 & the Office suite of products and of course development tools sessions for the developers in our crowd. There’s too much to choose from at times! All of the technical content is under NDA, meaning we can’t talk about it, even to another MVP who is attending! So, that’s all I’ll say about that! The NDA is taken very seriously and I’ve heard the odd story where someone didn’t honour that and was removed mid-conference and dismissed from the program.

Networking!

The Canadian MVPs have a social event one evening, which is one of the evenings I’m most looking forward to. Plus the Canadian MVP photo… we’re now famous for that and we all sing Oh Canada in the lobby of the hotel so everyone knows we’re there. I can’t find last year’s pic to post here… but, picture close to 200 of us in red Team Canada hockey jerseys taking up the entire staircase of the hotel and you’ll get the idea!

The social event is a great chance for us to re-connect with our fellow crazy Canucks! Last year I didn’t know very many people so this year I’m looking forward to having more conversations vs. just hanging out and trying to figure out where I fit in. (Introvert problems, LOL)…

Every night there is something planned, all optional, but all chances to network with other MVPs either in your product areas or in your regions.

Over my first 18 months as an MVP, I’ve now met a bunch of the MVPs either in person or on Twitter. I have met some amazing people, especially with so many MVPs in the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge & Guelph area that I can keep in close touch with. There are so many people I hope to catch up with and/or meet for the first time, I won’t even attempt to list them all!

On the Dynamics GP MVPs side, at least half of the 16 of us are attending, so that’s cool to have quite a group of us to hang out when we can. Last time, that was my favourite part. I found the content too intense, but getting a chance to hang out with fellow GP MVPs was great because we were all simply there as attendees ourselves. Usually, we’re at events and we’re presenting or working at an expo booth etc., and there’s very little chance to socialize.

Attendance

There are going to be more than 2,000 MVPs and RDs (regional directors) coming to Summit, and this year is the 25th anniversary of the program.

The graphic above came from the MVP Award blog post, showing the approximate attendee counts from different areas of the globe. Pretty cool! As of today, the official MVP site shows there are 3,758 MVPs in the world, so slightly more than 50% of the world’s active MVPs will be there this week. That’s pretty amazing.

It’s going to be a “long” short week full of content and fun and I can’t wait for it to get started!