MVP Summit 2008

Well this year’s Microsoft MVP Summit is over and MVPs from around the world are heading home. This year’s summit was great, minus the food, again. The highlights were the deep technical information on what’s coming out in E14 (next version after Exchange 2007) and the attendee party last night at the Experience Music Project (EMP). Sorry, I can’t go over any of the details on what’s coming in E14 (all MVPs are under VERY strict NDAs).

The party at the EMP was great mainly due to the geek factor (not counting the 100s or 1,000+ geeks [MVPs] there. There is a sci-fi museum that had props, books, and other items from sci-fi going back at least 50 years. Paul Allen (one of the founders of Microsoft) owned most of the items, so he must be an über sci-fi fan. The main focus of EMP is on music and it had a lot of interactive exhibits and memorabilia all around the building. The building itself was also quite amazing, no square angles and very organic looking from the outside. The different exhibits ranged from electric guitars, drums, and keyboards that people could just jam on in a "booth" to "Simon says" type interactive training sessions with an instrument. Besides the standard stuff at the EMP there was a live band and karaoke setup so the MVPs or their guest could get on-stage with a live band and sing or scream their heart out (most were pretty bad). There was also a setup with all four instruments for the game Rock Bank projected on a large screen in an auditorium room, which had a good size audience. A bit/lot of alcohol gave people the liquid courage to get on stage at both places and the distortion of senses to enjoy it also J

The closing speakers were Ray Ozzie (Chief Software Architect @ Microsoft) and Steve Ballmer (CEO and early [1980] member of Microsoft). Ray talked a bit about his philosophy and the vision of Microsoft moving forward and thanked the MVP for helping Microsoft make their product better. He then took some Q&A from the crowd. Steve then talked about how the MVP program is really looked highly upon by everyone at Microsoft. He then did a Q&A session and there were two very interesting items that came out of this. The first was that Steve said if any Microsoft employee wasn’t responding to e-mail (one MVP complained about the lack of e-mail response from his local Microsoft reps) to send him the e-mail and he would make sure we got a response! The second was a challenge to the MVPs to switch their default search to Microsoft Live Search for a week sometime this year. He said Microsoft is planning to make some additional changes to Live Search and he wanted us to try it for a week and then send him an e-mail with our feedback. Even for those who are all Microsoft MVPs, Live Search is not the most commonly used search engine (by a long shot). So it will be interesting to see how that week goes since he has to know that most MVPs have a blog and are going to blog about that week’s (when TBD later) experience, in addition to e-mailing him. I’m looking forward to that week and to see what happens. As always it was great to see Steve speak, he is one of the most enthusiastic speaks and you can tell he loves and is VERY VERY passionated (spelling is an inside joke to my fellow MVPs who might be reading this) about his company!

Looking forward to next year!!!

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