Microsoft MVP Global Summit — 2018

I am so thankful to be a part of the MVP program. Being a Microsoft MVP means that I’m invited to attend the MVP Global Summit in Redmond, WA (USA). The MVP Summit is an amazing chance to network with the leaders in Microsoft technologies space and meet new friends in the industry who share my passions. This year was extra special, as it was the 25th anniversary and it was my first time ever attending. Yes, the MVP program started all the way back in 1993 — it’s crazy when you think about it.

Sunday

I flew into Seattle on Sunday from my home in Milwaukee, I registered and immediately ran into several people who I knew (which was reassuring as I didn’t know how many familiar faces I’d get to see). I’m happy Mitch Muenster and Cameron Presley were there to settle my nerves a bit. I later found out that I’d run into a lot more people who I know. Sunday night I had plans to meet the DOT NET CURRY (DNC) magazine editor, Suprotim Agarwal and my co-authors of the January — February edition. It was great meeting the group, who were very welcoming. Here is the article I wrote for the magazine. The evening ended with excitement for the week to come.

Monday

I roomed with Duane Newman, we met at an MVP event in Chicago — and we we were both looking for someone to room with. Duane is a great roommate since we both snore and are super chill / low-key.

After some breakfast, we took the shuttle bus over to the Microsoft campus. The schedule was intense, and the sessions were amazing. Unfortunately, everything was under NDA — so this is where I say, sorry “NDA”, “NDA”, “NDA”. As a disclaimer, this post is entirely about my experience with the great people I got to meet. Nothing about the sessions is shared as it is all under NDA. After visiting the community sticker table and sharing a picture of a few added stickers to my machine, I was invited to be a guest on the 6 Figure Developer Podcast — woot, woot!

Walking the halls on campus meant asking the always kind baristas to make you any kind of coffee you desire, even the coffee was special.

After our busy day on campus, Telerik hosted a party — I was reminded of how terrible of a bowler I am. I met several of my long time Twitter pals, Damien Bowden was there — but not in this picture.

From left to right: Blake, Eric, Steve, Me, Mark, and Andrew

Tuesday

I got to meet several of the people who have inspired me throughout the years. If you’re like me and you love the C# language, you may be excited to meet Mads Torgensen —the C# Language Product Manager at Microsoft. His team is responsible for the design and implementation of the language. It is crazy to think that I was sitting in a room with the language design team and others, including the likes of Eric Lippert, Jared Parsens and Dustin Campbell. Yes, I totally feel like this post is going to have a lot of name dropping — but I do not care. This was my experience and I’m going to share it unapologetically!

Between sessions on campus, I got to meet Damian Edwards!

One of the final sessions, we caught up with Scott Guthrie and presented him with a copy of the DNC magazine.

I got to visit the Microsoft Company Store, and take the traditional Microsoft Logo picture — needless to say I was joined by a few friends.

Then, to add insult to injury … this happened.

Wednesday

I got to catch up with Maria Naggaga, this was the first time we were able to catch up since she was the keynote of the technical conference I organize in Milwaukee — Cream City Code. It is always amazing seeing her, she always seems to bring joy and a positive energy wherever she is! We got to discuss try.dot.net, the online C# REPL.

Later, after one of the sessions, the DNC crew and I were able to present the 34th issue of the magazine (in which I was an author) to Scott Hanselman and Scott Hunter.

We later grouped together again to present a copy to Mads.

I got to meet the world famous Troy Hunt, who is way taller in person than I imagined.

He is super nice and really approachable, in fact he told me that he was intentionally walking the halls hoping to meet people. Great minds think alike:

After sessions, back at the hotel I was fortunate enough to attend the second annual #MetaConference. MetaConference is a conference by conference organizers for conference organizers, very “meta”! We discussed a lot of really compelling ideas, shares thoughts and concerns, voiced proposals for conflict resolution and so much more. I cannot believe how much knowledge there was to soak up, but there were over 25 people in attendance who run some of the most successful conferences in the US.

Following this was the attendee party, which was a lot of fun! I learned about “Silent DJ’s”, the party had three DJ’s — and you could borrow headphones and tune into any of the three from within the proximity of the party. The headphones changed colors to indicate which DJ you were listening to… which I found to be very clever.

From left to right: Steve, Andrew, Mark, Me, Mark, Fabian, and Damien

Thursday

I flew back home… I got to thinking about how fortunate I am. I look back to reflect on all the things that I’m blessed to have, and I’m grateful. Being a Microsoft MVP is on my list of things that I’m most proud of, third to my wife and beautiful children. In the fall of 2016, whilst being encouraged to speak — I feared I wouldn’t have an impact, I feared no-one would listen to what I have to say and that everyone would somehow discover that I’m a phony. Public speaking is one of the hardest things to do for a lot of us in the developer community. Not just the initial set of fears but also the preparation, physically, emotionally and mentally. This difficulty might be a result of how our industry fails to promote it enough, we fail to promote each other, we fail to lift each other up. Sure, it does happen — but not enough. There are countless developers in our communities that are literally solving some of the most intriguing and compelling problems in the world with software. A lot of them do so thanklessly!

I gave three talks that fall, and I’m certain those initial talks were not as helpful as they could have been. But I’m proud that I was able to face my fear, and the adrenaline that surged through me afterwards is a high that I think every speaker longs for. That innate feeling of overcoming a fear and perhaps impacting someone’s life in a positive way. I consider myself an influencer and a developer advocate, while I evangelize — I feel as though I focus more on the developer community. I share their pains, I relate to the restrictions of their environments or technical constraints. I’ve been there, and I understand where they’re coming from. In 2017 I gave 22 talks, and with all my blogging, open source, Stack Overflow Q & A, and organizing a conference — I earned my place as an MVP. It was so worth it!

If you’re an MVP reading this, take a moment to think about someone in your community who is making an impact and nominate them for MVP. If you’re not an MVP and you’re reading this, here are more details about the program.

What it takes to be an MVP.

If you want to keep up with me, follow me on twitter and check out my blog. Until next time friends, take care! To anyone who I met and failed to mention, I am sorry — it is not intentional, I literally have been overwhelmed by this experience and met so many new people.