My first MVP Summit – a fantastic reminder

I had the tremendous pleasure of going to the Microsoft MVP Summit this week and it was a fantastic experience. It also taught me a valuable lesson – I need to be an attendee more.

Microsoft award ~4,000 people their Most Valued Professional (MVP) award each year. MVPs are influential, helpful people who work with Microsoft services. I’m not sure what I did to get in when so many awesome folks I know haven’t but I’m very proud to be in receipt of the Award.

One of the great things about being awarded MVP is the MVP Summit. Once a year, Microsoft get as many of us together as they can and walk us through the nifty things on their roadmap and they talk to us about how we think those things should be prioritised and what’s missing.

The whole event was jam-packed with learning, networking, and lots of things I can’t talk about. The thing that struck me most though was how nice it was to be an attendee again!

I started out as an attendee at community events and conferences but I wanted to organise and present to give more people the experience I had. I wanted them to have the opportunities to learn, to improve their technical capability, to meet others, to talk to their heroes.

Over the years, I’d stopped being an attendee because I was so busy being the organiser or the presenter. I’d lost touch with the value of attending events and it also meant I’ve not been eating my own dog food. Experiencing conferences as an attendee renews my perspective and adds to my knowledge of what things work and doesn’t work for events – it helps improve what I can do for others.

So hopefully next year Microsoft will allow me to be an MVP again and attend the MVP Summit, but I’ll be looking out for more opportunities to be an attendee. If you’re a speaker or organiser of events, I urge you to do the same.