This week myself and Joe Anstine, B.I. Voyage Director of Sales visited Washington D.C. to attend and participate in the Microsoft World Partner Conference 2010 (www.digitalwpc.com ). From the moment we stepped onto the tarmac we experienced an endless flow of networking, community, learning, mentoring, and pure fun. Let me provide you with a brief tour of my experience in an effort to encourage you to attend WPC 2011.
From Bill Clinton to Steve Balmer there was a phenomenal list of speakers. The keynotes were held in the Verizon Center with a great selection of culturally diverse music to accompany the recent World Cup event. Let it be known that Microsoft is dead serious about being “All In” in regard to the Cloud. “O’Cloud, O’Cloud, O’Cloud” was essentially the event’s theme chant. The Keynotes detailed several launch announcements and interesting facts & statistics regarding where Microsoft has been and where they are going.
The announcement of Windows Azure Platform Appliances was significant. The upcoming appliances will assist Microsoft in offering its Azure Cloud available for hosting companies and large customers to essentially host their own Azure Platform. Windows 7 success stories were no stranger including the statement “Windows 7 has been our company’s highest quality product shipped to date”. While I am not a Windows OS MVP I will be the first to admit that Windows 7 just feels rock-solid compared to its predecessors; similar to how Windows 2000 Professional felt during its life. On the consumer side of Microsoft several principals were made known:
- Microsoft fully intends on landing more ‘troops on the beach’ in the mobile device and tablet market. And I quote: “Competition is a matter of will”
- The XBOX entertainment system is expected to receive some phenomenal upgrades in the context of interactive entertainment. Expect big things coming for the 2010 Christmas season.
Classes & Hands on Labs
Due to WPC Connect networking meetings (more to come on these in a moment) we actually were not able to attend that many sessions. However, the few we did attend were just bliss. I in particular was hoping for a mixture of technical & SALES/BUSINESS content. Indeed, each class we did attend has 2 dimensions to them: technical & marketing/sales of the feature set. There was also an exhaustive list of Hands on Labs (HOLs) available. The one I really wanted to attend but was unable due to timing was the SQL MDM (Master Data Services) HOL.
WPC Connect, remember the term for future WPC events. WPC Connect sessions are 1:1 meetings that attendees can schedule with other partners & Microsoft employees attending the event. As you can imagine, such a notion is extremely valuable when you consider that all of us (Microsoft Partners) are generally together and on a course running parallel with Microsoft Corporate’s vision and future offerings.
Let the Fun Begin…Parties, Food, & Monuments
There was no shortage of fun to be had at WPC 2010. Four of the five nights we stayed in Washington D.C. we partied at official and after-party events (including a few private ones). If you enjoy free beer (ok, well you did pay the entrance fee so kind of free), great people (who are essentially in the same boat as you), and a fabulous selection of venues then the WPC experience is for you. To be quite candid with you, it felt like College all over again.
Beyond the parties we had to check out some of our country’s finest monuments & memorials. From the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol we did a tour (on foot) in just a single evening. Joe had never been to D.C. and thus for him it was even more phenomenal of a experience. To see someone’s face while witnessing our nations hallmark monuments for the first time is a pretty cool experience in and of itself.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing WPC 2010 thru my eyes and I look forward to seeing you In California for WPC 2011!