My previous post tend to focus on a specific session during the WPC (arrival and session on Hololens).
This post will present the overall experience of the WPC, a Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference that gather about 14000 partners, generally CxOs around the world.
HOW TO GET A FREE WPC ?
I got invited by Microsoft in Orlando as a recognition of the hard work that I have been doing nationwide for the last 2 years.
Beyond this work to be done continuously, the “secret” behind is listening to the customer’s needs and fighting hard against any impediments (technical and human) in an iteratively manner, and keep focusing on real customer’s satisfaction, with quick-win’s implementations.
Beyond this ivitation, I was surprised to have my face showing up on a Microsoft’s presentation (top left) and Marius Zaharia on the right (MVP Azure, and we have co-founded the Azure User Group France amoung many other motivated people).
People were taking pictures of the top 5 winners, with "Standing Ovation" from the other partners and Microsoft, and with the greeting of our competitors, that are in the business for decades (whereas I starting the business 2 years ago in Lyon, with less access to Microsoft’s staff and resources than people in Paris !).
I didn’t know is that this "award" was given to the top 5 partners on all MS technologies combined (excel, Office, Sharepoint, CRM, TFS, C#, Azure, …) and throughout France! knowing that Microsoft France is ranked as to be the No. 1 subsidiary worldwide, that places the exploit quite high.
However, being “only Top 5” gives me the opportunity to improve toward No. 1 despite the exponential difficulties!
ATTENDING SESSION “DURING THE DAY”
The time flies really fast (especially with little sleep as we will see later).
- Check out the level of the session: If you are already an expert on a given topic, if you have 2 good sessions in //, try not to pick the one that you already master. You’ll end-up leaving the session before the end.
- Don’t waste time: Plan beforehand the session you are interested in. Chances are other will be interested too, and once full you won’t get into the room !
Apart if you are lucky, sometimes Microsoft organized “overflow” session with a dedicated room that displays live the session that’s going on next door. But that’s not the same experience and fun, and you won’t be able to ask questions.
- Social Network: The aim of the WPC it to network with partners, customers, Microsoft France (in my case) and Microsoft Corp that builds the product. Every minute is an opportunity to make business.
- Do sessions in parallel : hundreds of interesting sessions are planned during the week. It is obvious that one could not attend all interresting sessions. Do loadbalancing with your friends/colleagues and gather info in // on a web-based tool for instance.
- Internet access during the Day: Don’t expect to have 100% access to the Internet. Despite the cost of such event and how well it is organized. Despite they were numerous Wifi spots… that’ll be not enough of 14 000 people. Expect that you won’t get a reliable Internet-Wifi access.
WHAT ? WE ARE ALSO GOING OUT EVENING TIME ? IT’S NOT WORK ?!?
If you do your job properly, you won’t get much of sleep, because during the WPC, social networking is Key to develop business
Indeed, you will hopefully have awesome discussions from people worldwide that may have face the same issue as you, or you can see that they are having the same problem as you.
So, the going out moments is taken care by the event organizers, with respectively going-out sessions organized alternatively by Microsoft Corp, and your local country.
For the WPC15, we were lucky that it happened in Orlando, Florida, with not only the nice palm trees, but also the luxurious hotels and their swimming pools (not that you’ll have much to to enjoy, cauz’ you’ll be busy !!)
FAVORITE GOING OUT IN ORLANDO
Every evening, Microsoft is taking care of you : Drinking, socializing, …
My TOP favorite going out was “ Disney’s Hollywood Studios ™ ”:
Microsoft having booked the entire park! for the 14000 partners ! starting with fake supporters that welcomes you as if you were a super star and asking you auto-graphs !
Then, once in the park, make yourself at home and ANYTHING you wish to drink, to eat, to ride, to attend… is yours !
Ranging from gigantic concerts, fireworks, dancing, singing, the “Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith”, Indiana Jones’s stunts in front of you at scale 1:1, etc…
OVERALL OUTCOME. WAS THAT WORTH IT IN TERMS OF BUSINESS ?
Simple answer: YES !
Why ? the discussions with competitors, partners, Microsoft (country), Microsoft Corp, the quality of the sessions during the day (/!\ plan carfully to choose the one relevant to your business) has given me:
- a clear vision of what am heading to this comming year,
- a roadmap to match Microsoft’s Vision, to be worked with our Top Management
- Shall I attend again a WPC in Orlando ?? Definately 100% yes, with no hesitation.
- Some regrets ? Yes and only two :
- Not able to extend my stay to visit Miami, Universal Studio, etc, …
- Not having optimized enough my time during the day (evening time was good : Many of us were sleeping only few hours). Besides, I had 3 hotels, since Microsoft told me the good news fews weeks before the event, i.e. to commute took me a lot of yours, since distances are large and the city speards.