MVP Summit 2018 – My first summit !

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Wow! its been a busy one since i got back from MVP summit and I’ve just got time to sit down. We finally moved into our new house so it was straight from the airport and move the kids over to our new house and were in. Also been catching up on work since the summit as well so things are settling down now.

I had a great time at the MVP Summit and i had a lot of MVPs tell me if there’s one thing you have to do as an MVP its make sure you go the summit! i was only awarded in February so was and still are very new to the MVP scene. The best part for me was visiting Microsoft in Redmond which i never thought i would ever do and meeting and networking with MVPs from all over the world and learning and talking tech.

Traveling to the MVP summit turned out longer than i thought

For me living in the middle of the UK the closest airports i have are Manchester and Birmingham which to Seattle there’s aren’t any direct flights from either of those. For direct flights i have to travel to Heathrow which is a couple of hours journey for me and when arriving back its more travelling time after landing so chose to fly via Manchester and get connection to Seattle.

I had a nightmare getting there! I was due to land Saturday at 17.00 Seattle time but ended up arriving Sunday 12.00. There was a power failure on the plane which couldn’t be fixed so meant my 9am flight didn’t leave till 19.00 so after 4 hours of sitting on the plane going nowhere and the rest of the day in the terminal i was and rest of the plane very very glad when we finally took off from Manchester! With these delays this meant i missed all connecting flights from Newark to Seattle and had to spend the night in a hotel at Newark airport to catch a Sunday flight. The staff at United in Manchester were very helpful but they were fire fighting a lot of angry passengers. I chose to call united and it seemed i was put on a connection from Newark to San Francisco then to Seattle but i knew there was direct flights on Sunday so after some talking with United i was booked on first direct flight and would arrive midday instead of 9pm Sunday.

So i chose to Manchester and now i had to chose where to connect EU or US, now i chose to catch a connecting flight in the US but my fellow MVP Mark Vale commented i would have to recheck my baggage which is true as its a connecting flight in the US so if you do this make sure you have enough time between flights.

TIP – Plan your travel wisely and allow extra time for delays, if connecting in US allow for collection of baggage and recheck baggage for connecting flight, fly direct if possible, expect delays and plan additional time so not to impact your summit.

I had planned to arrive Saturday evening to explore but Arriving a day after was ok for me as i planned to relax Sunday but it was land and get straight to hotel and then to registration.

Hotels

I was staying at the Hilton Bellevue and the room was huge! and the hotel was great. After speaking with MVPs the place to stay and books up extremely fast is the Hyatt and i can see why. A lot of events are centred all round this hotel

Sunday Sessions were all at this hotel

Sunday registration was here

Regionally meet up and attendee party was there

There are plenty of places to eat and drink right on the Hyatt’s door including the MVP bar of choice Joeys!

TIP – try and book early and get in the Hyatt if possible. The other hotels are very good and the Hilton was only a 15 minute walk away so wasn’t too bad.

From the Airport to Hotel

I grabbed a taxi from outside the airport and its cost $50, uber was al over Seattle and we used it a few times.

Transport during Summit

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The organisation of the MVP was amazing from transport, session, meet ups everything was spot on. The hotels were in Bellevue and Microsoft HQ is in Redmond so each morning there were shuttle to take you from the hotel to Microsoft and back. There was even shuttles between Microsoft buildings its that big ! Thank you to everyone involved in the organisation of the MVP summit.

Sunday

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As soon as i landed i was off to the hotel via Taxi and met MVP Mark Vale at the Hilton, we caught up and nailed a coffee and were off to the Hyatt to register for the Summit.

TIP – For the UK the time difference was 8 hours so i wanted to make sure each day i had chance to speak to my wife and kids so i usually called them as soon as i got up.

At the Hilton the buses were out the back downstairs and there was buses running Sunday from the hotels to the Hyatt. We got to the Hyatt and found our surname booth, showed ID and were given our MVP lanyard ID, Jacket and voucher to spend of our own money in the Microsoft store in Redmond.

There was a lot of MVPs around on Sunday, at the Hyatt there were community led sessions running all day but we chose to explore Bellevue a little.

We found the Microsoft store in the shopping centre and Mark found himself with a surface book 2. This is where i first met MVP Pat Richard ! the man himself i was in shock lol Pat spoke to Mark and said “Hey we get 10% in here was well if you show your MVP badge” Mark was like What ! so he went back and then bagged another 10% off lol.

After Microsoft we grabbed some food at Wendy’s and headed back the hotel as we wanted to go to the Seattle tower.

We grabbed an Uber which was quite a way from Bellevue and pointed the uber at the tower. The tower looked a little old tbh but we paid $22 to go up and were told there was building going on so only 1/3 was open.

We spent about 5 mins up there took some pics and that was that then we bumped into some SfB MVPs from Aussie and New Zealand Grieg, James, Andrew, Paul i recognised them all from their twitter and blogs! was awesome hanging out with these guys, we chatted and then grabbed a lift back to the Hyatt again and met Jason Wynn SfB MVP.

We met Stale Hanson, Michael, Curtis and Habib from Canada so we went for Chinese. Unluckily for Jason the server actually dropped a beer on him lol

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After this i headed to Joeys for a beer and see what Joeys was about.

Monday

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Sessions started at 8am, other MVPs told me this was the first time it was 8am and it did seem early as the days were full on.

So it was up for breakfast at 7am then make sure you get a shuttle around 7.30 to get to Redmond. When in Redmond we were dropped off at Building 33 and all the office sessions were in Building 92 so we need another shuttle to jump across buildings.

TIP – Know where you sessions are and plan enough time to get there and move between building.

Sessions were all NDA so sorry i cant comment or blog on these, they started at 8 and went on till 16.30 – 17.00 most days. The NDA is very important and must not be broken.

It was amazing walking in the room and seeing all the amazing MVPs that inspired me and helped me learn Lync and SfB so so much and made me want to be an MVP! it was an honour to meet and hang out with everyone.

TIP for sessions

Laptop / Surface, charger including US adapter! plan for a day of notes and learning.

Food and drinks were provided in most breaks which was awesome.

You have to grab a picture at the Microsoft sign at Building 92 as well.

After the Session there was a regional meet up at the Hyatt so myself and Jason went along and meet some other MVPs and our MVP community lead.

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Tuesday

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It was up for breakfast for 7 then grab the bus and be at sessions again for 8am really but i was excited for the meet the product group and i wanted to the meet some of the teams team.

I explored the customer experience centre as well which was great looking at some of Microsoft tech.

  • Meet the product Group event – this event was great and again food and drink provided.
  • MVP Dinner – Pat Richard organised a meal for all SfB MVPs and we took after the Italian back in Bellevue, there was 37 of us in totally and Pat had booked for 20 but the restaurant was great and fitted us all in somehow. Pat gave me a new name as the new SfB MVP i was the FNG i had no idea what this was but learnt it was the Frickin new guy ! and it seems the new guy picked up the bill ! hmmmmm luckily this was a joke lol.

It was so great to meet and hangout with even more SfB legends !

Wednesday

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  • Attendee Party at the Hyatt

This was the last day of Office sessions but was followed with the attendee party which was awesome, again food and drinks provided and this was definitely a party !!!

We left the party and went bowling and it was the best i had ever bowled lol and being the new guy got some stick lol the second game i went back to my crap form. I have no idea what came over me lol

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Thursday

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MVP Led sessions in the morning which was great but we had to leave early for the airport Sad smile

The MVP led session were arranged late so i had already booked a midday flight, if im lucky enough to go again i may see i i can stay longer Thursday.

We flew back Seattle to Frankfurt and then Frankfurt to Manchester which was delayed which Mark said i was bad luck due to my amazing journey to Seattle. This time i didn’t go via Newark but still got delayed but only an hour. Then it was land and get straight to moving stuff in the house.

 

And that was the summit ! amazing experience with amazing people and i hope i get to go again!

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