2007 Microsoft MVP Global Summit (Seattle/Redmond Washington)
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March 11, 2007: UtterAccess pre-sumit meeting
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March 12, 2007: Summit registration, expo and regional group dinner
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March 13, 2007: Bill Gates Key Note, Floor Sessions and Museum of Flight attendee party
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March 14, 2007: Microsoft Campus sessions and product group dinner
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March 15, 2007: Microsoft Campus sessions, closing lunch and Access MVPs good-bye dinner

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March 11, 2007: UtterAccess pre-sumit meeting

On the Sunday evening before the summit a couple of folks from UtterAccess and special guests decided to kick of the summit with some great seafood. We had anticipated a much larger crowd. Though we still had a great time despite of several cancellations.

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March 12, 2007: Summit registration, expo and regional group dinner

The summit kicked of with a very well organized registration. If I remember right it took me less then 2 minutes to register, get my registration material and grab one of the few guest passes for my wife.

Afterwards it was time to meet and mingle with other MVPs as well as MVP leads at the expo. It was great meeting familiar folks from the online community and I was surprised how well I was taken into the Access group. I am what you would consider a newbie, nevertheless my wife and I felt immediately at home. Throughout the summit I recognized more and more that the Access MVP group is one astonishing large family, which seems to be somewhat unique within the MVP competencies. We had Internet Explorer, FrontPage, VB.Net, Excel…folks join us regularly.

The Canadian MVP lead made sure that his individuals stood out for the rest of the summit by handing out Canadian hockey jerseys. Other regions were left with hunting down free books and t-shirts from the different expo vender stands ;).

The great day ended with a nice regional dinner at the Westin hotel. The buffet was mile long and entertainment was provided by trying to embarrass different Microsoft® support personal including all MVP leads as well as a karaoke, billiard, and x-box rooms. The majority of folks met in the lobby to mingle and chat. On the way home I recognized that Seattle looks a lot different at night. I finally made it back to the hotel after some lengthy detours. I guess this was my reason to try out the provided shuttle service the next day ;).

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March 13, 2007: Bill Gates Key Note, Floor Sessions and Museum of Flight attendee party

Tuesday began pretty early with nice breakfast provided at the Washington Conference Center. Did I mention that I did not feel hungry at any point during the whole summit.

Afterwards we got to listen to the much anticipated key note by Chairman Bill Gates. The key note started and ended with a nice little Rubix cube animation showing three Access MVPs.

The first section of Bill's talk was a somewhat general view of the upcoming future. Though it was exciting to hear his personal view of Microsoft® Access, which seemed to stand out from other mentioned products.

The second part was a Question and Answer session. Several microphones spaced out throughout the room allowed the MVP audience to interact with Bill. I was surprised on how much he still seems to be involved in the company's ventures even though he retired from the chief software architect position.

The rest of the evening was spent in specific session we could have signed up for. The majority of the sessions were very general and not very informative. I either had bad luck picking my sessions or they were not meant to be useful.

At night we went to the attendee party at the Boeing Museum of Flight. So far the shuttle service went smoothly. As usual the buffet was out of this world and we kept finding new food around every corner throughout the whole night.

Last year's attendee party was held at the Music Experience Project (which by the way…is not worth the entrée fee). Since I am a newbie I was not able to attend that party but it felt like the Museum of Flight was just the right ambience to host such a large amount of people. The service staff was great and it seemed like everyone had a great time either “just” talking, flying simulators, singing karaoke, or walking through the large amounts of exhibits.

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March 14, 2007: Microsoft Campus sessions and product group dinner

By Wednesday morning the majority of Access MVPs probably recognized that I am not an early morning person. Breakfast was provided at the Microsoft® Conference Center on campus in Redmond . Afterwards we attended some break out sessions which took a while to get started. Room problems forced us to relocate to some other far away area of campus which revealed problems in itself. Nevertheless, the great spirit of the Access MVP group made even that a more then enjoyable experience.

The hands-on lab did not go that smoothly either. All PCs had just encountered a crash so it took us a while to get started. Thanks to all the Access team members and Microsoft® support folks who patiently got us eventually up and running.

Afterwards we finally got to meet with the Access development team. This session was honestly the deal maker for me. Up to this point all the presented information was somewhat general and publicly known. Interacting with the development team and bouncing ideas, feedback, opinions…around the room was an amazing experience. I really feel that this session was very useful for both the development team as well as us MVPs.

This great experience continued into the product group dinner we got to attend in one of the campus cafes at night. The Access team was great and it seemed that we sat there longer then anyone else and were only stopped by the clean up crew turning off the lights. Thanks again to all the MS Softies who dedicated so much of their personal time to us.

Before the group dinner some of us decided to try to visit the company store. I think we stood in an hour and thirty minutes long line to finally get in. For future summits there should be better organization and understanding of when specific regions are allowed to visit the store.

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March 15, 2007: Microsoft Campus sessions, closing lunch and Access MVPs good-bye dinner

Like the day before we had some great breakfast at the Microsoft® Conference Center on campus. Later on several MVPs presented some of their applications. It was great to see how other's customize their work.

The summit officially ended with a closing lunch back at the campus Conference Center . Even though this was one of the events advertised to be open to special guests there seemed to have been a lack of transportation. My wife spent two hours waiting in the lobby of our hotel with a noticeable amount of other spouses. No shuttle ever showed up although times for it were posted on the hotel shuttle schedule. I understand that the global summit is not meant to be a family affair especially because of NDA related materials, but I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of support in that aspect. Especially in a city which seems to shut down and go to bed at 6pm in any given day of the week.

An event my wife was able to enjoy was the traditional dinner on Thursday night organized by Access MVPs. We had a great time reflecting back on the summit and end the great week with a proper good bye. I even got baptized later in the night (must be being a newbie thing ;) ).

All in all the entire summit was a life time experience. Some small glitches here and there do not reflect on the great time we all had. It was a pleasure and honor being part of this industry wide unique occurrence and I am very much looking forward to the next summit (if I am still considered an MVP that is).

I want to personally thank all the Microsoft® people who made this event possible.

Since my wife spent the majority of her time trying to find things to do in Seattle she made many great shots. Here are a couple selective ones if anyone cares.

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