“What happens at Summit stays at Summit” has become the informal motto of the MVP Global Summit, referring to the hundreds of private deep-dive technical discussions between MVPs and Microsoft product teams—all covered by the MVP non-disclosure agreement.
But, in reality, what happened at the recent November 2013 MVP Global Summit—like all the Summits that came before it—will go viral and have an impact on how people around the world live, work and play with Microsoft services and devices.
That’s because the more than 1,300 MVPs who came from 95 countries this month to Microsoft corporate headquarters in Redmond have returned home with deeper insight into new Microsoft technology features, best practices and upcoming advancements. While they will be careful not to reveal the details of the private conversations they had with the product teams, as community leaders, their deeper understanding often translates into an enhanced technology experience for Microsoft customers.
And, just as importantly, the exchange of ideas at Summit goes both ways. Attendees of the recent MVP Global Summit provided many Microsoft product teams with valuable feedback into how current Microsoft technologies are performing out in their communities and their thoughts about future features.
As Scott Hanselman, former MVP and now principal program manager lead in the Microsoft Developer Division, said, ”We come together here at the MVP Global Summit to make sure we’re all moving in the same direction.”
Microsoft’s listening systems, which include online channels like Microsoft Community , MSDN, TechNet, and Twitter, as well as technology conferences and events, are hugely important to understanding the needs of customers and the continuous improvement of our services and devices.
But many product teams and MVPs agree that nothing takes the place of the face-to-face interactions at the MVP Global Summit. “It’s one thing to hear opinions and ideas in email—but sometimes you just get it completely differently when you’re sitting in a room together at the Summit and MVPs are able to really explain how a product can be improved,” said Amy Van Hollebeke, Microsoft Dynamics CRM senior lead program manager.
In addition to hearing from MVPs at the recent MVP Global Summit, many Microsoft team members had a chance to see MVP innovation in action. The MVP Showcase, which premiered at the February 2013 MVP Global Summit, was back by popular demand—and 30% bigger. This month, 40 MVPs from 19 countries presented everything from the App Factory, a system to create apps for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8 that incorporate RSS, news, images and video without writing a single line of code, to how to build your own super-fast Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V server for about $1,000 USD, to the Humanitarian Toolbox, an initiative designed to build disaster response apps.
For four full days, November 18 - 21, MVPs ran in and out of conference rooms all around the Microsoft campus engaging in deep dive sessions with product teams—many of them engineer-level discussions and many of them continuing into evening gatherings. But it wasn’t all hard work. For the final evening, the whole community gathered for a Night at the Waterfront to enjoy the Seattle Aquarium and Seattle’s Great Wheel and to relax, be entertained and create more Summit memories, including a surprise marriage proposal by an MVP to his, now, fiancé.