Last week I attended my first Open MVP day since I got the Microsoft MVP award. It was a great experience and I wanted to share what I learned and shout out to the great professionals I met there.
For me, it’s an honor to be part of this community. Not only does it feel good to be recognized for the work I’ve been doing but it’s an even greater opportunity to learn from people and build a professional network. The Open MVP day is exactly about that.
It was a busy week, as I just started a new contract, flew out to London and then had to rush to Rome to attend the Open MVP day. Lots of travel, lots of attention required and all in a short time span. While I was happy to be able to do all of that, I can’t say I wasn’t relieved to be back at home as well.
People I’ve met
Apart from the technical information I got, the most important part for me was to get to know as many people as possible and build a network of peers. It’d be great to continue some of the conversations I’ve had with people there and build a relationship with mutual benefits. On the night I arrived I quickly caught up with the Spanish delegation (mostly with Dachi Gogotchuri, Sergio Guerra and Asier Villanueva) and we had a good chat over a beer about what we like (and don’t like) about the technologies we work in. It was particularly interesting to see what grievances are shared and which ones are probably just my own problem :-). It was really great to see so many people with the same shared interests and a commitment to keep learning and exploring technology. If you’re like me (a geek), you probably recognize the feeling where you have a lot of ideas and thoughts and no one to share them with (at least not in person).
Apart from fellow MVP’s, we also had the chance to meet some of the technical evangelists from Microsoft. They’re experts in building and maintaining communities. It was very interesting to hear some new ideas from Alejandro Campos on how to build a community and wake interest in technology. I can’t wait to start and put these ideas in action to foster the local community and build a network of like-minded people here in Mallorca.
Things I’ve learned
Apart from networking, there are obviously technical sessions. While I found that most sessions where rather introductory sessions, I do want the highlight the session by Ricardo Peres on ElasticSearch. While also an introductory session, this one was particularly interesting as I just started a project with heavy usage of ElasticSearch. I definitely learnt a lot in that session and hope to soon start to apply that knowledge in real life.
The warning signs
If there’s one thing I was a bit weary about, I’d say it’s the effect of the echo chamber. This has nothing to do with the organizers or the sessions, but with the very nature of a vendor specific event. Since all attendees are Microsoft MVP’s, the focus naturally lies on Microsoft technology. Even though I’m mostly Microsoft oriented, I like to venture into related technologies to compare, contrast and learn from them. This doesn’t mean I find MS tech worse (or better) than other tech stacks, it just means that, while attending an event that focuses on a particular vendor, it’s important to not get soaked up by it and keep an open mind.
On the other hand, I also like to mention that there a lot of MVP’s that didn’t only specialize in Microsoft tech. As an example, Nicola Iarocci, is a python specialist on the server, but works with MS tech on the client side. His perspective was particularly interesting as it shows that it isn’t necessary to be only “devoted” to MS tech to become an MVP. It shows that the movement towards openness from Microsoft is not just hollow words.
All in all, I’d say that my first Open MVP day was a great success and I can’t wait to attend my first MVP summit later this year. As I’ve been told, it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet peers from all over the world as well as get an insight on “how the sausage is made” at Microsoft.
I want to thank the organizers and everybody I’ve met for making this a great first experience and hope to see everyone at the next gathering.