The MVP Global Summit is the annual event for Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs). Four thousand individual experts are invited to a week of trainings and sessions lead by Microsoft Product Groups. This is my insight of the 2014 MVP Global Summit.

Joseph Moody

Joseph Moody is a network admin for a public school system and helps manage 5,500 PCs. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in Cloud and Datacenter Management and blogs at DeployHappiness.com.

The annual MVP Global Summit is one of the best weeks of the year; there is no other technical event like it. Experts in every Microsoft category converge for trainings, talks, and events. It provides Microsoft with needed product feedback and helps set the mood for the next release of products.

A welcome sign for the MVP Global Summit

A welcome sign for the MVP Global Summit

The 2014 MVP Global Summit was the largest in a decade. The upcoming release of Windows 10/Server 10 certainly fueled the excitement. Although most of the technical content is protected by a non-disclosure agreement, MVPs can share some content about the MVP Global Summit and some of the content covered. Take a look at some of the content covered in TechEd Europe for ideas on where the IT industry is headed (hint: Azure…).

What actually happens at the MVP Global Summit? ^

The MVP Global Summit opens with the very popular MVP Showcase at the Hyatt in Bellevue, Washington (a short drive from Microsoft headquarters). This year, 67 MVPs showed off their technical prowess by demonstrating their ability to hack products in unexpected ways.

I had two personal favorites. The first was a Kinect mod that used facial recognition to “target” individuals. Once the target was locked, he or she would receive a foam missile to the head. The second showed how the Surface is used to help children with special needs read and write. Using technology to help others is always awesome! You can read about the 2014 MVP Showcase here.

The next several days are spent in deep technical sessions with the Product Groups of various Microsoft technologies. This is held on Microsoft Campus, which is beautifully colored by the changing leaves this time of the year. My expertise (Software Packaging, Deployment & Servicing) had two full days of learning. Depending on release cycles, Product Groups may have anywhere from one to four days of content to cover.

Headed to Microsoft Campus for the day. And, yes, it rained – a lot.

Headed to Microsoft Campus for the day. And, yes, it rained – a lot.

No rest for the weary MVP ^

Each night is completely booked as well. After the MVP Showcase, many MVPs head out to network with other experts in their field. The following night is dinner with your Product Group. This provides valuable time not only to provide feedback on your expertise and gain insight on upcoming changes but also to discuss items that might not have warranted a full technical session.

The evening highlight for the 2014 MVP Global Summit was certainly the Welcome Reception and the guest speaker. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, opened the reception and took MVPs’ questions concerning the future of Microsoft. To say that he is a rock star among us is a true understatement.

The final full evening is the Attendee Party. Microsoft goes all out to give us an amazing time! Last year’s Attendee Party was held at the Seattle Aquarium; this year, it was held at the Fremont Studios in Seattle. For many MVPs, this is the last chance to catch up with friends and Product Groups at Microsoft. We also get to meet the team who make the MVP program/Global Summit possible. They do an absolutely phenomenal job in organizing this huge event.

Leaving Redmond – Inspired for another year ^

Depending on their schedule, MVPs may leave on Thursday, Friday, or sometime over the weekend. I joke with my wife that I may spend a week in Redmond but two weeks recovering from the time changes, late nights, and intense trainings. I leave inspired and filled to the brim with new ideas.

Mt. Rainier before sunset on the flight home.

Mt. Rainier at sunrise on the flight home

Getting to talk with the sharpest minds in the field, catching up with friends, and meeting the MVP team/Product Groups are what make being an MVP so great. You can read more about the MVP program (and how to become an MVP) here. If you have questions about the MVP program, becoming an MVP, or the MVP Global Summit, please leave a comment below.

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