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WPC 2012: my personal summary (and slides)

I recently had the chance to participate to the latest WPC 2012 (local Windows Professional Conference) in Milano, Italy.

It was a terrific event: 27 Microsoft MVPs as speakers, an Ask The Expert Booth with +12 MVPs (+ a lot of friends and other Influencers) covering different technologies, together with the Microsoft Technical Support. Hundreds of technical sessions, giving full coverage of almost all the Microsoft Products and Technologies.

It was a great success in terms of Reach, Awareness and Support. Reach: almost 400 attendees, from ITPros to Developers to Consumers. More than 300 tweets around the Conference (#wpcit12).

In terms of awareness, the Microsoft MVP Award was highly valued during the conference: some minutes spent during the Keynote talking about it, the #Branding was everywhere, and MVPs often were wearing t-shirts with the MVP Logo on it. Recognition was another big part of it.

Just FYI, during the ATE the MVPs had around 250 technical discussions with the attendees. Divided per technology each day, attendees had the chance to interact not only with the speakers @ the Booth, but also with the other MVPs who voluntarily agreed to be part of the Conference supporting the attendees.

DSC_0238 DSC_0585

So now you know the MVP Award was a big part of it. But what about the rest of it?

Well, I also delivered a session on #SocialMedia called “Social Media in the IT World” and I have to say it was really interesting for the attendees. It was Different, not the kind of presentation you normally expect during a technical event. It was Relevant, according to the numbers of feedback and questions I gathered after my session. And for me it was fun too!

Understanding that many people still don’t understand the Power of the Social Media, the World of Mouth, the “Unmarketing” concept, Crowdsourcing, Personal #Branding and many others was kind of unexpected. So that is probably why my session was really valuable for the attendees.

I share my slides here, in a pure community spirit (as the MVPs taught me :)), hoping that someone else will benefit from that:

I did not have the chance to show how I use my Windows Phone to “unleash” the Power of the Communities, but I’m sure I’ll have time to do that in my next talk.

And, by the way, we also had the chance to have some fun (in a pure community spirit :)):

DSC_0495 DSC_0574

I need to thank a lot of people for a very successful event:

First and foremost, Barbara Palumbo, the “Puppet Master”, for his energy, proactive approach, driving the #wpcit12 team to Excellence. Claudio Salano, “The Boss” for having me @ the Conference. Nino Crudele, “Grinch” and #BizTalk Expert, for his tremendous valuable tips & tricks. And all others, all the MVPs, the Influencers, all the People I had the pleasure to meet for the first time, etc.

THANK YOU everyone for this wonderful experience !

Regional MVP and KulenDayz report

If you were there, you know how it was. If you weren’t there for any reason, you can read the full report here…

Cheers :)

Out Of Office (just for a while)

We have a lot of stuff coming up in FY13, lots of events (one above all, the Regional CEE & Italy MVP Summit during KulenDayz), Build, MVP Global Summit in US, and all the local events, MS and community events that will be held in the whole Region (and they are a lot, believe me..).
There are also lots and lots of online activities, from the forums posts to the webcasts/screencasts, from books and e-books to technical articles. Microsoft MVPs, the User Group Presidents, the Student Partners, the Regional Directors. In a word, the whole community ecosystem is already on track to deliver world-class technical activities f which thousands and thousands peers and users will benefit of.

I thought this was the best time to take some days off and make a blog post using my Windows Phone before the whole “community machine” will unleash its full power.

So now I’m taking a full break, relaxing a bit before the “unleash hell” command will be given 🙂

See you very soon!

Regional CEE – Italy MVP Summit !

I had a tough time these last 2 months, 50% of my time making sure all the candidate reviews were done (thanks Marjorie and my other colleagues that helped me!). This was a really important activity as, as you may know, there are 4 Microsoft MVP Candidate reviews every year.

So that was done.

The other 50%? “THE EVENT”

Last time we had a Regional CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) MVP gathering was in Greece and it was really a great event. This is not only me saying that, but gathering MVP feedback it was really a great one. Also, as you may remember, we were in the middle of the ash cloud, so some of us were stuck in Athens for a few days. Not a bad place to be stuck in, right? :) (wonderful city / wonderful people !!)

Last year we also had the Italian MVP Open Days in Milano. Great event too, full of technical and non-technical discussions. mingling and of course some fun.

This year is gonna be different. As I represent part of CEE and Italy as well (as a Community Program Manager for the MVP Award Program), I asked myself “Why these 2 parts of my job responsibilities should be separated?” “Is there any particular reason?”

And the answer was simple: NO

Also, as I travelled a lot in different places this year, I was keep on hearing from MVPs that they want to meet other MVPs, outside of their Countries. And this totally makes sense, as you strengthen your professional network and you never know, maybe you’ll end up working with some MVPs remotely in another part of the Region.

So, again, my concerns (and there were some) were eventually going away by one the most important pillar for me: put people in touch with each other. I think this is one of the best "benefit” you can get from the MVP Award, aside of course to the more “tangible ones” and the interaction with the Product Teams.

So my next question was: “Where are we gonna meet this year and when”? That was a tricky one. There are tons of events happening from September – November timeframe (and more, of course) and so taking this decision is also not that easy.

I took a non-easy one.

You should know that, almost every year, there is a community-gathering in Croatia: one of the most popular community event, very informal, right in the middle of the Region. The event is very popular for some of you, but some others maybe don’t know what it is. It’s called “KulenDayz” and MVPs Bernardin Katic (Operation Chief :)), Tomislav Bronzin and Domagoj Pavlešić (for the web development part), with a lot of help from other Microsoft MVPs, organize this great event, widely known as “the most technical community in the whole Region”.

So, aside from the fact that dates are not perfect (at all) for many people (and this is normal, you know, people are busy :)) I decided to walk into that event, made some phone calls, asked for help and start the MVP event engine. And now we’re getting to it !

It was frustrating at the beginning: you know, I love to organize the perfect event. Of course it never happens. But my real goal here is to have MVPs coming back to their Countries and homes saying just “WOW"!” and “this was really some good quality-time spent” or “I want to do it again next year!”. You know, something like that.

KulenDayz-MVP

So, bearing in mind my goal, here are some details I’m going to share with you:

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The WHAT:

I’m very happy to announce the forthcoming Regional MVP CEE & Italy Summit ! The event is more like a social event, an opportunity to meet other MVPs from the Region, networking and mingling with each other, and get to know the Microsoft vision for the next Fiscal Year (FY13, which started on July, 1st). I really hope you’ll be able to participate!

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The WHY:

Throughout the year, we have some opportunity to meet each other but this is the best way to do it. It’s an event specifically for you, and this year it’s even bigger than the one we held in Greece 2 years ago: it will involve ALL the MVPs in the Region I represent (which is 280 Microsoft MVPs !). Having people from all over the Countries, with different cultures and opinions and background but with the same PASSION that animates all of us: SHARING your knowledge, be the first to know what’s coming next in regards of Microsoft products, be supportive in your COMMUNITIES, be available when it comes to give FEEDBACK to the Product Teams and the list goes on! And, as said, this is the first time CEE & Italy meet together in one place during a (hopefully) memorable event.

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The WHERE & WHEN:

The event will be held during the KulenDayz, one of the most community oriented technical event in the Region. There will be tons of technical sessions by the Microsoft MVPs together with other International speakers.

The event will take place from Friday the 31st of August till Sunday the 2nd of September.

I think that, if you’re not on holiday or you don’t need to work yet, it would definitely make sense to attend the event. You will meet so many International MVPs (KulenDayz will be delivered 100% in English), great speakers, great sessions I think as a technical guy (wherever you’re a developer or an ITPro) you’ll be astonished by that. So think about that, plan the trip and REGISTER HERE (have a look at the AGENDA to tantalize yourself!). As I said of course there are plenty of events happening in Region after summer (from MTS in Poland to Sinergija in Serbia, from WinDays in Croatia to TechDays Slovakia and in many other Countries, from WPC in Italy to DevReach and MS Days in Bulgaria, from Powered by MVPs! in the Baltic Region to the many ITCamps across the Region and the list goes on and on (note: have a look here to have an overview of the past events, and this is just a tiny little list :)). But here you will have a chance to meet the majority of them in a very informal (and super-cool) event!

Now and for the next 3 days we are going to finalize (hopefully everything) so I can go on holidays with no worries and but only to relax myself before the engines start again.

I’m SUPER-EXCITED about the event, believe me when I say that (and if you know me you’d know): what I do hope is that you feel the same way !!

Virtualstudy.pl: let’s go virtual !

When I was @ the Microsoft Technology Summit in Poland few weeks ago I had the pleasure to talk with a lot of MVPs @ the Community Booth that had been set up for the event. BTW, that was a HUGE event with, I presume, almost 2.500 attendees. As you can imagine, it’s the biggest annual Microsoft event in Warsaw and, from what I’ve seen, it was a real success.

BTW, I’d like to point out a great article on the event (in Polish) by MVP Piotr Pawlik.

Well, during these conversations a lot of interesting things normally come up. One of those was regarding the VirtualStudy.pl (not to mention all the other communities like WSS.pl, codeguru.pl and a lot more).

Thanks to the hard of the community members, VirtualStudy.pl now has a full support of English language, an English forum and even a few videos in English available as VOD.

At the same time the board is now looking for presenters who would like to prepare and present sessions in English (possibly with good presentation skills).

VirtualStudy.pl was created to allow users to attend online meetings and learn free of charge. Since the beginning they had quite a few interesting courses like Windows Server, SharePoint 2010 Training, SQLServer 2008, Windows Phone 7 programing, as well as 6 month C# training course which finished with an exam and certificates) where the average number of attendees was around 200-300 people.

Currently VirtualStudy.pl hosts all the previous sessions on a on-Demand basis (few hundred sessions are already available to watch).

These online sessions do not contain any marketing content, but it’s pure technical Microsoft knowledge.

And at the moment they are currently organize their first VirtualStudy.pl Conference 2011.

So this is a call to action for anyone with technical skills on Microsoft Technologies who wants to deliver English presentation.

And, just to close the topic that I started at the very beginning, these are some pictures from the MTS:

MTS Group

And this is me, powered by a customized Chrome-Joke T-shirt (:)), when I just got a nice & unexpected gift:

The Gift

Thank you for the wonderful time guys: I’ll see you next time in Warsaw (or even before, @ the MVP Global Summit !!)

First week, second one..

I didn’t have much time to review and update my blog but, as I’m here in a Starbucks in downtown Seattle waiting to get a bus to the new destination, I thought it was worthy to write down some notes.
The MVP Global Summit (#mvp11) has been a great experience to me, to my colleagues and, to my knowledge, to the MVPs. It’s always amazing to get together in this place, far far away from our hometown. It’s about building relationships, interacting with the Product Teams, engage on with new opportunities and of course having a great time during the evenings. Great technical sessions, an amazing event organization, the Safeco Field Party, the Product Group dinners, I think almost everything was perfect. Of course there’s room to grow and of course some of you may not have been that satisfied with a particular session. But it’s not that easy to accomodate all of you, because of the different backgrounds and skills you may have.
Personally, I’m very happy with the whole event. Every year is better and better.
I had almost 100 MVPs coming from the Region I represent which is huge and my only regret is that I didn’t have the chance to talk with all of you guys. I just wanted to talk with all you but I just couldn’t ! 🙂 At least I met almost all of you which is good.

Time flies and now you’re probably headed back home. I hope you’re taking with you great memories to tell your friends and families..

I’ll see you soon !

MVP Open Days, lo Stakka e l’Interoperabilità

Anche quest’anno, e come avevo già annunciato, si sono tenuti i Microsoft MVP Open Days, questa volta in Microsoft Italia.

Per me è stato un evento davvero unico, tanto per le sessioni quanto per il fatto che è “l’occasione” per antonomasia per incontrarci tutti (o quasi) insieme. Due giorni caratterizzati da incontri, roundtable, discussioni tecniche ma anche da cene e divertimento.

Vorrei ringraziare in particolar modo Microsoft Italia, che mi ha permesso di organizzare un evento così importante per me personalmente. Dall’impeccabile organizzazione di Marina Brumat, alla partecipazione dei tanti colleghi (dalla Divisione TechNet Italia a tutta la Divisione MSDN Italia) che hanno voluto scambiare quattro chiacchiere (certe volte anche più di 4 :)), agli speaker quali l’Amministratore Delegato Pietro Scott Jovane al nostro Direttore Relazioni Esterne e Corporate Marketing Carlo Rossanigo ai nostri Direttori di Divisione Anders Nilsson (Developer), Matteo Mille (ITPro), Pierpaolo Boccadamo (Direttore Platform Strategy) e Pierluigi Mazzuca (Direttore Customer Consumer Experience and Services) per passare ai pluri-apprezzati Giorgio Malusardi e Aldo Donetti ed ai former MVP Lorenzo Barbieri e Giorgio Cifani fino ad arrivare al bravissimo Andrea Contino che mi ha permesso di fare 2 + 2 interviste, nei ritagli di tempo, ad alcuni MVP Italiani. E poi Enrico Bonatti (Direttore Divisione Information Worker), Pietro Panepinto, Licia Corbolante, Silvia Lala… la lista è molto lunga (e davvero mi scuso se non ho menzionato tutti).

OpenDays

E’ stato un evento indimenticabile, che ha permesso agli MVP di incontrare tanti ma tanti colleghi che si sono prestati anche di sabato pur di poterli incontrare. E poi la cena, la serata unica e speciale (oltre al fatto che era il mio compleanno ;-)) che, non fosse stato che il giorno dopo l’evento continuava, sarebbe durata di sicuro tutta la notte !

E poi, ovviamente, un grazie speciale ai tanti MVP che hanno partecipato (alcuni dei quali prendendo ferie, facendo i salti mortali per poterci essere, restando 2 giorni lontani da casa per poter stare insieme). Ovviamente sono “di parte” ma credo che il contributo tecnico che ogni giorno, con pazienza, viene fornito dagli MVP all’interno delle community online ed offline non sia cosa da poco. Gli utenti lo sapevano, io lo sapevo, Microsoft lo sa. E questo evento è stato, come direbbe Frankie:

“Un Omaggio, Un Tributo, Un Riconoscimento”. GRAZIE !