We are almost halfway of the first quarter for Microsoft financial year, a month after the partner convention, which has been rebranded “Inspire”.
Now that I am not a newbie any more, I can step back a bit and see past the awe of the first event.
The setting this year was in Washington DC, which is great place for these kind of events. There are many hotels nearby, the city center is small enough to walk around, and there are many chic places for the evenings.
This is not a travel blog, so I will not go further into the tourism information.
This year we had decided, with our PSE, to have a lighter Microsoft agenda, and to be able to attend more sessions and impromptu meetings. I have to say that it was a wise choice. It allowed us to make new connections, to network quietly and to enjoy the Expo and the other partners. Note that I found it way easier to network this time, as our company was better known in the ecosystem, and we also had a better knowledge of the various people, names and acronyms used throughout Microsoft.
This year I was able to attend several sessions, with different format : roundtables, breakout, demo theater, workshop and of course keynotes. The content was really good, though it is definitely not a technical event.
The best way to have a technical discussion is to go to the Microsoft pods with a specific subject in mind and ask for an expert on that matter. Also these pods provide good help and advice on how to build or develop your business along the current track or toward a brand new scope (yes GDPR was a recurrent topic, I’ll write separately about that later on).
I have met many amazing partners and vendors, through the social events, or on their booths and we have started to build new relationships that will hopefully help develop all our business and knowledge.
Once again, it is an event where you have to be prepared, and be prepared to change your plans.
First you need to have an idea of your goal beforehand. Do you want to find new partners within the ecosystem? Would you rather gian some traction or visibility in that ecosystem, both from Microsoft and from the other partners? Are you open to new business opportunities? Are you here to listen to the keynote and get a feeling of what is coming for the near future?
Then, you need to build your agenda around that goal : sessions, meetings, events etc. But do remember to leave some room to be able to continue a discussion with an unexpected partner, or be ready to not attend a session live and see the recording, because something else popped up.
And mostly, have fun 🙂