We’re fired up about Microsoft Ignite Sept. 25-29 in Orlando and we decided to share seven essentials to get ready for attending the annual sold out tech conference with 700-plus sessions, insights, roadmaps, deep dives, and live demos.
You will be snapping photos, twittering, and trying to catch up on email. This is #1 essential. Make sure they work, some of those small cheap ones really don’t work well for 2 charges and that should be the minimum bar. Size is also essential. It needs to fit well in the pocket with a decent cord that won’t go out.
Don’t forget to add the parties, socials, giveaways, lunch meetups and such on a consolidated notification rich calendar. I say consolidated because some Event Brites may show up on a personal calendar and Facebook events may show up elsewhere. You need them all on one calendar. If you are wondering what I’m talking about in terms of parties, do some looking around. There are parties and social gatherings happening every night. (@spcpartypatrol, @joeloleson and @vladcatrinescu have been reliable resources and know what I’m talking about)
Arrive early at keynote
Early isn’t early enough for the keynote. If you’ve committed to attend the keynote in person (which you should), be sure to plan to get there at least an hour early. Seriously, it is always overflow for those who think they can get there late. It will fill up and you’ll be watching it on a screen, which you could do in your hotel room. The keynote(s) are some of the most important announcements of the year and you should be in the room for the gasps and cheers. That energy will get you through another year of working with Microsoft products. It’s good for the mind and career.
Exhibit Hall Goodness
Don’t underestimate the power of the exhibit hall as a solution to lots of what you need. At first glance it may seem like a big sales event, but there is so much more to it. Every exhibitor is there to show off their new warez, and it is a competition to discover the latest and greatest solutions that address the exact problems you’re having. In addition look for community hangout spots. It could be the SharePoint/Office 365 area or lounge, could be a common area or near one of the anchor booths, but keep an eye out for good meet up spots where you can connect with people in the community. Those exhibit hall conversations can be invaluable and last a lifetime.
Session research ahead of time
Don’t wait until you arrive to scope out the sessions you want to see. The online tools, apps, and such can make it easier to decide, but even putting two competing sessions on your calendar is worthwhile as you’ll meet up with buddies who you can compare schedules with. Divide and conquer with colleagues is a good strategy on some of the competing sessions.
Ignite is about Networking, Lunch Meetings, SharePints, Parties and Social Meetups
It does pay off to setup times to meet up with people you haven’t seen in years. Meet up at lunch, social events, or the special lunch time sessions some vendors host with better food than the exhibit hall. Yes it’s worth it.
It’s a really good idea to bring a few questions about what you’re doing. Some of the best payoff you’ll get at an event like this is opinions from the industry experts, your peers, enterprise customers, architects, tons of high end free consulting advice. Ask your team if you don’t have any.
One other thing to remember when packing for this trip is that Ignite is collecting Hurricane Irma relief donations. You can bring new, unused items like toiletries, diapers, baby wipes, socks, shampoo, and soap.
A steady stream of SharePoint news has been coming out in the days and weeks leading up to Ignite. If you can’t make it there this year, there’s a livestream the 25th and you can always follow #MSIgnite on social media for updates during, and recaps afterwards. If any of that sparks a need for SharePoint help, contact Fpweb for SharePoint everything!