Alas, the fourth MSN Search Champs is over. Although I'm at Microsoft, I'm not an MSN'er, so I had two reasons for being there.
The first was that I was invited by Brady Forrest as he wanted my feedback on aspects of the MSN products in development. The second reason was mine: I wanted to experience the event as an attendee. As my new role in the Data Programmability team is all about community engagement, I was there to learn and see what my team could replicate in terms of an event format. I have to say I was really impressed and want to do the same for my area.
I've since seen quite a few posts by other attendees in the last few days, but I wanted highlight one post by Ted Leung (who I've subscribed to since the Seattle Mind Camp). Although he was invited he wasn't sure he wanted to go at first:
"I debated with myself over whether or not to attend. I imagined all the flak that I was going to take from open source people for going to a Microsoft sponsored event. I pondered the prospect of actually helping Microsoft improve their products, which could be a double edged sword.
...It basically came down to this: if we want the world to be a better place, then people have to start to talk to each other, listen to each other and learn to trust each other."
I'm really pleased Ted decided come, his feedback was thoughtful and direct thoughout the event. It's what we were looking for.
The event gave me a chance to meet a bunch of people I've had in my opml file but hadn't previously met. It's a funny thing to meet people who's work you admire and blogs you read, it is humbling. I made some good friends this week that now go beyond an RSS subscription.