Editor's Note: The following post was written by Windows Phone Development MVP Matteo Pagani
This year it will be my third summit and I already know it will be a gorgeous experience, like the previous times. Content, insights and future plans that are shared by your product team are, for sure, one of the main reasons to attend the summit but, what makes it an extraordinary experience, is getting in touch with the people: networking is the key, both with the product team members and with your MVP friends.
So, my first tip is: don’t be shy! The MVP summit is the perfect chance to know for real people that was just a mail address or a Twitter handle: you’re part of a global community, so the best way to enjoy the summit is to go out from the inner circle of your local peers and know people from all over the world! It will help make the difference in the future and, why not try to find new and important friends! An example? In October me and some other MVP friends from all around the world organized a global initiative called, Windows Phone Week. it was a crazy idea to host a Windows Phone event in 3 countries that suddenly exploded and became a global event in more than 20 countries. It would have never be possible if I didn’t have the chance to meet, in person, the other MVPs and the Microsoft’s product team that supported our idea during the MVP Summit in February 2013.
For the same reason, I suggest you don't skip any networking events that have been organized by the team: MVP Showcase, Welcome Reception, Product Group Evening event and Attendee Party. They are all great chances to engage with your MVP friends! If you want to spend some time as a tourist, it’s better to save some time before or after the MVP summit, not during it.
My second tip is to plan your schedule carefully: activities usually start early in the morning and, especially if you have to move to the campus in Redmond, you have to plan enough time to have breakfast, to travel to the campus with the available shuttles and, once there, to find the exact building where your activity will be held. So, set your alarm at least one hour and a half before the beginning of the activities: being late is not an option!
My third and last tip is to take some time and arrive in Seattle some days before the beginning of the summit: most of all, because it will help you to adapt to the new time zone, especially if, like me, you come from Europe. This way, you can avoid falling asleep in the middle of an interesting presentation. Moreover, you will have a chance to pay a visit to Seattle, which offers many nice places, like The Space Needle, the Sci-Fi museum or Pike Market. And if you’re a geek like me, I strongly suggest you pay a visit to the comic store under Pike Market: you will find a world of comics, gadgets from movies, TV series and cartoons like I’ve never seen anywhere else. In addition, since you’re an MVP and probably a tech addict too, it's worth it to pay a visit to the big tech shops around Bellevue, like the Microsoft Store, Best Buy or Fry’s. The only downside? Get ready to hear your credit card crying!
About the author
Matteo Pagani is a developer with a strong passion about mobile development, focused on the Windows Phone platform and Microsoft technologies. He graduated in computer science in 2007 and, right after, he started his first job experience as a web developer. In subsequent years he started to show great interest in mobile development and, especially, in the Windows Phone platform: a passion he started to share with the communities by opening two blogs (in Italian and in English), where he regularly wrote articles and technical posts about his experience with the Windows Phone and Windows 8 platforms. He is a regular writer for many technical websites and he wrote the first Italian book about Windows Phone 8 development, published by *** Editore. He is also a speaker and he joined many communities and official conferences like WhyMCA, WPC, Community Days, etc. He is a member of the Italian community DotNetLombardia too. Since January 2011 he’s a Microsoft MVP in the Windows Phone Development category and, since October 2012, he’s been awarded as Nokia Developer Champion. Actually, he works in Funambol as a developer in the Windows team, where he works on Windows Phone and Windows 8 projects.