It has been a week since I returned from the MVP Summit and, as usual, it was great. What made it all the more unique was Election Day coinciding with Summit. Like many major events, I know exactly where I was when the Electors of the College system got told by the people of the USA who to consider voting for a month later (yes, it is a weird system). In this case, I was in Joey’s Bar in Bellevue emptying them of Old Fashioneds.
Reveal Your Secrets
As usual I cannot reveal too much about what was discussed as it is under strict NDA. The product team presented for three days on various aspects of the product from the future direction of the look and feel, through to the architecture.
From Jujhar Singh down, the team presented the direction they are heading and, incredibly, asked for our feedback. It really is amazing that the architects of a global software product take time out from their insane schedules to reveal their dark secrets to a group of relative strangers for a few days.
What I will say is everything they said about where they are taking the product made sense and, in terms of the product, unlike in other years, there was very little pushback from the MVP crowd.
The Giants of Industry
Other than meeting the product team the other ‘giants of industry’ at the conference were the other CRM MVPs (now called Business Solution MVPs). This “Who’s Who” of the CRM community is a serious drawcard for flying 20-odd hours, each way, to get to the Summit.
This was the closest we got to a group photo this year and, for all the developers reading (yes, both of you), that is indeed Scott Guthrie on the right hand side in his iconic red shirt (for the others, if you do not know who Scott is, apparently he has something to do with Azure and .Net). I am on the far left doing my best impression of a pregnant monk.
All In With the MVPs
There was also time for some play. Turning out to be something of a Summit tradition, the CRM MVPs had their friendly poker game (No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, $20 ‘In’) with the winner shouting everyone a drink at Joey’s. This year, the honor of winning and shouting everyone a drink went to Gus Gonzalez. Gus tells me that the fact he provided the poker deck and was the dealer for the entire game is correlated with him winning but, in no way, is there a causal link. Who am I to argue?
And, as usual, Santa made his appearance to hand out gifts to the good CRM MVP boys and girls as part of the Summit Secret Santa. Santa’s knee got a good workout this year and everyone went home with a smile and a gift from a different part of the world.
For those of us in far-flung locations, the MVP Summit is quite an undertaking. We are away from our family for around a week, of which a couple of days are spent sitting in a chair flying halfway around the world.
However, it really is worth it. Seeing the direction of the product, meeting the product team and playing catch up on the areas of the product where I just have not had time to explore (and there is so much to get across these days) is time well spent.
Equally worthwhile is catching up with my fellow Business Solution MVPs. They are all excellent, passionate people. Whether it is playing poker, catching up for a few drinks or discussing politics, all of them are great to hang out with in the flesh, rather than briefly interacting with them online.
I expect I say this every year but one of the biggest highlights for being an MVP is the Summit and hanging out with this group of crazy CRM fanatics. If you have the chance to join us, I highly recommend it.