Where is the Love, Microsoft?

July 11, 2008 at 6:14 pm Leave a comment

By Diane Krakora

Holding a worldwide partner conference in Houston in July? Are you kidding me? That’s no way to show partners’ the love. I’ve been to 8 partner summits this year and it ends with Houston in July? Where is the love? Cisco’s held their partner summit in Honolulu in April. Now that’s big partner love. Even IBM’s partner business leadership conference in Los Angeles in May is better than Houston in July.

Houstonis hard to get to. You pretty much have to fly Continental to get there. Have you EVER flown Continental airlines? They serve you “food” on the plane – in coach. That’s not a good thing.  Its 95+ degrees out with 93% humidity. Who wants to eat, drink, mingle and learn in that kind of oppressing heat? Maybe the strategy is to motivate the attendees to stay in the convention center and go to sessions. However the crew of German partners I’ve talked to on this first evening of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), feels one of the key reasons partners site to go to conferences is to mix and mingle with others – solution providers, ISVs and Microsoft people.

I don’t mean to sound negative, I’m just hot and sweaty and I didn’t have great Continental or Houston (Bush) Airport experience. There are good things about this conference. WPC Connect is a great way to schedule meetings. Think of it as a facebook – or better yet, Match.com, for business connections. You enter your profile and what you’re looking for and it finds people that match your interests. 2 to 3 coordination emails later and you have a meeting time and table. There are over 200 tables in the WPC Connect area – so remember that number! (and good luck finding it as people start moving the table numbers around).

With 12,000 attendees I can see where 200 meeting tables might not be enough. You definitely need a PHd to effectively navigate this event. The conference guide is over 40 pages. There are four opportunities to attend break out sessions each day. And 20 different options for each break out time – and they never repeat. Each session choice is color-coded for the solutions track to which it belongs: Application Platform, Business Leadership, Business Productivity, Core Infrastructure, Microsoft Dynamics, Mobility, Sales and Marketing, Security, Small and Medium Business, Software + Services, Window’s Vista, Hands-on Labs. And some sessions are recommended for certain types of partners: Learning, ISV, Software + Services, Enterprise Partner Group, Large Account Resellers and Distributors, Web Partners.  I want a cross section of how Microsoft is engaging and empowering partners, so I’m going to mix-it up in the next three days. You can join the conference without having to come to Houston in July – just log on to: www.microsoft.com/digitalwpc. You can view most of the sessions and presentations. And, I’ll keep you updated with the social aspects J.

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