THE SEATTLE EXPERIENCE
MSP Summit 2014 Experience
It was an awesome experience for me to attend the Microsoft Student Partners (MSP) Summit this year in Seattle Washington. Some of my feelings are quite inexpressible in words. I was able to meet and connect with 74 other MSPs from 49 other countries around the world under one roof. Believe, if not the coolest, these are one of coolest and best set of people to hang out with. They are techy, caring, fun and exciting.
The MSP Summit was held alongside the Microsoft Imagine Cup (IC) World Finals of which we witnessed the grand-finale and awards presentation. There were sessions upon sessions, Q and A. And yeah, I saw my favorite Senior Technical Evangelist LIVE-Jaime Rodriguez amongst many others I have been following through their lessons on Channel 9, Microsoft Virtual Academy and Social Media.
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It was great news for me to hear that I have been nominated and selected to attend the Worldwide Microsoft Student Partners (MSP) Summit in Seattle, Washington. It was a call from the local Microsoft office in Nigeria followed by an email from the MSP Senior Program Manager, Scott Burmester. Preparations started towards the trip to get all travel documents ready and day by day, it finally was the day to take the trip-July 27, 2014 on a 2:30pm flight. My first flight out of my home country. I knew it was gonna be a great experience.
Arrival in Seattle
I arrived at the University of Washington with Rahat from Bangladesh at about 2:30pm PDT on Monday 28th
July 2014. We checked in into Alder Dorm, settled in and met later in the night with others that arrived on the same day with us. I missed dinner time!
More MSP arrived today, Imagine cup competitors are also coming in, registrations and breakfast. Settled into my room after breakfast to catch up on some work while the others had a tour of downtown Seattle. Later in the day we had a session with the Microsoft Chief Storyteller-Steve Clayton in Kane Hall, University of Washington, where we were taught how to have a great demo. Highlights included having backups for your demos and presentations, proper timing ad practice.. We also had the opportunity to see the Skype Translate demo for WPC. Earlier on had met the Senior MSP Program Manager Worldwide- Scott Burmester. Yeah, he was bigger than I thought. He was the one in charge of the summit planning and execution. Settled in later for dinner.
Up early to take a trip to the Microsoft Campus at Redmond. And yeah, there are some things I can’t tell you about what happened there. NDA stuff!… So I’ll tell you what I am allowed to.
We got to the Microsoft Campus where 40,000 people work every day! We had our stop at Building 92 to kick start our sessions.
First greeted by Scott Burmester and then the first session of four for the morning.
Audience Marketing Insights by Kurt Steck, General Manager Developer Audience
We got to hear about the roles of the Developer Experience Group and the transitions that have occurred in the program title from time to time. We also got to know that the Developer Experience Program pretty much follows the Microsoft Dream of reaching out to the world.
Redmond Startup Program by Murat Berme, Technical Evangelist Emerging Business
This session featured introduction to the support Microsoft offers to startups around the world. It’s new in the hood but it’s a BIG project.
It’s a program that is also open to students.
MVP Mentorship Program by Kari Finn, Senior Program Manager MVP Program
In this session, we were able to learn what it takes to be a Most Valuable Professional (MVP), the nomination and selection criteria.
Main point to take home-Keep on making impact and surely, you’re gonna get recognition for it. There are great benefits also attached to this program.
Well, I got a toolkit for asking a question.
Universal Windows Apps and Q & A by Giorgio Sardo, Senior Director Evangelism
Giorgio was an MSP, won Imagine Cup once and then started working at Microsoft. Cool guy. We had more of Q and A with him. He is a really great and fun person to interact with. He told us about his career path and gave insights about Microsoft.
We had lunch at the Mixer and continued our sessions.
Windows and Windows Phone by Bryan Tomlinson, Senior Product Marketing Manager Windows
In this session, we saw demos of the Windows and Windows Phone OS and some exciting new features. Personally, I learnt some new techniques to doing a product demo especially for the Windows Phone.
Games Development by Andrew Parsons, Senior Technical Evangelist.
We had Q and A on Games Development. Here I had the opportunity to see live Jaime Rodriquez. We talked on XNA, Game Engines, et al. This session lasted an hour.
To wrap up the day, we had a walk to Microsoft Soccer Field to see the product fair. We MSPs also had the opportunity to showcase our applications.
Really, I must say I was thrilled by the innovation from MSPs. I saw VLC for WinRT, WP demoed live by Thomas Nigro from France. Thomas is on the popular VLC Media Player development team. I saw Wallbase, TV Series, Movie Ratings, Opprox, Beetle, CSS 3 Creator, Bubble Blow, UV Sensor (I hope I got the name right) and a whole lot of other great apps from MSPs. I also had the chance to see Imagine Cup projects. One really caught my interest- claVision from Canada. Other great apps: Catara, Butterfly, Cuddle, Eyenaemia, mDex, Project Amp, Face Controller, Riplle, Petite, Liaison, and great lots.
After the product fair, we headed back to U-Dub to settle for the night.
Woke up quite early today, breakfast was on the bus. Today was gonna be sessions on role of MSPs, Microsoft Research and whole lot of interesting stuff.
The Role of MSPs by Victoria Grady, Senior Director Developer Audience
This session was a great eye opener for me into my roles as a Microsoft Student Partner. I got to know a whole lot about more things I can do and opportunities that exist for me.
Microsoft Research by Rane Johnson, Director Microsoft Research
In this session, we saw insights into the Microsoft Research Program, the requirements for getting into MS Research, the work they do and amazing projects going on at Research and how they work alongside the Products and Services groups in Microsoft.
How to Get a Job in the Tech by Valerie Anderson, College Staffing Consultant
This session introduced us to what it really takes to get a job at a technology firm, pointers to what recruiters are looking for and interview tips.
Kinect for Windows by Ben Lower, Developer Community Manager Kinect for Windows
Unfortunately, I missed the session. I was attending my mock interview and trust me it was a great session.
YouthSpark MSP Program by Yvonne Thomas, Senior Program Manager YouthSpark and Suphatra Laviolette, Digital Marketing Manager YouthSpark
I joined this session half way. And yeah, what I met was enough to take home. The #YouthSpark program is all about making people technology aware targeting the younger generation mostly because of their eagerness to learn and explore new possibilities. As MSPs, our reach has been widened now form our campuses to our communities. We got to register right there and started the #ChangeSpark.
Product Showcase 2
This was the second day of the product showcase. I got to show the app my friends and I worked on and saw some other great apps too. Really really cool stuff. The AppCampus Award winners were announced.
Imagine Cup World Finals
This day marked the official end of the Imagine Cup Competition. The Imagine Cup winners from each categories are to be judged by Microsoft CEO, Founder CODE.ORG and the General Manager of Reddit. It was an amazing day, I got to be in the same hall with the CEO of Microsoft Corporation.
The results of the competition can be found at the Imagine Cup Website.
I have been curious what the Seattle Chase was all about. On this day, I got to know. You can get details of the Seattle Chase by searching online. Time fails me to write all about it.
Imagine Cup Party and Dinner
Later in the day, we were at EMP for the Imagine Cup party and dinner. It was a great time.
This morning, we had a ride to the Museum Of History And Industry (MOHAI) for the Imagine Cup People’s Choice Awards. At about 1:30pm, the winners were announced.
As the sun was going down, my first trip to the USA was coming to an end also. We went on the sea fair and it was great time. I had some photo shoots and headed back to U-Dub.
This was a Sunday and my day to leave U-Dub. I packed my bags and tidies up all things. Ready for my flight out of Seattle. Got on my flight and yeah, I was out of Seattle by 6:00pm.
The MSP Summit and Imagine Cup was a great exposure for me. And the lessons learnt and friends made.
Above all, I thank God for keeping me to experience this amazing time of my life. My family’s support can never go unappreciated. They have been the best support I have ever had in my life. And to my friends for believing me and not minding my geekiness at most times. And to Microsoft Corporation and all her staff involved in this trip.
See y’all at the top!