Microsoft Ignite Conference

Lobby of OCCC South

The whole reason I went to the US was to attend the Microsoft Ignite conference. It’s an annual conference Microsoft has where they reveal a lot of new stuff they are either launching or working on and have sessions and workshops. Our company sends 2-3 people to that conference but since the ticket, hotel and flight (not to mention the time from doing actual work) the cost goes up quite a lot for the company. This year I got to go for the first time as kind of reward for good working migrating to Exchange Online. My cloud-colleague Michael also got to go but unlike me he knew some Swedish consultants that were also going so we could hang with them when we’re not at the actual conference. After an initial scare it was going to be called off thanks to Hurrican Irma we were ready to go!

And it really was fortunate that we were the ones to go since sooooo many of the sessions and talk was about Office 365, Azure and the cloud! It was really hard to find sessions that talked about on premises stuff but I managed to go to a few! The event started officially on Monday morning with a vision keynote by Satya, the CEO of Microsoft and had a bit of this and that in it.

Trying to get the new about OneDrive

After that it was a technical keynote of the digital workplace and then it was just one “breakout” session after another. I think I attended a total of 20 sessions in total and almost got overloaded with information. I used my cellphone to take photos of some presentation slides to remember what that session was about and what we’d covered in what sessions!

Another great thing about these events is that you meet the people who are actually working on the other side – when I’m freaking out over the bad SharePoint Online admin center “well that guy right over there is the program manager of that, go talk to him”. Which I did. “Well you’ll glad to know we’re working on version 2, mail us and we’ll get you into the preview”. Done and done! And seeing some really pros at doing presentations, like Anne Michels who constantly made jokes on her expense (and sometimes even Mr. Michels).

And on Thursday evening Microsoft had “rented” the entire Universal Studios Orlando theme park for us! All you can eat, drink and ride all evening long! That was certainly an experience since we don’t have anything close to these theme parks in Sweden! We have plenty of amusement parks, but no theme parks, certainly not like this where you can walk into Jurassic Park and have a dinoburger!

Then friday was kind of winding down and collecting thoughts and writing reports on what I’ve learnt and then on Saturday the long trek back to Stockholm began. I checked in at the airport at about 2pm on Saturday and passed through customs in Stockholm at about 1pm on the Sunday.

But all in all it was an absolutely awesome experience and conference to attend for me. The downside was of course being away from my family for 8 days, that really felt long in the end. My and the wife have never been away from each other for that long since we moved in together 8 years ago!