Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Owe Allison Watson Lunch

Ok, not really. But if I run into her this year, I'll offer to buy her lunch.

Last year's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference was a logistical nightmare. The city of Boston just didn't seem capable of hosting 10,000 people: the 2-mile bus ride to the hotel routinely took an hour, and the convention center simply could not feed everyone (I went three consecutive days without getting lunch, which I blogged about in a post famously titled "Allison Watson Owes Me Lunch.")

This year, however, is night-and-day in comparison. Logistically, everything here has gone just about perfectly. The buses run frequently and quickly. The food in the convention center is not only abundant, but actually good. There are snacks (both healthy and unhealthy) available constantly.

And the city of Denver has definitely played great hosts. The employees at the convention center greet us with friendly smiles everywhere. This morning as we walked in to breakfast, they were actually cheering us in (I kept thinking, "Did Margo Day put them up to this?").

Even when the logistics suck like last year, Worldwide Partner Conference is worth attending for any Microsoft partner. I'll have one more WPC post where I'll talk about some of the things I've learned, but suffice it to say: the content is always good.

More important than the content, though, are the contacts. Microsoft sends thousands of people here, from Ballmer on down. They're surprisingly accessible, and they're all here to meet partners. You get good information, and you get good networking.

But when you add in an actual pleasurable experience in a great city, it makes it even more worthwhile. So if I bump in to Allison in the halls of Redmond this year--I'll ask her if she wants me to treat her to lunch! Oh, and Allison: if Denver asks to have us back, tell them yes!

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