Monday, July 16, 2007

Worldwide Partner Conference Wrap-up

John is taking some well-earned time off and has passed the WWPC-blogging mantle to me, so I'll do the wrap-up post.

As I alluded to in my previous post, the most rewarding part of a Partner Conference is the chance to meet with so many Microsofties in one place.

Of course, the keynotes were fun and flashy (and, for at least the third year in a row, the music was provided by the incomparable EB Fraley band—that guy has become the “other” face of the partner conference). They’re usually pretty darn rah-rah, and there is much to rah about this year (again). As Don Dodge noted last year, Microsoft is growing by approximately one Google per year. It’s phenomenal. Windows Server is not only selling more than Linux, it’s also growing faster than Linux. BizTalk sales were up 30% last year. We didn’t get any firm numbers (the fiscal year just ended), but they’re optimistic about another banner year.

Most of that cheering and backslapping about sales is to get the partners excited about selling more Microsoft products (96% of Microsoft sales happen through partners, and each dollar of Microsoft license is accompanied on average by about fifteen dollars of partner revenue—how’s that for an enormous ecosystem?). But for an ISV, that stuff isn’t as compelling as the sessions.

My favorite session was Chris Bernard and Chris Treadway’s session on Silverlight. Very impressive technology, and it was cool to see a bit of code. I would like to have seen a bit more, but then again I suppose I should have gone to TechEd if I wanted to see code. Wilhelmina Duyvestyn gave a good session on Windows Server 2008 (informative enough that I’ll do a separate post on that product later).

But, as I’ve said, the real value was in the networking. We went to a dinner for the ISV Award finalists, where John sat with Dan’l Lewin of the Emerging Business Team while I sat next to Justine White who manages marketing for the ISV Group. Chris Olsen and Naseem Tuffaha of the ISV sales and marketing team were there, too. We went to a reception sponsored by Ansys and Mathworks, and ran into Dieter Mai and Travis Hatmaker from the HPC Team. We stayed at the same hotel as Amy Lucia and her team—she’s the director of marketing for US ISV Strategy.

John had a 30 minute sit-down with Andy Lees, who heads up the Servers and Tools division. I ran into Gianpaolo Carraro, SaaS Architect, at the ISV party.

Add those Microsoft meetings the countless encounters with partners—at meals, on buses, every where you turn.

John has complained many times about how difficult it is to use the partner online tools. It’s hard to find partners, it’s hard to find sales, it’s hard to do just about anything. But the three days of the Worldwide Partner Conference make all of that easy. I’ve said it before, and I’ll end with it now: anyone serious about working in this ecosystem simply can’t miss this conference.

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