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Our first Surface Hub Event !

Yes, the title says it itself, although it’s gonna be more than that. But yes, we are gonna host the first IBV event related to the #SurfaceHub (and the #HoloLens) here in Zurich next week. You can’t imagine the excitement I can feel around me! And the excitement is pretty high on my side too as it’s the first IBV event that I co-organize somehow. I wish it could all be perfect but, although we know we can’t hit the top (the 100% perfection), me and my “counterpart” Michi are very confident it’s gonna be successful and we’re gonna get close to that number!

But let me do a step back on: Why we are doing this? Well, since I joined IBV one of the things we started to do was to embrace new technologies, technologies you can bet they’re going to represent the future for all of us. No matter what the size or the weight they have right now, in just a few years we will see them getting better and better (as it always happens with technology, or at least most of the times). This concept perfectly applies to #virtualreality or #augmentedreality or better #mixedreality devices. We don’t know what will come up in the near future, we just know that some technologies will be more successful than others. That’s a fact, or at least this is what we believe as part of our Vision. That is why we are concentrating our efforts on two of the most exciting hardware devices Microsoft has built over the course of the last few years: the Surface Hub and the HoloLens. These 2 devices have a complete different story and of course some of you may wonder why we put them together. Well, first of all because they somehow represent, together with other things we do here, our playground for now and the future of IBV, then because it’s really clear Microsoft is betting a lot on these devices and third, well the 3rd one is more like a surprise if you’re gonna attend our event 🙂

Me and Michael today are gonna do some preparation because, hey, I forgot to tell you something important. The event is called “Surface Hub meets the HoloLens” and I told this has a meaning and it’s not just a marketing keyword to attract more people (or is it? :))

area-map

The location is the Swisshotel in Zurich. It’s a location that is also very much used by large Corporations (including Microsoft Switzerland) to host their events as it’s close to the city center and the airport, very close to the train station, together with other amenities you can’t find in other places. I found in there well-prepared organizers and technicians so I think we’re safe on that side.

I’m also really excited as the “Crew” (this is how I like to call it) is formed by amazing and passionate people: Michael, Gian, Tamara, Livia, Marina, Nicole and Corrado and of course our CEO which I’ll try not to involve too much (you know, he’s the Big Boss, he might be busy :)). But I’m really confident, as I’ll be surrounded by these amazing people, that not only the event is gonna be successful but it will surely be repeated somewhere else in Europe soon.

I wish I could tell you more but the only thing you can do is to really immerse yourself in this journey together with us and to take a flight and be here on Wednesday, next week! Alternatively, you can still come back here or in our new website to get content and follow up of the event 🙂

Talk to you soon!

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How to build a successful Community

In my previous post, I talked about the Power of Communities. Now, I hope you digested this information (or you probably already knew about that) and made it yours because it opens up a world of opportunities.

As we now already covered the WHAT and the WHY, I would like to talk about the HOW, which is the most difficult part (at least for some people and some Companies as well). We all know that there are plenty of Communities out there, talking about different things: cars, travels, technology, apparel, houses, (even Banks!), you name it. And there are a myriad of articles related to this topic. I just want to give my contribution to it. And this time, I would primarily focus on the Technical Communities…

 

Continue reading…

IT Camp, May 26-27, Cluj (Romania)

There was a time in which I was able to attend a lot of events driven by the Communities. There was a time in which I felt so close with the communities and I gotta say I never experienced such a passion and excitement ever again. Being a Team Manager in Microsoft for 3 years gave me a great professional experience and managing a Team of amazing people has been really exciting, challenging yet very satisfying. What did I miss?

ITCamp

Read more here….

Big change, No changes…

Well, this is something I was never expecting to write on my blog. Something huge, at least for me, something that marks a personal milestone in my life.

I’ve been working for the MVP Award Program for several years: first, as a Community Program Manager (aka MVP Lead) for Italy, then, little by little, my manager gave me this great opportunity to take also care of the MVP Program in Central and Eastern Europe. That was a big change too, not only because of the increased number of MVPs I was about to represent, but also managing the business in 21 Countries meaning talking to the local stakeholders and making sure the MVP Program was getting enough visibility and awareness for the sake of both parties.

During this journey I met Amazing People, from so many different Countries and with different cultures and backgrounds I only dreamed of. Amazing and talented people from half of the Continent, I had the pleasure to attend so many different events and social gatherings, I had the opportunity to visit places that were only in my dreams. And all of this, I still have vividly on my mind.

Now is the time for a change. Big change. Huge change, as I said, at least for me. Well, to be honest I am not going anywhere (if someone is worrying about me leaving the Company I love :)). Even more, I’m not leaving the MVP Award Program, the Program I helped to build and that I never, for a moment, doubted its existence and its power and strength in the online and offline Communities.

road

So what’s the big deal then? I’m thrilled and honored to announce that I’ve been appointed Regional Manager for EMEA. WOW !! I still can’t believe that. The amazing thing is that the Team I love, the Program I love, the Communities I started to love years ago, will still part of my life :).

I’ll be driving the Program in the whole Region, going to talk to a lot of different colleagues (internal awareness, as in all the Companies, it’s an important part of any Program) as a sort of “MVP Evangelist” as well as externally to the broad audience.

I’ll be responsible for the “EMEA Dream Team”, Talented People who, on a daily basis, take care of the MVP Award Program in different areas of the Region, driving the business in the Countries they represent and making sure other parties engage the MVPs in various activities.

This wouldn’t have happened without the learning process I’ve been involved in: great Managers, a great Executive Team, great people around me from which I learned a lot and to whom I’m really grateful. And it’s not just a bunch of people, I think the learning curve went up in the last 2 years also because of the many people I had the pleasure to interact with. Whether it was during an event, on Twitter, on Facebook, by e-mail, through Lync meetings and in-person discussions and roundtable. Wow, if I think about that I really can’t count the number of online and offline interactions I had during the last few years !

Having said that, I’ll be soon announcing, by email this time, the changes that will happen in the Region. Specifically for CEE & Italy MVPs, don’t worry about a thing, you’ll be in good hands! But right now I just wanted to drop down a few lines, making sure you’d see me happily jumping in the office, from one meeting room to another (you got the picture right? :))

Thank YOU so much for trusting me, I’m intending to return the favor by doing my best and make the Program, with the help of the EMEA Team, even better in the whole Region !

Microsoft MVP Award – January 2013 !

After Christmas, holidays (for the lucky ones who had them) and the New Year, I really hope you enjoyed them as mush I did.

This post is something a lot of people are waiting for: this is about the new Microsoft MVP Awardees @ the 1st of January.

As you may know, the Microsoft MVP Program is an Award given to exceptional people who voluntarily shared their knowledge on Microsoft products. Whether it’s an online forum or a technical speech, the Microsoft MVPs are independent people who gained the trust of their peers by facts. It’s about communities, it’s about sharing the personal/professional experience they acquired on the field. It’s about giving feedback, providing guidance to their online and offline peers. It’s about sharing.

And every 3 months, we evaluate old and new potential and current MVPs to get the best and brightest and I hope we’re doing a good job !

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Finding the right people is the #1 goal and, as said, sometimes it’s not easy. But I can tell you I’m helped by a lot of people in this process. So now please join me in Congratulating the following awarded people as Microsoft MVPs (sorted by name), living in Central, Eastern Europe (excluding Russia and CIS Countries) and Italy:

Influencer Technical Expertise Country/Region
Bill  Stavroulakis ASP.NET/IIS Greece
Boriana  Petrova Excel Bulgaria
Darko  Jovišić Dynamics CRM Croatia
Grzegorz  Gałęzowski PowerShell Poland
Jovan  Popovic ASP.NET/IIS Serbia
Robert  Voncina SharePoint Server Slovenia
Vlatko  Ivanovski Visual Studio ALM Macedonia F.Y.R.O

A BIG CONGRATS to the Microsoft MVPs who have been renewed this Award cycle: the list is long so I apologize in advance if I don’t post the whole list but I still want to congratulate them for their community involvement. Being renewed is as tough as being awarded for the first time and being involved in the online and offline community environments is a challenge. Think about it: do you have time to dedicate to the others? Do you have time to travel to another City or Country to make a speech or participate as an Ask The Expert during a Microsoft and/or a Community event? Do you have time to write articles and technical blog posts? Yes, the list is long and I can go on and on… But the driver is not the MVP Award, the driver is the Passion these people have, Passion to organize User Group events in their spare time, Passion to support users in troubleshooting their technical problems, Passion to write about the products they love more, Passion to share their experience on the field so others can benefit from that. Easy, eh? :)

And for the ones who didn’t make it, don’t lose hope: I’m sure if you put a little extra effort you’ll be able to get the Award !

BTW, If you want to know more about the MVP Award Program, do subscribe our blog as you’ll find some interesting stories to read…

Enjoy your Award and Congratulations again !!

@alead

WPC 2012: my personal summary (and slides)

I recently had the chance to participate to the latest WPC 2012 (local Windows Professional Conference) in Milano, Italy.

It was a terrific event: 27 Microsoft MVPs as speakers, an Ask The Expert Booth with +12 MVPs (+ a lot of friends and other Influencers) covering different technologies, together with the Microsoft Technical Support. Hundreds of technical sessions, giving full coverage of almost all the Microsoft Products and Technologies.

It was a great success in terms of Reach, Awareness and Support. Reach: almost 400 attendees, from ITPros to Developers to Consumers. More than 300 tweets around the Conference (#wpcit12).

In terms of awareness, the Microsoft MVP Award was highly valued during the conference: some minutes spent during the Keynote talking about it, the #Branding was everywhere, and MVPs often were wearing t-shirts with the MVP Logo on it. Recognition was another big part of it.

Just FYI, during the ATE the MVPs had around 250 technical discussions with the attendees. Divided per technology each day, attendees had the chance to interact not only with the speakers @ the Booth, but also with the other MVPs who voluntarily agreed to be part of the Conference supporting the attendees.

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So now you know the MVP Award was a big part of it. But what about the rest of it?

Well, I also delivered a session on #SocialMedia called “Social Media in the IT World” and I have to say it was really interesting for the attendees. It was Different, not the kind of presentation you normally expect during a technical event. It was Relevant, according to the numbers of feedback and questions I gathered after my session. And for me it was fun too!

Understanding that many people still don’t understand the Power of the Social Media, the World of Mouth, the “Unmarketing” concept, Crowdsourcing, Personal #Branding and many others was kind of unexpected. So that is probably why my session was really valuable for the attendees.

I share my slides here, in a pure community spirit (as the MVPs taught me :)), hoping that someone else will benefit from that:

I did not have the chance to show how I use my Windows Phone to “unleash” the Power of the Communities, but I’m sure I’ll have time to do that in my next talk.

And, by the way, we also had the chance to have some fun (in a pure community spirit :)):

DSC_0495 DSC_0574

I need to thank a lot of people for a very successful event:

First and foremost, Barbara Palumbo, the “Puppet Master”, for his energy, proactive approach, driving the #wpcit12 team to Excellence. Claudio Salano, “The Boss” for having me @ the Conference. Nino Crudele, “Grinch” and #BizTalk Expert, for his tremendous valuable tips & tricks. And all others, all the MVPs, the Influencers, all the People I had the pleasure to meet for the first time, etc.

THANK YOU everyone for this wonderful experience !

Regional MVP and KulenDayz report

If you were there, you know how it was. If you weren’t there for any reason, you can read the full report here…

Cheers :)