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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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And the Journey continues, better than ever!

I finally got a chance to refresh my blog and also found some time to write something worthy and meaningful, at least for me.

I’ve been working for Microsoft for like 15 years (oh my!) and that was a really long time. I had amazing colleagues, friends, people I interacted with on a regular basis, in Italy, in Europe, in EMEA, in US, in Asia-Pacific, Worldwide.

It has been an incredible, amazing adventure to me and I’ll never forget that not only for the many things I learned there, but also for the broad network of people I had the privilege to meet and talk with. Including the Microsoft MVPs of course!

It came a time to me, few months back, to decide whether to continue this journey or put my skills and my learnings at a service to something else, something different, unique and incredibly exciting. And that actually happened when I came to Zurich, Switzerland, to visit a friend, Gian Paolo Santopaolo. Last time we met was at the MVP Global Summit, few years ago for the first time. He was showing me the Surface Hub (it had a different name at a time) and we had very pleasant conversations during those evenings in Bellevue.

With him, we drove to Zurich, specifically to Bonstetten, as he wanted to show me what he was working on, the workplace and everything surrounding it. And then, what happened completely, and positively, changed my professional life.

I met amazing people here, I had long chats with Michael, the COO of the Company, and with Andreas Gorog, the CEO. They showed me around, they introduced me to the other employees, they showed me what they were working on. In short, very enthusiastic, smart, kind and incredibly passionate people. Yes, Passion is something that keeps on driving me and I was really amazed to see what was happening there at that particular moment of time.

I gotta tell you, it was like a “snap”, something clicked on my mind and my first thought was “Yes, I want to work here!” and I was so excited about that.

After a few days I was already onboard and my journey started (and I was incredibly excited about it!).

I joined as the CDO of the Company, a Small/Medium Business specialized in customized solution, IT Security, Data Management, CRM Solutions etc. (with another Branch in Berlin, Germany). Not only that, IBV was on the point to embrace a new path and I really wanted to be part of it.

This new path has a name: a new business model. Specifically, we started working on the Microsoft Surface Hub and Microsoft HoloLens solutions. Really, REALLY exciting.

Gian was already working on it for some time, and at the same time another Microsoft MVP, and a friend, Corrado Cavalli, joined me at the same time. Later on, Livia Formisani, a Professional Content Manager and writer (and a great friend) who previously worked with me in Microsoft in the EMEA Community Team, joined us and I was really happy about that too.

Now, as I plan to share more about what we do, let me leave you with something: in less than 2 weeks, on September the 21st to be exact, we will host our first IBV event where we will showcase some of the things the Developer Team created on those two devices. I hope to see you there but if not, I’m sure we will meet somewhere else soon! 🙂

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….

The Power of Communities

I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for some time now and I finally got the chance to do it. It’s gonna be smaller than it was supposed to be so allow me to start with this and I will continue with some other posts moving forward.

I’d like to tell you a little bit about my experience in working with the “Influencers” and give you some tips on how you can leverage the same ideas.

I’ve been working with them for several years now, meeting them online through various social media channels (Twitter mostly, but also Facebook and LinkedIn) and offline during events and meetups and I gotta say it completely changed my vision of the business as a whole. Call them contributors, speakers, online gurus, experts, those people not only changed the way marketing efforts are conducted, but they also positively changed my life. There is one common denominator for all these people: PASSION. And I do believe that, without passion, it’s hard to achieve amazing things, in every job and every role you cover. The Passion you feel by mingling with them and talking with them, you can feel it, it energizes you and makes you feel you are part of a bigger whole. It all comes down with amazing people doing their best to be part of this “bigger whole”. Because they believe in it, because they are curious and hungry for learning, because they love to share their expertise and experiences with others, because they care. Yes, that’s right, they care, they don’t do it because they have to……

If you’re still interested, read more here..

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.

DSC_0238 DSC_0585

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 :)

Regional CEE – Italy MVP Summit !

I had a tough time these last 2 months, 50% of my time making sure all the candidate reviews were done (thanks Marjorie and my other colleagues that helped me!). This was a really important activity as, as you may know, there are 4 Microsoft MVP Candidate reviews every year.

So that was done.

The other 50%? “THE EVENT”

Last time we had a Regional CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) MVP gathering was in Greece and it was really a great event. This is not only me saying that, but gathering MVP feedback it was really a great one. Also, as you may remember, we were in the middle of the ash cloud, so some of us were stuck in Athens for a few days. Not a bad place to be stuck in, right? :) (wonderful city / wonderful people !!)

Last year we also had the Italian MVP Open Days in Milano. Great event too, full of technical and non-technical discussions. mingling and of course some fun.

This year is gonna be different. As I represent part of CEE and Italy as well (as a Community Program Manager for the MVP Award Program), I asked myself “Why these 2 parts of my job responsibilities should be separated?” “Is there any particular reason?”

And the answer was simple: NO

Also, as I travelled a lot in different places this year, I was keep on hearing from MVPs that they want to meet other MVPs, outside of their Countries. And this totally makes sense, as you strengthen your professional network and you never know, maybe you’ll end up working with some MVPs remotely in another part of the Region.

So, again, my concerns (and there were some) were eventually going away by one the most important pillar for me: put people in touch with each other. I think this is one of the best "benefit” you can get from the MVP Award, aside of course to the more “tangible ones” and the interaction with the Product Teams.

So my next question was: “Where are we gonna meet this year and when”? That was a tricky one. There are tons of events happening from September – November timeframe (and more, of course) and so taking this decision is also not that easy.

I took a non-easy one.

You should know that, almost every year, there is a community-gathering in Croatia: one of the most popular community event, very informal, right in the middle of the Region. The event is very popular for some of you, but some others maybe don’t know what it is. It’s called “KulenDayz” and MVPs Bernardin Katic (Operation Chief :)), Tomislav Bronzin and Domagoj Pavlešić (for the web development part), with a lot of help from other Microsoft MVPs, organize this great event, widely known as “the most technical community in the whole Region”.

So, aside from the fact that dates are not perfect (at all) for many people (and this is normal, you know, people are busy :)) I decided to walk into that event, made some phone calls, asked for help and start the MVP event engine. And now we’re getting to it !

It was frustrating at the beginning: you know, I love to organize the perfect event. Of course it never happens. But my real goal here is to have MVPs coming back to their Countries and homes saying just “WOW"!” and “this was really some good quality-time spent” or “I want to do it again next year!”. You know, something like that.

KulenDayz-MVP

So, bearing in mind my goal, here are some details I’m going to share with you:

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The WHAT:

I’m very happy to announce the forthcoming Regional MVP CEE & Italy Summit ! The event is more like a social event, an opportunity to meet other MVPs from the Region, networking and mingling with each other, and get to know the Microsoft vision for the next Fiscal Year (FY13, which started on July, 1st). I really hope you’ll be able to participate!

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The WHY:

Throughout the year, we have some opportunity to meet each other but this is the best way to do it. It’s an event specifically for you, and this year it’s even bigger than the one we held in Greece 2 years ago: it will involve ALL the MVPs in the Region I represent (which is 280 Microsoft MVPs !). Having people from all over the Countries, with different cultures and opinions and background but with the same PASSION that animates all of us: SHARING your knowledge, be the first to know what’s coming next in regards of Microsoft products, be supportive in your COMMUNITIES, be available when it comes to give FEEDBACK to the Product Teams and the list goes on! And, as said, this is the first time CEE & Italy meet together in one place during a (hopefully) memorable event.

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The WHERE & WHEN:

The event will be held during the KulenDayz, one of the most community oriented technical event in the Region. There will be tons of technical sessions by the Microsoft MVPs together with other International speakers.

The event will take place from Friday the 31st of August till Sunday the 2nd of September.

I think that, if you’re not on holiday or you don’t need to work yet, it would definitely make sense to attend the event. You will meet so many International MVPs (KulenDayz will be delivered 100% in English), great speakers, great sessions I think as a technical guy (wherever you’re a developer or an ITPro) you’ll be astonished by that. So think about that, plan the trip and REGISTER HERE (have a look at the AGENDA to tantalize yourself!). As I said of course there are plenty of events happening in Region after summer (from MTS in Poland to Sinergija in Serbia, from WinDays in Croatia to TechDays Slovakia and in many other Countries, from WPC in Italy to DevReach and MS Days in Bulgaria, from Powered by MVPs! in the Baltic Region to the many ITCamps across the Region and the list goes on and on (note: have a look here to have an overview of the past events, and this is just a tiny little list :)). But here you will have a chance to meet the majority of them in a very informal (and super-cool) event!

Now and for the next 3 days we are going to finalize (hopefully everything) so I can go on holidays with no worries and but only to relax myself before the engines start again.

I’m SUPER-EXCITED about the event, believe me when I say that (and if you know me you’d know): what I do hope is that you feel the same way !!