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The Vision Surfaces

After the fact, after the event #IBVDay16, we had a lot of time to talk about it and also to talk about the strategy we where going to implement moving forward.

It’s a good exercise to do in teams: working together, brainstorming in my opinion is one of the most important things you have to do after you organize an event like that. And after you (me, in this case) have a clearer picture on were we are heading.

The great part of IBV is People. I found very energizing the fact that we always come up with great ideas to implement in our overall strategy. And it’s not that easy, considering all the differences people have in terms of background, education, past experiences, previous jobs, etc. Sometimes you need to come up with a single solution no matter what. Because the ideas are thousands but then someone has to take the risk to go for one instead of another. The mixture of cultures we have here definitely helps this a lot but, again, one person needs to lead, decide and take actions.

Even the smallest thing can be important. Content, for example. Content is big, huge, is THE topic that drives marketing and sales. But what kind of content? Which types? Considering that people have to do their jobs on top of this, this can become an issue, or at least can become complicated. Sometimes you feel like you are floating around this amount of content that you don’t know where to start. And sometimes Content drives even the business decisions and not viceversa which is kind of weird but often true.

If you consider the huge, monumental amount of content that is out there, you need to have a Vision. And thank goodness we have one 🙂

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Me and my counterpart Michael, we work everyday on this Vision. We have a clear picture on where we are heading to. Sometimes we need to “defend” our ideas, and that is normal for a Company that switched gears in a very short time-frame. We do brainstorming every single day, sometimes just for half an hour, but we are able to talk about the same things using different paths or languages (and I’m not talking about English VS Italian VS Swiss German :)). This is very reassuring to me, having the chance to confront my ideas with a person that really understands me and with whom I share the same Vision.

But, what is this Vision then? Well, of course we got some “hints” from our boss Andi who is really a visionary. But we change things, we move items a bit, we modernize them and often times we need to bring this high-level Vision into something tangible, something concrete and something we, the Company, need to work on. And this is not always easy. But we also add our shared vision, based on the different things we learnt on our paths that led us here together.

If I think about the things we want to achieve here I’m really impressed. We set ourselves a very high standard and we want to make this happen. And this doesn’t want to be an “apologia” of our ideas but rather a way for me to explain what you can encounter when you “fight” for your beliefs.

Again, the Vision. During our event we talked about the future of computing. We have this concept now of More Personal Computing which, to me, sometimes sounds like a cool keyword to use. And maybe it’s true but there’s more to that. We talk about inking, voice commands, mixed reality. How will the future of personal computing be in like 3 to 5 years? We’re going so fast every technology we embrace it becomes obsolete in no time. So, definitely you need to stay on top of these things, making sure you learn, listen and understand the markets. But you need to do a step forward, a small step and try to make your own prediction and invest in it. It is a big risk, that’s for sure, but if you want to be ahead of your competition you need to do this kind of exercise. This is, to me, the key to success.

Sometimes ideas come when you never expect and this is the beauty of it. This is because you Believe in the Company you represent, you have Passion for it, and the combination of all these things trigger new ideas. And new ideas come to action only when you have the right people in place.

I’m grateful for the opportunity I have here and I want to continue to learn and growth in this never-boring, sometimes-challenging and always-exciting path I’m in !

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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! 🙂

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.

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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 !

Out Of Office (just for a while)

We have a lot of stuff coming up in FY13, lots of events (one above all, the Regional CEE & Italy MVP Summit during KulenDayz), Build, MVP Global Summit in US, and all the local events, MS and community events that will be held in the whole Region (and they are a lot, believe me..).
There are also lots and lots of online activities, from the forums posts to the webcasts/screencasts, from books and e-books to technical articles. Microsoft MVPs, the User Group Presidents, the Student Partners, the Regional Directors. In a word, the whole community ecosystem is already on track to deliver world-class technical activities f which thousands and thousands peers and users will benefit of.

I thought this was the best time to take some days off and make a blog post using my Windows Phone before the whole “community machine” will unleash its full power.

So now I’m taking a full break, relaxing a bit before the “unleash hell” command will be given 🙂

See you very soon!

Nokia Lumia 710: my personal impressions

I’ve always been fascinated by the mobility computing from a consumer perspective. My passion goes back to the 90’s when I owned 2 PockePCs (a Compaq and a Casio Cassiopeia with Windows CE 2.11), a Palm Pre 2, A Psion Revo (best smartphone keyboard ever), several Windows Mobile Phones and an Android device.

I have to be frank, when I first looked @ the first Windows Phone model, I was not that impressed. The metro style was kind of strange, considering where the other devices (iOS, Android, WebOS) where heading to. But when I started to use it, I realized the full potential. And I became addicted…

I got this beautiful present for Christmas (probably my family is VERY aware of my addiction :)), which was a Nokia Lumia 800. Superb phone, stunning display, lots of memory. But it doesn’t fit well.

What I mean is that I’m not a big fan of big phones (the Samsung Galaxy Note is like a giant phone to me, it’s not even a phone!). Technology is trying to “micro-do” everything since the Motorola 8700 and we’re going back to where we were before. Even though I see the value of them, I just don’t like to idea to carry a huge phone in my pocket. So my choice went to the Nokia Lumia 710.

I got the device yesterday and the price is at least a half of the normal Smartphone prizes, no matter which OS you like. Which is a good start…

When you lift the device for the first time, it’s seems like you’re handling an empty case, it’s just super lightweight. The form factor, something some people underestimate, it’s great. It perfectly fits in your hand. The USB connector is not in an awkward position like the Lumia 800. And it has buttons, instead of touch ones, which is great for a guy like me who was used to like the old IBM keyboards doing a lot of noise when you were typing.

Of course it lacks something: memory is only 8GB, the display is not even comparable with the Lumia 800 (TFT VS AMOLED, but the Gorilla Glass is good to have), the battery is only that powerful (although it’s removable, which is a good thing) and the camera is 5MP compared to the 810’s 8MP (which is ok for me. I don’t pretend to take stunning pictures from a phone).

You can have a look at this comparison I found (but there are plenty more out there):

 

If you’re still undecided, take a look at Tom’s Hardware Nokia Lumia 710 review.

I finally found the device I was looking for and I have no plans in changing it for anything. It reminds me, in a way, the HTC Mozart, one of the first Windows Phone I had, which was a great phone.

So overall I’m very satisfied with this purchase (at least this one I won’t regret it:)) and, if you want to see some pictures or have more info about my experience, just let me know in the comments box and I’ll definitely share them here.

And lastly, YOU, what Windows Phone do you have or you’re planning to buy? :)

Working on my slides…

I took some time today to make some order on the stuff I have on my computer. As I mentioned in my recent post, I had a few (!!!) issues to solve and finally I got everything.

And this is right after last week’s meeting I had with my extraordinary Team (the EMEA MVP Lead Team): it was so great to meet my fellow teammates, talented people with a lot of great ideas.

So now I was working on some slides I’ll present during a CEE Internal Meeting here in Prague. These people gave me an exceptional chance to present some of the things we are going to do (with their help) and some of the Microsoft MVPs’ Achievements during the last Fiscal Year.

This is the right time to start challenging people, talk with them and mingle (yes, that’s the right word :)).

This is the perfect time to start, with a strategy in mind, all the activities we want to create, support and embrace in order to make the communities stronger and better.

Of course, as said, for me nothing is achievable without the help of the local subsidiaries: whether it’s a small Country or a big one, it’s necessary to talk face-to-face, start planning the activities and the conference calls in order to measure the status of all the different things we do. Or, I should say the MVPs do. They’re the KEY, the pillar and the main actors of our discussions. And the reputation they gained on the field, being the trusted advisors for many people, well, this helps a lot.

Apologize for the digression…

Starting to work on my slides, I realized the synonym of a Microsoft MVP is not easy to find. So I came up with this:

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There are so many terms that can identify an MVP but this really depends on a case-by-case scenario, whether you’re an Early Adopter, a Trusted Advisor a distinguished speaker, etc…

But there’s one thing that is in common, and sorry but I’ll never stop saying this: Passion.

This is what differentiate us for doing a nice job in doing an excellent job, this is what defines you when you happen to have a conversation with people that are delusional on what they do (it happened to me just yesterday). And, no matter if you are an MVP, an MCC, or just an avid twitterer and enthusiast, this is your (OUR) key driver…

But I’m not done with it: as soon as I think about it and brainstorm myself, rest assured I’ll come up with many more ideas for my slides :).

Love my randomized tag Cloud !

This is a tag cloud based on my blog.

It is not based on my personal tags (in fact, most of them are not shown in it) but it relies on the word counting in all the blog posts I did.

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(created with Wordle)

 

And this is my twitter cloud, created with Tagxedo

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