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The Airlines’ Affair

I just got to Bucharest for a business trip, 3 days’ meetings with Microsoft Romania to talk about the Communities and the Microsoft MVPs. As I’ll probably talk about that on another post, I just wanted to drop a few lines about my recent flying experience and the experience overall.

I never booked a flight with Alitalia (part of the SkyTeam) primarily because of the strikes. But, as it seems everything’s cooling down, I decided to do so (and not only for that, I could fly through Linate :)).

My experience was pretty good and I had to change my mind on that.

The online checkin was easy and more complete compared to some other airlines. I could print the boarding pass and also ask the system to send me a text message and an even an email as a valid boarding pass. In there, I could also pick more comfortable seats for just 20 euros more. And this is definitely a good service.

Even the flight was a 2 hours one, there were monitors for each seat. There were documentaries, trip details and cartoons. Not that much but what would you expect for a short flight like that?

I also know that pilots are very good. Not that the others from other Airlines are not, but I have a friend who works there and tells me all the good stories around that.

When it was the time to land, it was crazy windy and people were really scared. But the landing was perfect (and a run of applause to the captain !).

So overall my experience (and I would like highlight that: it’s just my personal experience) was very good. I’ll definitely get more Alitalia flights in the future…

I also remember some time ago I posted about a website reviewing all the Airlines in the World (including giving Awards). In Europe, Lufthansa is still number one (and my favorite one as well) and there’s gonna be the 2011 Awards that will take place in Paris @ the end of June.

Skytrax

During these years, and thanks to my job, I had the pleasure to fly with different airlines so here is my Top 5 personal ranking (sorry if there are not many APGC nor LATAM Airlines but I had very few trips there):

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Emirates
  3. Lufthansa
  4. Czech Airlines
  5. MALEV Hungarian Airlines

Swiss and SAS were great in the past but I never had the chance to “test” them anymore…

One more thing to mention regarding the US Airlines: I would say that, overall, they are not comparable to the rest of the World’s Airlines in terms of service offering, comfort and entertainment. And this is probably because people in the US tend to get a flight in the same way as we get a bus :)

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Categories: Amenities, Reviews, Travels

First week, second one..

I didn’t have much time to review and update my blog but, as I’m here in a Starbucks in downtown Seattle waiting to get a bus to the new destination, I thought it was worthy to write down some notes.
The MVP Global Summit (#mvp11) has been a great experience to me, to my colleagues and, to my knowledge, to the MVPs. It’s always amazing to get together in this place, far far away from our hometown. It’s about building relationships, interacting with the Product Teams, engage on with new opportunities and of course having a great time during the evenings. Great technical sessions, an amazing event organization, the Safeco Field Party, the Product Group dinners, I think almost everything was perfect. Of course there’s room to grow and of course some of you may not have been that satisfied with a particular session. But it’s not that easy to accomodate all of you, because of the different backgrounds and skills you may have.
Personally, I’m very happy with the whole event. Every year is better and better.
I had almost 100 MVPs coming from the Region I represent which is huge and my only regret is that I didn’t have the chance to talk with all of you guys. I just wanted to talk with all you but I just couldn’t ! 🙂 At least I met almost all of you which is good.

Time flies and now you’re probably headed back home. I hope you’re taking with you great memories to tell your friends and families..

I’ll see you soon !

Microsoft WinDays 2011 !

Following the great success of the last year’s event,

Croatian WinDays strikes back with a new 2011 promising event !

WinDays2011

" There is no better place to search for new and different ideas than the leading business and technology conference in Croatia – Microsoft WinDays11!”

The Conference will be held in Rovinj, Croatia and it will be split in two conferences:

WinDays11 Microsoft Technology Conference 4 – 7 April, 2011

WinDays11 Business Conference 7 – 8 April, 2011

“Whether you’re an IT professional, company director, an expert in sales, marketing or business development, you can always happen to run out of new ideas. We are all here to help: a great source of ideas runs dry, and it is necessary to look for inspiration. There is no better way to do this than to surround yourself with people who, like you, live and profit from new ideas and their implementation, which is even better, ideas really begin to live only when you share it with others.”

MSWinDays-technology

Featuring MVPs Ilija Brajkovic, Marin Franković, Damir Dizdarevic, Robert Petrunic, Domagoj Pavlesic, Dobriša Adamec, Vibor Cipan and I’m sure many more, covering lots of Microsoft technologies (as you can also see by the picture above): from Lync Server to Windows Phone 7, from Silverlight to IE9 and Office 365 just to name a few…

Feel free to follow the upcoming news and see you in Rovinj! :)

Link to: Početna – Microsoft WinDays11. Prostori ideja. Drugačije ideje

Pan-Baltic MVP Open Days 2011 !

Thanks to my colleagues Andres Sirel & Tautvydas Dagys who made this happen,

I have the pleasure to announce that on Friday the 11th and Saturday the 12th I’m going to participate to the first Pan-Baltic MVP Open Days, gathering almost all the Microsoft MVPs from the Region.

 

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It will be a 2 days event totally dedicated to the MVPs and to the local communities.

From Andrejs Mamontovs to Domantas Jovaišas, from Gunnar Peipman to new MVP Heiki Tähis and Henn Sarv, Sergejus Barinovas, Tomas Dabasinskas & Valdis Iljuconoks, not to mention all the other community peers like Jevgeni Tšaikin , the audience is really differentiated. From ASP.NET to Windows Phone 7 to Windows Azure to SQL Server, just to name a few, we will all be in Latvia to exchange ideas, to discuss about the local Communities and to gather feedback and best practice to share with others (and of course more than that I’m sure !).

Furthermore, the 3 Microsoft Subsidiaries also organized the “Powered by MVP” 2011 technical workshop (happening today) where several MVPs and technical experts will talk about different topics related to both ITPros and Developers (for more info follow the link below).

Personally, I’m pretty excited to be there for the first time. I already met some of them during the last year’s MVP Global Summit in Seattle, the Regional CEE MVP Open Days in Greece and online on Twitter, but being altogether will be absolutely a unique experience, from a professional and personal way.

If you want to know what’s happening in real-time, be sure to follow the #balticmvp11 hashtag :)

 

Link to: Powered by MVP — Latvia

Sinergija 10 & more !

I took some time this morning to recap on the recent event in which I had the pleasure to participate. It was in Belgrade, Serbia, and I already talked about the previous one in this post.

Sinergija is one of the most important event in the Balkans, together with some other events. ITPros and Developers had the chance to interact with each other and meet a lot of Microsoft folks and international speakers sharing their experiences on Microsoft products.

Also, this year Sinergija was at it 10th anniversary, which made the event even more important.

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My colleague and friend Borko Kovacevic wrote some notes regarding the event which I guess it’s nice to share with you. Sinergija 10 gathered more than 1500 people on each of five days of the conference, and more than 3000 people on all Sinergija related events!

Some numbers:

5 days

150 technical presentations

30 business presentations

30 conference partner

1500 people on Technical Conference

700 people on Business Summits

150 speakers

80 IT Influencers from all over CEE

100 Press Representatives

150 Sinergija staff members

120 MS employees

1.500 people on Sinergija Party

1000 visitors of gaming and EXPO events per day

I specifically highlighted the Influencer n° as, together with the CEE HQ, we organized an Influencer Summit inside the event, where MVPs, Regional Directors, Student Partners and “Influencers” could meet and interact with us for a full day.

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There were a lot of people who I personally met during other events and I have to tell how much I appreciated all the discussions and talks with them, representing almost 15 Countries in Central and Eastern Europe. MVPs from Estonia, Latvia, Russia, Poland, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.), Bosnia, Bulgaria, Romania, I can’t even mention all the people that was there. We also had Tomislav Bronzin (Vice President INETA Europe) and Bernardin Katic (Director at Large) who represented INETA Europe and GITCA who were available for discussing community and User Group issues and requests. Even the local General Manager from Microsoft Serbia came and make a short speech during our event which I think was fantastic !

In the evening, the organizers gathered speakers and Influencers for a dinner on a boat. We had a bus talking us from the hotel to the restaurant and the venue was really super ! We had the chance to talk about different topics but, fore and foremost, having all these Countries represented for me was a great experience (it’s always is).

There are several anecdotes I would like to share: on a personal note, I really appreciated the chat I had with MVP Bojan Jovicic about social skills (thank you for your advices !!)

And I’d also like to ad we had a great time talking about communities with Valdis Iljuconoks (nominated as the Official CEE MVP Photographer Smile) and Maciej Pilecki !

There are several pieces of experiences I grab with myself after the event. One in particular, which is nothing new but worth to mention is:

“Strategies are important, but without relationships they are gonna fail”

See you soon ! Smile

Visiting US under Visa Waiver Program

On January 12th, 2009 the United States of America introduced the new ESTA – Electronic System for Travel Authorization that contemplates (and obliges) to register online receiving a preventive authorization for travelling to the US. Information requested are almost the same that are requested, during travel, using the I-94W Form (the little green card you get on plane).

Every passenger needs to:

  • Fill in his/her own questionnaire (for couples travelling together, they both need to do the procedure);
  • Provide an e-mail address where to receive the confirmation and a phone number;
  • It is suggested to do it in advance, when you already have the travel plan, and within 72 hours before the trip;
  • During registration, you need to have: Passport, complete travel plan and hotel name and addresses where you’ll be staying

This procedure is mandatory to travel but it really takes a few minutes to fill in. You’ll then receive a confirmation e-mail within few moments.

So, if you plan to go to the US, don’t forget to register here !

Link to: ESTA

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TechEd (online and offline)

I recently participated in the TechEd EMEA Developers, which took place in the beautiful Barcelona. I won’t cover the technical sessions here (which many people already did) but I’ll focus on something else.

Basically I had 2 main targets in my mind:

I’m very satisfied with both of them as I would say I accomplished them both. I was attending the Community Booth (which was right in between the 2 Ask The Expert Zones), being available for the customers who wanted to know more about the Program.

IMG_7675 “the ATE Briefing”

I guess this is the first time (ever!) in which I don’t get any questions like “Who are the MVPs?” “What is the MVP Program?” or, even worse, “Is that a Microsoft Certification?”. It seems all the attendees visiting and/or passing through our Booth were very aware about the MVPs which is great! I also wanted to promote the Program internally among my peers, and I did that, meeting with some colleagues of mine from EMEA and showing the impact of the Communities and the MVPs as key contributors of them. I always refer to Coca Cola when I talk about “promotion”: “if The Coca Cola Company does advertisements throughout the year, then I suppose anyone, any Company, any team, even any individual would need some!”. One of the things I also did was to interview Karen Young in a sort of Q&A interview on the “MVPs and the Power of Community” (you can find the full version in the TechEd Online main page).

Q&A Interview

I also had an interview with Channel 9 (thanks Christian !), very informal & funny, which I guess will be published very soon..

The mingling part was the fun part: meeting with all those MVPs (from Croatia to Latvia, from Greece to Romania, from Italy to Malta, etc..) was very energizing. Anyone who knows me is aware that the passion I have for the communities is driven by the passion of these guys that voluntarily share their technical expertise every day in the online and offline communities and User Groups. Being there and talk with some of the people I unfortunately don’t meet very often was even better! And then dinners and parties have been another important part of the event :)

IMG_7685 IMG_7689 IMG_0125 (2)

I cannot mention you all but a special thanks goes to all who have contributed to the success of the event and particularly to all who have contributed to the “quality time” I had :)

Categories: EMEA, Events, Travels