Note for the Ignite first timer

In a few days the Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando will start.
I am super exited about it and can’t wait to meet all the people there again, to visit the sessions and get the newest news from Microsoft Mechanics.
This will be my second Ignite and last year I was looking for articles like this one to get some advice for the Ignite and what I have to think about.
Let’s have a look on the following topics:

 

Arriving/Registration

Depending on the day of arrival there are different ways to register for the Ignite and to get your badge. Like last year, Microsoft will set up a Welcome Desk at the airport in Orlando. I recommend you to register right there if possible. This, so that you don’t have to wait too long on the first day of the Ignite suburb.

Clothing

For non Americans who are reading this article, let me tell to you that inside the convention center the Air-conditioning is working strong.
I strongly recommend you to take a light jacket with you, otherwise you can get frozen easily.

Last year the Ignite was a few weeks earlier, so the temperature outside was still like in summer. That means when you were leaving the Convention center or the Hotel, it felt like running against a hot wall.
I felt it by my self so that I started sweating fast. The problem is, If you go back into the Convention center afterwards, being wet, you probably will catch a flu.

So my advice to you is: Inside, wear a light Jacket and if its hot outside again , be aware of getting sick.

Another thing is also wearing comfortable shoes, you will be walking a lot…

Eating/Drinking

In the Morning there is a huge breakfasts at the Convention Center. At different spots there is a lot of differed food you can eat. So, don’t worry, you will be able to have a good start into the day.
The same I can say about the lunch: At the same spots where you can get your breakfast, the lunch will be served as well. One point is: you will not stay hungry there. This is really working very well.
A lunch was not a part of the service last year. A small tip for this: last year at the Expo some of the exhibitors had some snacks like burgers and/or beer they where sharing with all the people.
In general, everywhere on the Convention Center there are fridges around. They are full of soft drinks and orange juices. Also, there are coffee stations everywhere around.
At the afternoon Microsoft is sharing some Snacks like Ice-cream or other small things, just to have enough Power for the last sessions at the current day.
About the hospitality I guess if it is like last year, we really really don’t have to worry about it. Microsoft is doing a fantastic Job here.

Environment

At the whole Convention Center there is a free Wi-Fi which you can use for your notebook and mobile phone. There are also some spots around where you can charge your devices or answer emails, write articles, etc.
At the Ignite, there is also a lounge from where you can follow sessions remotely via live-stream. Here, I can recommend to have some good headphones and a well charged device if you want to follow the sessions. Last year Microsoft was
sharing some headphones to use, which are also ok, but if you have your own which you like, you should use them.

Keynote

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is opening the Ignite every year with his keynote. Last year he was on stage with the SAP and Adobe CEO’s. It has a special flair to see them speak, because you mostly know them only from TV, or the news in the www.
If you want to see them from a good view in real, I advice you to be at the keynote in time .

 

 

Sessions

If you are registered for the Microsoft Ignite, you for sure also went to your Ignite profile: https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/home. After you log in, you can plan your sessions there. My advice for you is to take all the sessions you are interested in.
At this point it doesn’t matter if there are multiple sessions at the same time. The Convention center is really big and it is possible that you can not manage to switch between two sessions. This can happen because the distance is to far or one of the sessions is already full.
By selecting all the sessions you are interested in, you will be able to watch the session later. This, because every session will be recorded.
That’s why you should not get stressed and try to enjoy the Ignite as much you can.

Networking

If it is your first Ignite, specially when you are from Europe, you will see that this event is huge. If I remember right, there where more than 25’000 People at the Ignite 2018. For me personally that was very impressing.
However, this can also be a chance! get in touch with other people, start networking. It can happen on the expo by an exhibitor, while eating or at the X-Box Lounge. Always keep in mind: almost all the people which are participating at the Ignite, are also interested in tech.
Don’t be shy and walk around with a positive body language.

Expert Corners

At the Microsoft Ignite we have the fantastic chance to meet the Microsoft employees which are actually working on the products we are using every day. I personally went to the Ignite last year with a Exchange question I couldn’t solve.
In the Expert Corner I met 4 (super friendly) Exchange pro’s. We spoke about the case and after some 15, 20 minutes I had a solution that was fine for me.
That’s why I deeply can recommend you to go and talk to the Microsoft Experts. It is simply a fantastic chance.

MVP

At the Ignite there will be also a MVP Corner. (You will figure out where it is when you see the MVP wall). On this wall you can see every single currently awarded MVP and RD (Regional Director). Last year there was always at least one MVP or program manager at the MVP corner.
Here too, don’t be shy, the MVP community is here for networking and to help. Maybe you have some particular questions to a MVP (or maybe a MVP has a question to you, too). Cache the moment and get in touch together. I personally will be happy to meet new people.

Expo

The Microsoft Ignite is also an exhibition. Last year there where companies like Lenovo, Veeam, RedHat, Symantec, etc. there. In one hand you can get some swag from them, but to this I will come back, later. It is also cool to see what is waiting for us in the nearest future.
For me, for example, it was cool to see last year what Audiocode has planed to announce for the new year.

 

 

Swagging

No exhibition can live without some goodies, or how Americans say “swag”. You can get a t-shirt here, some socks there, etc. However, it is cool to get some “swag” at the Expo. I personally think this shouldn’t be the main goal at the Ignite. Of course, I also went to some of my favorite companies and got some swag.
However, if you like “swagging”, think about that you will need some extra space in your luggage.

Ignite Party

Every Thursday the Ignite Party takes place. Last year, as well as this year it will take place in the Universal Studios. Microsoft will book the whole park for the Ignite members.
Microsoft will also organize a shuttle bus from the official hotels to take visitors to Universal Studios and back home.

Transport

Depending on the accommodation location, there are different ways to get to the Ignite.
Since I had and have my hotel in the immediate vicinity, I could walk the distance. If I had to be mobile, I personally decided for Uber. Alternatively, you can rent a car or use public transport. All mentioned options work very well.

Orlando

Orlando itself is certainly always worth a visit. It’s not Miami, but you can still do some business depending on the weather. On one hand there are the Universal Studios, Sea World or Disney Land, or you can get into the car and visit the world famous Cape Canaveral. Another alternative would be a visit to an NBA basketball game in Orlando.
So, you see arriving a little earlier or staying a little longer in Orlando has certain charms.

Shopping

Of course you can also go shopping in Orlando. There are several shopping malls that can fulfill almost every wish. I recommend that you inform yourself at the hotel or on the internet so that you land safely in the right place.

 

Have Fun!

Finally, there is nothing more to say. Have a good time in Orlando, be open, approach the people and I would be happy if we could cross paths.
If you want to know more about the Ignite, you are very welcome to read my daily splitters from the Ignite last year.
See you soon in Orlando…

 

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