Tuesday again dawned too bright and early.
Breakfast was at the hotels this year, which was nice in one regard. Last year they bussed us out to the MS Campus for breakfast, which meant that you were waiting over an hour to eat anything after you got up. (I find that makes me feel a bit sick, so took to eating a muffin on the way.) This year, we ate in the hotels before they bussed us though. So that was better, but honestly... whomever picked the food...
It's kind of an accepted fact that there is going to be some drinking in the evenings. As cool as this is for us to be able to give feedback to MS on their products, the best part, by far, is meeting your friends from around the world, sharing stories, experiences and such. It's typically done in the bar in the evening, right? So the hotels decide to feed up breakfast burritos for breakfast. Yep... take a room full of geeks with sour bellies, stuff them full of eggs and black beans, then send them into confined meeting rooms for the day. I'll bet someone thought they were pretty funny!
At any rate, after breakfast, we were bussed out to the Microsoft campus in Redmond (it's a city, really,) where we were involved in sessions all day. As I signed an NDA, I can't tell you any details that were shared inside those rooms, but I will say that I thought the Ribbon session was pretty good. I'm looking forward to seeing Office 14 beta whenever it is released.
After the sessions, we were invited to dinner with our Product Group (the Excel PM teams.) Robert snapped this picture and, while not the most flattering (of me, anyway,) this one sums up my week quite nicely:
The guy in the black Office sweatshirt is Dan Battigen, who is a lead on the Excel team. We had a great discussion with him at the table, and as you can see here, we were pretty intent on listening to him when we weren't giving him our feedback. The dialog that went back and forth at this meal was great. Honestly, for a tech geek to get to sit down and actually have conversation around your favourite product and it's future, with the people who can actually make it happen, is really quite a thrill.
This also happened to be the place that we were able to pull together the entire RibbonX team for a group photo:
From left to right are: myself, Jeff Boyce (Access MVP - Tech Editor), Teresa Hennig (Access MVP - Author), Robert Martin (Excel MVP - Author), Nick Hodge (Excel MVP - Tech Editor) and Oliver Stohr (Access MVP - Contributor of the Access section in Chapter 16). And go figure, Teresa just happened to be carrying around a copy of the RibbonX book in her pocket!
Once again, we went from the dinner to bed via the Rock Bottom and Westin lobby bars. I finally rolled in around midnight again, I think.
(And if you'd like to support my MVP
beer idea generation fund for next year, you can do so by clicking the RibbonX link at left. Don't forget that not only do you help encourage our brainstorming sessions, but you also get a book out of the deal! 😉
I was hoping to finish catching up on all the posts tonight, but sadly I have to be back at work tomorrow. (Actually I was back today already, but I'm still pretty tired.) I'll try and finish off the rest of the days tomorrow. 🙂