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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!

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:

—————————————————————————

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!

—————————————————————————

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.

—————————————————————————

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 !!

SharePoint and Project Conference – Adriatic

“Microsoft SharePoint Server is an undeniable market leader and practically a standard when it comes to cooperation as well as managing contents and documents. SharePoint is a platform that connects people, organizations, information and ideas. How widespread and popular SharePoint products are, can also be concluded from the numbers: 80% Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint with a total of 125 million sold licenses. If it were an independent company, SharePoint would still be among the 50 largest in the world.

The other two members of the same group of Microsoft products, Microsoft Project and Microsoft Project Server, do not need a special introduction: they have become synonyms for projects managing tools. The first project managing tools that comes to mind to most professionals is, in fact, Microsoft Project.

After the recent Microsoft’s release of its bets version of the new generation Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Office products (which belong to Microsoft Projects), the already big interest for these products has increased even more. For this reason, for the first time in this region, a specialized conference about Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Project technologies will be held in Zagreb on 28 November, 2012 under the name SharePoint and Project Conference Adriatics. A total of eighteen lectures will be divided into three parallel tracks: BIZ, DEV and IT Pro.”

spcadriatics

Join famous speakers like Michael Noel, Joel Oleson, Agnes Molnar, Wictor Wilén, Zlatan Džinić, internationally acclaimed experts as well as Microsoft’s MVPs from the Region Toni Frankola, Adis Jugo, Nenad Trajkovski, Darko Milevski and others !

hashTag: #spcadriatics

Link to: SharePoint and Project Conference Adriatics (English)

Polish MVP Award website is now live!

I’m very happy to announce that the Unofficial MVP Polish website is now live !

It has completely built from the ground up from the Polish MVPs with the aim to have a local website to feature local activities, publications, profiles and a lot more.

One interest data is the list of former and actual Microsoft MVPs (http://msmvp.pl/lista-mvp). You’ll also find interviews, photos, personal links and bios published by the MVPs.

More data is expected to come soon so I’d recommend to check back the site for more info.

In addition, static content includes an MVP Award Program description and a simple FAQ.
One of the most complex solutions in the whole project is the RSS aggregator that combines all Polish MVP blog feeds (those that agreed and provided their feeds) and makes it available for consumption. The aggregator itself was extracted to a separate side-project, hosted on GitHub.

Polish MVP Website

Last but not least, the website has some basic Twitter integration as it shows all Polish MVPs tweets in a side gadget.
The whole look-and-feel was designed to resemble the @Metro UI philosophy, implemented in plain html/css/javascript.

It has been built using Nancy (http://nancyfx.org/) for web application layer and Simple.Data (https://github.com/markrendle/Simple.Data/) for data access."

What about the minds behind that?

Maciej Aniserowicz for once ! And then Jakub Gutkowski who helped Maciej with the twitter integration and testing. The UI was done for free by DevCore.NET.

Congratulations guys, the site is awesome!

Link to: Program Microsoft MVP w Polsce

MVP Award Program – July 2012

Holidays are approaching, slowly :), @ least for the lucky ones, and it’s a good exercise, during this period, to look back and see what we as a Program have achieved from a community standpoint. Lots of events in the whole Region I represent (Central, Eastern Europe & Italy, excluding Russia & CIS Countries which are managed by my dear colleague Yulia Belyanina), lots of Product Group Interactions, lots of articles, webcasts, forum posts, blogging, local projects with every single Microsoft Subsidiary: it was definitely tons of things! I’m really happy about the Program, of course, because it changes a bit every year but the nature of it is still intact.

Just an example: we recently announced the new MVP Award Program website, which has been totally rewritten with a Metro-style UI, and the possibilities to do a lot more than the old one.

Back to the Nomination process, and as you may know, we have 4 Nomination Cycles:

  • January, 1st
  • April, 1st
  • July, 1st
  • October 1st

This is about the III one, the July Award Cycle. The cycles involves lots of stakeholders and nothing is taken from granted (renewing MVPs knows that very clearly :)). The are people from the local Microsoft Subsidiaries, of course us Community Program Managers (aka MVP Leads), the Business Group Leads and the Product Teams.

mvp_horizontal_fullcolor

I cannot stress enough the fact that the Most Valuable Professional is, in fact, an Award. It’s not a certification, it’s not a Partner-affiliation program, it’s an Award. And it is given to the ones who consistently shared their expertise, with their peers, in the online and offline communities. It’s something you gain in the field. And Microsoft, with this Award, wants to THANK these people for their extraordinary community activities, together with a strong competency on a specific area/Product.

With that said, Please WELCOME the new awarded Microsoft MVPs, sorted by Name:

Influencer Technical Expertise Country/Region
Jan Matejka System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management Czech Republic
Kamil Skalski System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management Poland
Laura La Manna Visual C# Italy
Lukasz Kaluzny Virtual Machine Poland
Marius Ene Directory Services Romania
Tomáš Slavíček XNA/DirectX Czech Republic

A BIG CONGRATS to you guys MVPs and of course to the ones that have been re-Awarded. The MVP Award lasts 12 months and every single candidature is treated carefully and thoroughly so I totally understand the excitement (and sometimes the pain :)) to wait for an email saying that you’ve been Awarded again.

There are also people (very few, to be honest) who has not been awarded: as I’m not happy about that, sometimes there are reasons: people changed their jobs, moved to another Country, or for whatever reasons they decided to stop being active in the communities or they’ve not been active enough to be re-awarded. I always tell them that they can keep me as their primary point of contact for contacting Microsoft moving forward: and you never know, one can be out of the Program for a while and then back after a few months so, as I always say, don’t lose faith :). We also launched an initiative to keep in touch with both, MVPs former MVPs through a LinkedIn Group (membership is limited to active and retired MVPs) http://ow.ly/bKmIC which, IMHO, is a good way not to lose contact with the MVP community as a whole.

Also, If you don’t know exactly what the MVP Award Program is, take some time to subscribe to our blog as you’ll find some interesting stories to read…

If you’re on Twitter, feel free to follow @MVPAward , myself and the #mvpbuzz hashtag: you’ll be amazed to see a great MVP community sharing a lot of real-life stories (covering different Microsoft products and technologies) that may also comes at hand when you’re in trouble :)

That said, Enjoy your Award and Congratulations !

MVP Award Program – April 2012

It is the time, yes, to communicate the new MVP Awardees for the April cycle. As you may know, there are 3 different cycles and every 3 months I publish information about newly awarded Microsoft MVPs on my blog regarding the Region I represent: Central, Eastern Europe & Italy.

mvp_horizontal_fullcolor

I know many people are anxious when it comes to re-awarding, especially on the 1st of April, where it may seems to be a joke (but it’s not! :)), and it’s totally understandable. When you get the MVP Award, it means you dedicated a lot of time and efforts to help your peers, whether it was online or offline, and the meaning of this Award is a THANK YOU for what you did for the communities, for your peers, using your technical skills to make sure people understands how to use our product in a 1:many relationship. So I guess it’s natural to be a little bit nervous…

I’m truly honored to represent this prestigious Award and I’d like to CONGRATULATE the following new MVPs, sorted by Name:

Influencer Technical Expertise Country
Alessandra Salvaggio Office System Italy
Damir Arh Data Platform Development Slovenia
Francesco Valerio Buccoli Virtual Machine Italy
Goran  Milanov SQL Azure Serbia
Ivan Florian Project Romania
Ivan Kardum Visual Studio ALM Croatia
Luka Manojlovic Small Business Server Slovenia
Marek Pyka Virtual Machine Poland
Mario Serra Directory Services Italy
Michal Gajda PowerShell Poland
Mirco Vanini Device Application Development Italy
Silvio Di Benedetto System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management Italy

(this list is related to the new MVPs in the Region I represent, which is CEE & Italy, excluding Russia and CIS Countries).

A BIG CONGRATS to you guys MVPs and of course to the ones that have been re-Awarded. And being re-Awarded is tough as well: don’t you think MVPs are taking it for granted. The MVP Award lasts 12 months and every single candidature is treated carefully and thoroughly so I totally understand the excitement (and sometimes the pain :)) to wait for an email saying that you’ve been Awarded again.

That said, I’ll be travelling abroad in the Region so I really hope we can meet in person!

I also wanted to spend a few words for the ones who haven’t been award so far or who have been declined on this cycle: as I’m really sorry for that, I’m sure you’ll get a chance to be nominated again so don’t lose faith!

Also, If you don’t know exactly what the MVP Award Program is, take some time to subscribe to our blog as you’ll find some interesting stories to read…

Feel free to follow @MVPAward and myself on Twitter: you may find a lot of real-life stories, covering different Microsoft products and technologies…

That said, Enjoy your Award and Congratulations Again !

@alead

Virtualstudy.pl: let’s go virtual !

When I was @ the Microsoft Technology Summit in Poland few weeks ago I had the pleasure to talk with a lot of MVPs @ the Community Booth that had been set up for the event. BTW, that was a HUGE event with, I presume, almost 2.500 attendees. As you can imagine, it’s the biggest annual Microsoft event in Warsaw and, from what I’ve seen, it was a real success.

BTW, I’d like to point out a great article on the event (in Polish) by MVP Piotr Pawlik.

Well, during these conversations a lot of interesting things normally come up. One of those was regarding the VirtualStudy.pl (not to mention all the other communities like WSS.pl, codeguru.pl and a lot more).

Thanks to the hard of the community members, VirtualStudy.pl now has a full support of English language, an English forum and even a few videos in English available as VOD.

At the same time the board is now looking for presenters who would like to prepare and present sessions in English (possibly with good presentation skills).

VirtualStudy.pl was created to allow users to attend online meetings and learn free of charge. Since the beginning they had quite a few interesting courses like Windows Server, SharePoint 2010 Training, SQLServer 2008, Windows Phone 7 programing, as well as 6 month C# training course which finished with an exam and certificates) where the average number of attendees was around 200-300 people.

Currently VirtualStudy.pl hosts all the previous sessions on a on-Demand basis (few hundred sessions are already available to watch).

These online sessions do not contain any marketing content, but it’s pure technical Microsoft knowledge.

And at the moment they are currently organize their first VirtualStudy.pl Conference 2011.

So this is a call to action for anyone with technical skills on Microsoft Technologies who wants to deliver English presentation.

And, just to close the topic that I started at the very beginning, these are some pictures from the MTS:

MTS Group

And this is me, powered by a customized Chrome-Joke T-shirt (:)), when I just got a nice & unexpected gift:

The Gift

Thank you for the wonderful time guys: I’ll see you next time in Warsaw (or even before, @ the MVP Global Summit !!)

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