Office 365 Distilled EP 17: The best advice ever… For 15 minutes of fame at Ignite

After our sweet sixteen (and Lagavulin whisky with it), we are back with an interview with the amazing Anna Chu (@_achu), senior product manager at Microsoft and the community lead of the Microsoft Ignite event (and Ignite The Tour)!

We wanted to roast her about how to get a speaker gig at Ignite. It has been on Marijn’s bucket list for years to do a session there. At the moment, Marijn will just throw 4-5 speaker submissions to every event possible and see what sticks. Talking about personal adventures and things you need to do for clients, those are great things to go and talk about.

6:15 Nitro cold brew

Anna joins us early in the morning and we discuss being second, brew of the day (nitro cold brew vs mushroom coffee).
It is a busy time for her, appearing on all kinds of podcasts to promote the event and get speakers and community contributors.
November is better for the event so less chance of hurricanes (because the event space is the room for helicopters and first responders for the area) and more breathing room for organisers after Inspire.
Will it move away from Orlando? A possibility would be Las Vegas, because the event is still growing and there is not so much event space that have the necessary square meters (or foot) to hold the crowd.

12:45 How can we fill out the perfect application for MS Ignite ?

There are a few opportunities: 45 minute break submissions, 20 minute theater submissions, community reporters, unconference sessions, …
Everything that relates to the new technologies could be a session. Everything will be more packed together (my feet are thanking you, my step counter isn’t).

Sessions around governance, adoption and operations are definitily possible too. Client testimonials, devops stories, it can cover everything.

19:00 Ignite Tips and tricks

Anna is on the other side of the form: she is looking for compelling titles and abstracts. Not really clickbait or overselling yourself, but unique perspectives that no one else can cover. Thinking about specifiic scenario’s, look at the techcomunnity forums and see what is unresolved, those can give you a good gauge to see what people are interested in.

Community reporters are also back! These people get a chance to see the Ignite event from a different viewpoint! You can meet your heroes, find out what is happening behind the scenes, interview attendees and speakers.
It will all be live streamed throughout the week (and not just a day), and the 10 lucky reporters will have massive visibility. They are meant to fill the gaps with funny intermezzo’s but still very technology focused because it is a technology event after all.
So if you are outgoing,have great personal style and are a great journalist, go and apply! Just remember that in that role, it won’t be possible to give sessions and you won’t really see all sessions that you want to.

41:00 The best bits

Community reporter would be awesome, but just not for us, because we can’t see the sessions when we do. It becomes work (albeit very fun work!). Steve likes the importance of the abstract, being not clickbait and concise.
The best tip was going to the tech community, look at past Ignite titles and act accordingly.

43: 10 Whiskey: Writers tears

We are going back to THE isle (Steve’s words), the one where everyone wears green on that one day once a year. Yes Ireland!

This one is not a pure single malt, it is a “single pot still”. This is a technical term where you have malted and unmalted barley together to make whiskey, primarily in the past to avoid taxes. Bourbon cask with no age mention on it.

This dram is a light and sweet, drinking, not overly complex, not too oily whiskey. It has a light yellow hue, nose is full of honey and subtle fruit (apples and pears) on the nose. A great long caramel and honey finish that fades away gently. The “roasted apple with cinnamon” flavour comes back after a few seconds in the finish.

About: Marijn

Marijn Somers (MVP) has over 14 years experience in the SharePoint world, starting out with SP2007. Over the years the focus has grown to Office 365, with a focus on collaboration and document management. He is a business consultant at Balestra and Principal Content Provider for "Mijn 365 Coach" that offers dutch employee video training. His main work tracks are around user adoption, training and coaching and governance. He is also not afraid to dig deeper in the technicalities with PowerShell, adaptive cards or custom formatting in lists and libraries. You can listen to him on the biweekly "Office 365 Distilled" podcast.

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