Even better prepared | I have just come home from my first Microsoft Inspire (formerly Microsoft WPC (World Partner Conference)) and I would like to share my top 5 reflections based on my own preconceived opinions, hoping that other first-time visitors can get even better prepared.
1. The trip
This year’s Microsoft Inspire was held in Washington DC with a 6-hour time difference from Sweden, which in itself does not feel particularly remarkable. However, the total travel time is relatively long, especially for us who had to change flight on the way, which in combination with the time difference and that we arrived in the middle of the day local time made it take some day to get in shape.
If it’s possible, I definitely think that one should try to arrive at least one day before the event begins and if you go with SAS, I can really beat a blow to their Plus category, which has little better chairs for long journeys, without costing a fortune.
2. US power outlets
Of course, there is no news that we have different power outlets in Sweden and the USA, but what might be a bit of a surprise is that it was virtually impossible to get an adapter on site. The hotel had a few loan adapters, but when it was basically full of Swedish participants, they disappeared immediately. There were also no nearby stores that had some in their range and at Walmart which otherwise has everything were sold out.
My advice is to bring both an adapter and a powerful Power Bank from home, as the days are significantly longer than a normal battery can handle.
3. Demanding Climatic Environments
During our period in Washington, the daytime temperature was around 35 degrees with a humidity of + 95%, which means that you cannot move especially many meters without being more or less soaked in sweat. The climate in the premises, on the other hand, is so heavily chilled that it was really unpleasant to stay there without little warmer clothes, in the shape of a long-sleeved shirt or the like. Next year, Microsoft
Inspire will be in Las Vegas and I suspect the challenge will be at least as big there.
In other words, it’s not as easy as to watch the weather forecast and then pack, make sure you have some warmer shirt that can still be carried without being a strain.
4. It’s a huge event
This year’s Microsoft Inspire had around 18,000 participants, which is a huge event, which obviously puts all the organizers involved, which in my opinion succeeded on all fronts except that Internet access from time to time was inadequate, but apart from that, it was a great event in every way.
When we get to the sessions, the offer was huge, with the clear majority being of really high quality, but I really recommend that you spend some time at home planning your days and read through the sessions details instead of just looking at the headlines. It may also be good to choose topics that you focus on per day to make it easier to retrieve all information and to go deeper if necessary.
5. There is no free time
Personally, I saw that there would be a lot of “free time” during the week in Washington, which I had planned to close some work before my coming vacation. This point is probably the one I missed most, because there is really no free time at all. To get to today’s Keynote, you need to get up before 07 and then attend the conference until 17. After that it’s a little mingle until it’s time for today’s dinner and at best you’ll be back around midnight.
Although there is no time for myself or any coherent work, I must say that the Social side of Inspire and Microsoft efforts to make all of us feel cared, really exceeded all my expectations. I also have had the opportunity to build a range of exciting new contacts during the week, so it was well-invested time even though I did not have so much time for work as I thought.
– In conclusion, I would like to say to you who are in the election and qualification if you are going to Inspire for the first time or not. Go! You will not regret it!