If you are a first-time Microsoft Most Valuable Professional or this is your first time attending the MVP Global Summit in Seattle, then this post is for you.
This is my fourth year as an MVP and will be my third time attending Summit. I wanted to provide my tips and tricks to those who have not attended before.
First rule of summit – don’t talk about summit. But for real, remember your NDA. Don’t tweet, blog, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, or Snapchat anything you learn during summit week. There may be times that it is okay, but err on the side of caution and ask first.
If you’re arriving in Seattle, and you are looking for reliable transportation to / from the hotel and airport, I would recommend Shuttle Express. I have used them since 2008 and the service has always been superb. With gratuity (tip) you are looking at about $50 for round trip service.
When registration opened you might have heard some talk about the Hyatt. Why is the Hyatt so important? A) it’s centrally located to Lincoln Square / Bellevue Square, B) it’s a large hotel so a lot of activities take place here, and c) the rooms are really nice. If you missed out on getting a room at the Hyatt this year, remember, there is always next year.
In most years, registration has taken place across the street from the Hyatt at the Westin Lincoln Square so I would guess that registration will be here again as well. There are also side sessions and other activities that can take place here so keep an eye on the session builder tool to know where to go.
Once you get on the Microsoft campus, it’s like being transported to a whole new world. Yes, it’s a corporate campus, but there is a variety of building design, style, and tons of cool amenities. If you’ve never been on campus before, navigating can seem a bit daunting. I spent two summers in high school working at Microsoft on the main campus and I still didn’t entirely know my way around. But never fear! Here’s a PDF of the Microsoft Campus Map that should come in handy.
If you get lost or just want to know how to get to a different building, feel free to look for anyone from the event services team (typically red shirts in prior years), or you can go to any building receptionist and they can page a shuttle for you to get you to where you want to go.
While you are on campus, make sure to visit building 92. Building 92 is where the Microsoft Visitor Center (really cool museum displays and hands on stuff) and Microsoft Company Store (logo’ed gear and access to the holy grail of goodies that are provided with a VIP pass from the MVP program team) are. If you are an international MVP, make sure you take advantage of your company store reward, as you will not be able to redeem it online through the online store.
As far as touristy things go, here are some of my recommendations. Bear in mind that I’m not a big tourist but there are my personal favorites.
- Pike Place Market – Open air market in the heart of Seattle
- Anthony’s Pier 66 – If you want great seafood, Anthony’s is one of the best places in all of Seattle
- Washington Park Arboretum – Gorgeous park nestled near the University of Washington and right on Lake Washington
- Space Needle – Amazing views of Seattle from the top