Reporting the Community Perspective at #MSIgnite

buckleyPLANET reporting from Microsoft Ignite in Orlando

As you’ve likely seen across several other blog posts, tweets, and conversations in both the Microsoft Tech Community and Yammer, this year Microsoft has invited 10 MVPs to comprise a team of Community Reporters at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Florida. I’m very excited to be a part of this team!

Wait, is it Team, or Group? Maybe we should call it a Squad so as not to confuse people…  😛

What will we be doing? Aside from the obvious blogging frenzy already underway from my fellow Squad members, we will be wandering the halls of the Orange County Convention Center and surrounding locales to talk with attendees and speakers, recording live from the podcast center, hanging out in the adjacent community hub, and sharing our posts, streams, and audio with Microsoft as part of their week-long media production.

Just to be clear: we won’t be reading from prepared statements from Microsoft on any topic — the point of having MVPs up front and interviewing people is to share OUR perspective on the news coming out of the event, and asking the questions that you want to hear. For example, I have a list of features I’d like to see within Microsoft Teams (and will be talking with Microsoft’s Karuana Gatimu [@karuana] tomorrow for the CollabTalk Podcast, btw), and others have blogged on their plans to get the skinny on several items. If you’re not attending Ignite this year, but have a burning question that hasn’t been answered, feel free to tweet them to us. Of course, for the record, I would recommend that you first 1) search the Microsoft Tech Community to see if it’s been answered, and if not, post your questions there, 2) scan UserVoice to see if it’s something that has been logged, and people are voting on, and if not, post your request there, and THEN 3) tweet us with details, and we’ll see what we can find out.

One of the coolest aspects of the role, however, is that we’ll be participating in the live show on Monday morning – before, during, and after the keynotes! One of the huge benefits of being a Microsoft MVP is getting access to the product and engineering teams throughout the year, getting deeper insights into Microsoft product plans, and being able to provide direct feedback to the teams that build and market the products. But this is one step beyond, literally having back stage passes to the “big show” of Microsoft tech geekdom. Yes, yes….BUILD can probably be classified as geekier than Ignite as the annual developer event….

To be included in this program is a great honor — one that is not lost on us, nor on many within the community (read @jshuey‘s post here). Having participated in the social activities around the partner conference Inspire for several years, we saw Microsoft pull back from some community efforts, which was unfortunate. So to see Ignite take the lead and do something like this is very cool, and IMO the right direction. For everyone out in community roles, organizing events and managing user groups, this invite is a direct recognition by Microsoft of the importance of these efforts. Some of the most valuable learning comes from the community, not the product teams, and getting community members more involved will certainly improve the event overall.

The Community Reporters

The squad that Microsoft has put together are known for their online antics (in a good way….mostly), so this role is a natural fit for us. To the naked eye, the output we’ll generate while at Ignite may seem like a ton of work, but for this squad of people, it really is business-as-usual. You’ve seen the list, I’m sure, but here we are again — the 2017 Microsoft Ignite Community Reporters are:

Microsoft Ignite Community Reporters Squad Team Group

Thanks to Tom for pulling together the list with both Tech community links, as well as Twitter profiles and details. And thank you cut-and-paste for making life just a little bit easier 🙂

How to Find Me At Ignite

If you’d like to connect with me while in Orlando, the best way to find me will be through my Ignite schedule, which will be edited continually up until (and during) the event. If you’re worried about seeming too pushy, don’t think of it as “stalking” — it’s all about networking, right?

As I blogged a couple days back, I have a session on Tuesday on the State of the Hybrid SharePoint Ecosystem, otherwise I’ll be floating around the conference center with my bag of recording tools, interviewing people. If you see myself or one of the other Community Reporters standing outside of a session that you’re leaving, chances are we would LOVE to hear your thoughts on the session, so come over and ask if we need more footage.

Another way to find me — I’ll be running a #CollabTalk TweetJam each day from 12:30 to 1:30pm in the Community Hub, and will be joined by fellow Community Reporter Darrell Webster and his REgarding 365 team, who will be live streaming the online activity. Both will be excellent resources for people not attending, but who want to participate in the conversation each day. I’ll be blogging on that schedule tomorrow, so watch for details.

I’m excited to head east to Orlando! See you there!

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.