Written: 20/05/2022 | Updated: N/A
A year ago feels like a long time. It also feels like an incredibly short time. 2021 was the first year I spoke at Microsoft Build and having spoken at Ignite three times previously getting to another one of the big four felt like such an achievement. Of course it turned out to be as great as you would expect. I participated in several sessions. I did a blog. Knowing me I probably also got involved in a few AMA’s at the time. Yet when these things come around annually it feels a bit like a birthday. You reflect. You look at how far you’ve come. At least I do. And what I have found in the last few days is that whilst much has remained the same: as in me being flat out; Vesku being the biggest Metaverse fan I know; and Deltinger still speaking about channels in some form out on the circuit, much has also changed. Firstly, Build is hybrid this year. That’s right. Whilst much of the content will be digital and consumable online there will be regional spotlights which are in-person events held at the Microsoft HQ’s in those countries. So this is not just a return to Build. This will be the first in-person event I have spoken at since Commsverse – and I don’t mean the one at Mercedes Benz world I am talking about the original event which was held at the Microsoft Store in Oxford Circus about a month before we all went into lockdown. Secondly, it’s been quite a year in terms of my personal life. I was hospitalized with Covid. I narrowly avoided burnout and one of my best friends and biggest supporters – my dad – recently passed away from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). So I very much feel like I am coming into this one older. More weathered. Finally, Teams Nation came to an end this year. Vesku and I felt like we had taken it through to its logical conclusion and wanted to go out on a high. I guess aggregating all these things together – plus the fact that we are living in such interesting times means that I am looking forward to Build more than I did last year. Much more. You know, I just want to go there stay up in Reading for a few days and just have fun with people who genuinely want to make the world better. Now whether you are joining it virtually, or have the opportunity to attend in person I could go on about Build being the bellwether and all that. I could reiterate what I said in the blog last year. But really? Come and have fun. Let’s get behind the makers. My father had such a passion for carpentry that he used to say that when he retired he would do it full time. And he did. And you know what? It brought him so much joy. I love you dad.
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MY SESSIONS AT MICROSOFT BUILD
Back at Build this year I am involved in at least 5 sessions, with more maybe on the fly. Two of these sessions are as a speaker and principal host for GBCTT01 | Microsoft Teams – are you ready for the Metaverse? and GBCATE04 | Next-gen experiences at scale with M365. I will be doing these sessions with my good friends Vesa Nopanen and Sharon Sumner so we’ll be quite the team throughout the event. The Table talk session is much due to Vesa’s and my background in Teams. The Ask The Experts session will all be about app development where I get to ask Tom Morgan and Gary Trinder as many pro-dev questions as they can handle. The other two sessions I am involved in as an SME/Moderator will be supporting speakers by answering the questions over the chat. If I could think of a good analogy it’s like being in the film 300 and being in the front row. Also look for me in KEY03 which will be one of the main sessions at Build as part of the audience for that session. Vesa, Adam, myself and several other MVP’s will be there!
GBCTT01 | Microsoft Teams – are you ready for the Metaverse?
GBCATE04 | Create next-gen experiences at scale with M365
GBKEY02 | Keynote panel: Why the announcements at Microsoft Build are important to UK developers
Role: SME & Moderator
GBBRK09 | Build Microsoft 365 apps that help keep employees in the flow of work
Role: SME & Moderator
Also look for me on the big Teams Together Mode screen at this keynote session
KEY03 | Microsoft Build Into Focus: Preparing for the metaverse
Role: Audience Member
TEAMS SESSIONS AT BUILD
As a Teams MVP, here are the 13 sessions I recommend – a mix of live and on demand which will all be available to view after the event
OTHER SESSIONS I AM CALLING OUT
Whilst my principle focus at Build is on Teams, I am professionally interested in pretty much the whole Microsoft stack. Here are some other sessions which I will watch throughout the conference, or be putting into the backpack to roll at a later date
Being an MCT Regional Lead it’s really important to flag opportunities for learning. There are lots of sessions (around 20) which can be found at the Learning zone. Also recommended to watch is the Imagine Cup.
As with previous blogs, you can decide to take on the Cloud Skills Challenge a get a free exam voucher. Please note, only certain exams will be able to be taken
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR VIRTUAL VIEWING
I would like to wish you all the best for a great Build experience! A few tips which may help during the three days given my experiences at Microsoft events over the years
- There are a lot of sessions and it isn’t going to be possible to view them all during the conference. There will be conflicts. Use the backpack in order to go back and watch sessions you missed
- Sessions which are prerecorded can be watched anytime, prioritise live
- Take regular breaks. You would take regular breaks at an in person conference. Stay hydrated and well fed and get away from the screen and stretch your legs
- Get provisions in terms of eating, drinking and anything else you need so you are well prepared logistically
- Ultimately, most things will be recorded so if you miss something you can always catch up. Don’t underprioritise family and friends!
- Try and mix it up! There is a wide range of formats including Sessions, Learn Workshops and Table Talks. It could be more enjoyable to get involved in different sessions as opposed to just breakouts
- Try to book a least a few sessions in every day, whilst you don’t want to take the spontaneity out of the event, having a few booked in will at least give you some structure throughout the conference
- Roundtables are RSVP – book now to avoid disappointment
- If a session is good, call out the session and the speaker on social and give them a boost for a job well done
- Keep the conversations positive! We are all hear to have a great time and be together
- Do technical checks early on Tuesday to ensure you are good to go for the keynote
- Stay in touch with colleagues and friends in Teams and even watch sessions together