Hey, my name's Stacy Draper, who the heck are you?

I just got back from the MVP summit 2007 and as with all conferences I tried to meet as many folks as I could. I met Sean O’Driscoll who, as it turns out, is the person ultimately responsible for the MVP award program. I must say Sean has a great sense of humor. Met Jason Medero for the first time, we are working on the same Wrox book. We discussed everything from balance of life issues to crazy clients. Because of our conversation I’m getting a kayak, canoe or something and paddle up and down the intracoastal in the morning and making some time for me.

When it comes to balance of life we all decided to take Monday off and shoot each other with paintballs. Besides doing the Macarena, I think paintball is the most fun I’ve ever had. Dan Larson has some video of paintball, but I think Conelius van Dyk’s blog post was first. Andrew Connell shared his thoughts on the day as well.

I’d like to thank Robert Bougue for carting our butts around and now, officially and publicly, apologize to him for shooting him when I was out of bounds. . . . I didn’t know. Honest.

Paintball was a ton of fun, 23 of us shot off 24,000 rounds. Someone calculated that it was 67 paintballs in the air in any given minute, but you really have to think about that. From the time we shot our first paintball to the last was 6 hours. But we weren’t playing that entire time. You have to consider we took a break to catch our breath, drink some water, get air and of course buy more paintballs.  So when there was a paintball in the air there were a lot of paint balls in the air.

It was my first time ever playing, one game was called attack defend. The defenders have to keep a bell from getting run and the attackers have to ring a bell. Brad Smith came up with an amazing strategy, “We’ll surround them and shoot everybody we see.” So we did. We met in the middle so quickly we started shooting at each other and the referees were laughing. We all thought they were laughing because we were such aggressive bad asses, as it turns out they’ve never seen a team so aggressively cannibalize itself. I was shooting at Brad from what I thought was the safest place in the world. I was sheltered, uphill, with only a 10 inch opening. He actually shot me right in the eye. Good shootin’ Brad, even if we are on the same team, I’m still really very impressed. I’m sure there is a lesson in here somewhere about communication.

In another game I ran out of air in my gun, so I resorted to throwing paintballs by hand. Loke Kit Kai shot me. He said he felt bad because I was so close. I had to be close because I throw like I use a mouse for a living. His wife though, Stephanie, she's quite the stealthy one and I, like many of my teammates, was so glad she was on my team.

Lawrence really showed us a great time. He took us to a couple of dinners one at Elliott’s Oyster House where I had a spearfish, it was yummy. What a great team building day! Thanks for everything LL, you’re the best!

Of course we all talked a lot of technology the other days, but that’s all under NDA. The MVP Summit was basically Microsoft employees who were in charge of various products telling us what they had in mind and we told them what we thought and what we thought they should have in mind. I learned that Shane Young has a long career ahead of him with his upgrade training, because there’s not a lot of automation in that space beyond what the SharePoint team blog's post on the upgrade toolkit points out.

Adam Buenz, as I found out, is a good guy to have your side of an argument. He spontaneously created a list of gripes and everyone was impressed with the roll he was on. He became somewhat of an ambassador for the rest of us. You could hear other people in the background whispering through him Adam would effectively communicate it to the folks at the podium as if he were some walking talking megaphone.

Who knows what they do with the information but they did seem to cherish it, which made me feel special. They probably take that information and compare it with their other channels of information. Somehow digest it all and figure out what the next versions of the products are going to be. All I can say is that I’m totally impressed with the new stuff they are thinking about while still being enamored with the current stuff.

As with most conferences networking is golden. I got to see many folks that I met in Berlin like Michael Gerth, Daniel Wessels, and Renaud Comte who represented France and Americans like Woody, Michael Noel, Mike Ammerlan, Fitz, and John Paul. Michael Noel is always interesting to talk to, because we came into SharePoint from exactly opposite directions. He entered from administration and I from development and we both know the product really well and overlap in skills so much it’s somewhat amazing to realize that we have such different backgrounds. He’s obviously progressed a lot further in his career than I have, but I think it’s only because he’s smarter. It’s always a pleasure to talk to him about anything. Never forgetting the fellas from the UK who are turning out to be great pals of mine Spencer Harbar, Steve Smith, Nick Swan and Stephen Cummins (in no particular order of course).

Stephen brought his wife but I didn’t get a chance to meet her. Todd Klindt did get to meet his wife and daughter on the plane and he shared with us that their daughter is just the cutest little thing.

I’m excited for Nick Swan and Todd Baginski. They are selling a tool called the BDC meta man if you haven’t heard of it and you have to do anything with BDC you should go look at their product. Compared to the number of sales they had when I was in Berlin to the number of sale they had when I was in Seattle they had a 50% growth in sales. That was just 2 weeks apart. Amazing growth you guys, keep up the good work!

Of course Florida was well represented! Andrew Connell, John Holliday who are both going to the code camp next week, March 24 and I’m defiantly going to try to make it.

I really want to make it to an Australian conference some time. I had the privilege of meeting Ivan Wilson and Gayan Peiris a couple of really cool and smart guys. Maybe some day I can go, I’m just spread so thin trying to get my arms around Europe. I did get a chance to practice my Spanish with Carlos Segura Sanz, as it turned out he’s from Pamplona, where they have the running of the bulls. I’ve always wanted to go there. As most people know, my wife Macarena is from Spain, so I’m always trying to figure out how to learn the culture well enough to work there.

Dustin Miller had to have come up with one of the best lines that I heard on the trip. Dan Larson kept hanging up on Brad Smith because Brad was trying talk Dan out of going for sushi or at least waiting until we got there so we could all go. Apparently there’s no getting between Dan and his sushi. I can hardly blame Dan, I’ve eaten there before (with him as a matter of fact) and it was great. At one point a frustrated Brad bulldogged up and stammered out, “Stop hanging up on me . . . or I’m going to . . . rip out your throat . . . and choke you with it!” Immediately after saying so you can see the frustration in Brad’s face as he lets out a deep sigh, tilts his head down, hangs up the phone and Bob Fox asked, “Did he hang up on you again?” Dustin looks up at Bob asking, “10 thousand sperm and you were the fastest, huh?” In the end Adam, Eli, Brad and I had a great time shooting pool at belltown billiards.

Mathew McDermott caught me having breakfast one morning, what an interesting guy who really knows his stuff. One day while taking a bus we talked about some nice additions to SharePoint along the lines of user management and I think I’m going to try to build some of them. I ran some ideas past Mike Ammerlan and he gave me a much better approach than what I had in mind so I really can’t wait to try it out.

Cornelius Van Dyk and I had the same flight back to Chicago. We talked about our individual community projects we have our sights set on and are going to try to help each other out. He got me all excited about a SharePoint wiki idea I had a while back. I brought it up to Lawrence back in October but I set it aside because Dustin was doing something similar really soon. I need to follow up and see what’s going on there. Corne created some blogs as he went. It’s amazing that Bill Gates even let’s people ask questions as this one about lotus notes was a classic, and I thought this one on world hunger was great response as well. Corne also got some nice photo’s from the key note as well.

I think it’s a real privilege to hear Bill Gates speak. I’ve heard he’s so rich that if he were to throw 10 grand out the window while driving down the road at 60 miles an hour would cost him more to turn around and pick it up. There was a huge line forming before breakfast. I thought people were going to throw their wives panties on the stage! It turns out that the forum was nicely sized, I still got breakfast and was only 3 rows back and one group of seats off center.

Bob Mixon has a nice assortment of photos too.

By the way I purposefully left Gary Bushey out, just kidding Gary. Dan has another great video of Kells from Thursday night. This was a really great trip and that’s all I can say without damaging careers (namely my own). 

I’ve been at this blog post for nearly 5 hours and seem to have run out of transitional sentences. Believe it or not it’s a lot of work to name drop, never mind all the links! Suffice it to say I met a lot of interesting people from all parts of the world some are new friends while some are old friends and I feel privileged for it all. Now it's time to firm up those connections and chase down those ambitious dreams!

UPDATED: March 20, 2007

Ivan Wilson just posted his photos

UPDATED: March 23, 2007

Renaud Comte just posted his photos

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