The following is a guest post written by MVP Lead Abhishek Kant

Q: What do you get when 60 techies talk tech 24x7 for 4 days?

A: An Open Day. Did we say 24x7 talk? What else would it be for the Graveyard Shifts that started at 11pm and went on for about four hours?

Microsoft IDC

The recently concluded MVP Open Day in India scored big on the technical and the fun quotient in equal measures. Attended by MVPs from India, Australia and Sri Lanka, the objectives of the event included networking amongst MVPs and Microsoft and sharing the latest technical developments. Hosted by the Microsoft India Development Center (MSIDC), Hyderabad, India, the MVP Open day was an event eagerly awaited by the MVPs in the APGC region for the whole year. The event held from May 19 – 23, 2011, brought together all divisions of Microsoft India under one roof – Sales and Marketing Group, India Development Center, Microsoft Research, Global Technical Support Center and MTC— sharing knowledge and experiences with the MVPs. MVP Open Day featured a roster of keynote addresses and deep-dive technical sessions delivered by Microsoft. The speaker lineup included more than 20 speakers from MSIDC, five from MTC and five from DPE. While over 40 sessions were delivered during the MVP Open Day, the most talked about topics included Microsoft Cloud Offerings and Windows Phone. The Open Day sessions were divided into 3 tracks: Developer, IT Pro and Consumer with sessions in each track targeted towards audiences in these categories.

The Open Day started a week earlier to the physical event with the MVPs engaging in online games that promoted networking amongst them and gave them opportunities to showcase their community work.

 The event kicked off with MVPs sharing their feedback and suggestions with the evangelism team on 

MVPs discussing feedback

MVPs presenting feedback to Microsoft

various aspects of the community. The first keynote was made by Amit Chatterjee, general manager of Microsoft IDC, who talked about development excellence and how Microsoft development teams are evolving including deep focus on user experience. He highlighted the important contributions that MSIDC is making towards the Microsoft product lines. The day followed with deep technical sessions with the product teams. These high level technical sessions included future roadmaps of products and Concept Value Tests with a focus on getting feedback from MVPs on each one of them.

Keynote by Amit Chatterjee, GM, MSIDC

Dr. A. Kumaran, MSR

On Day Three, Dr. A. Kumaran presented the keynote on Microsoft Research philosophy and the various projects in the works that are going to lead to development of technology in these areas. The last day of the event was reserved to explore industry solutions around Virtualisation and Cloud offerings.

Ample networking opportunities for MVPs were weaved right through the event. The identification badges for the event carried MS Tags for sharing contact information. Product team members were able to network with MVPs over a relaxed dinner on the first evening. The paintball tournament between MVPs on the second evening enabled them to experience team work. The final evening went full throttle on fun with a theme party complete with dance performances and a dance floor that thumped with MVPs dancing to the party music late into the night.

MVPs engaged in the PaintBall Tournament

Dance performance at Attendee Party

The really special sessions during the Open Days are the Graveyard Shifts that started at 11:00 PM. These are unstructured open discussions where MVPs discuss about myriad technology topics. 

Graveyard Shift in Progress

Graveyard Shift

Some attendee accounts of the MVP Open Day 2011:

http://www.amitbhawani.com/blog/microsoft-mvp-open-day/

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ujjwalk/archive/2011/05/29/mvp-open-days-2011-microsoft-idc-hyderabad.aspx

http://www.kunal-chowdhury.com/2011/05/my-experience-at-mvp-open-day-india-day.html

http://www.kunal-chowdhury.com/2011/05/my-experience-at-mvp-open-day-india-day_21.html

http://www.kunal-chowdhury.com/2011/05/my-experience-at-mvp-open-day-india-day_23.html

http://www.abhisheksur.com/2011/05/first-day-experience-with-mvp-open-days.html

While on one hand, the event provided an opportunity for the MVPs to network and socialize with their community peers and share “real world” feedback with the product groups; on the other, it set the tone for the year ahead for the Microsoft communities and forged friendships that will last a lifetime.