What a blast!  We had our first local Community Influencer Dialog event on Friday 2/6, and it was killer.  While our attendence wasn't as high as expected, we still had many people brave the Friday traffic, freezing rain, and flooding to make it on a Friday night.

In attendence such community influencers as:

  • Microsoft Regional Directors
  • Microsoft MVP's
  • User Group leaders (and not all Microsoft!)
  • Authors and noted speakers

And from Microsoft:

  • Me, Developer Evangelist, as host
  • our Developer Community Champ, Geoff Snowman http://blogs.msdn.com/gsnowman
  • our Architect Evangelist, Jim Prussack
  • a member of our districts executive team, and my and Jim's manager, De Porres (D.P.) Brightful

Since this was our first meeting, I wanted to make sure that there was enough material to engender discussions.  After all, this was a 3 hour dinner event, and “Dialog” was the main purpose of the event.  I scheduled 5 short, 10-20 minute topics, thinking that that would be enough.

Hah!  I really only needed one!  After I kicked it off, we went into introductions and brief overview about how Microsoft views the community and it's influentials by D.P., Terry Weiss and Bill Wolff gave an insight into the MSDN Regional Director program and the MVP program from Microsoft.  Both programs have a lot to offer, and most of it having to do with information and networking.

Directly following, Jim Prussack lead a discussion about Service Oriented Architecture, where it is today and where it is going.  I would have said he “presented” it, but this 20 minute talk turned into an hour and a half of roundtable discussions!  It was for this kind of excited conversations that we wanted to start these Dialog meetings with the community influencers.  I decided to table all except one other session since I didn't want to ruin the activity.

This session was a demonstration of InfoPath by Geoff Snowman.  Well, sure enough, this topic filled the rest of the meetings time, and Geoff didn't even complete everything in his demo.  Lots of questions, opinions, and additional roundtable discussions around InfoPath and related topics.

All of this, and at a local Maggiano's restaurant, with lots of food and great company.  Everyone who attended thought the event was great, and are looking forward to upcoming events like this through out the year.

At the next one, I'm going to limit us to one topic for presentation, since it seems that's all we need!  Hopefully more of the invited influencers will be able to attend, and I also do hope that more of the local non-Microsoft user group leaders will be able to attend.

To all those who did brave the elements, and took the time on a Friday night to make this such a cool event, thank you!