Last weekend, Middle East & Africa MVPs had their first local gathering since 2008. Although this was very close a long trip to Las Vegas to attend and speak at the global SharePoint Conference 2014, I made it to Istanbul on March 20th to attend “MEA MVP Open Day” and spend a couple of days in one of my favorite cities worldwide.
It has been an amazing event for me, not only did I get to make new friends but I also had the chance to meet some friends that I had previously met during global MVP Summits, TechEd events as well as local conferences.
During the two days, we had the opportunity to listen to great & informative talks by Aben Kovoor (MEA HQ DPE Lead), Michael Fosmire (Microsoft MVP Program Business Lead), Dariusz Zalewski (Nokia Developer Champion CEE Lead) and Ekaterina Lajintseva (International Senior Site Manager for MSDN & TechNet). We also had some MVP-to-MVP sessions and discussions, those for me were the coolest & most useful part in the two days!
Although I’ve been in the community for a long time, the MVP-to-MVP sessions in addition to our side talks inspired me to come up with new plans and work on new things:
- I liked how Alistair Pugin (SharePoint MVP) united the efforts of the South African SharePoint User Groups & SQL User Groups to work together on joint big events, this is something that I’m planning to replicate in some of the countries that I regularly visit in Middle East & Africa.
- I also liked how Taylor Gibb (Windows Consumer MVP) reached millions of technology users through his consumer-focused blog. Although I’m maintaining an active blog that deeply tackles many business productivity and collaborations areas, I still didn’t offer much in the consumer space. During the next months, I’ll also extend my focus to cover other products areas like Office Online, Skype and others.
- I very much liked the personal branding tips and tricks presented by Daron Yondem (Azure MVP). Daron was kind enough to share with us very useful online services that can help boost the reach of our technology contributions. IFTTT.com & bufferapp.com are just two examples.
Besides, I enjoyed learning about some of the impactful activities in the past 12 months:
- Yasser Makram’s (Client Dev MVP) well-received sessions at TechEd North America & TechEd Europe events.
- Sherif Talaat’s (PowerShell MVP) two books in 1 year!!
- Niyi Omotoyinbo’s (Directory Services MVP) contribution to the Cloud OS MVP Roadshow in Africa.
- Ahmed Bahaa’s (Visual Studio ALM MVP) session @ MEA Visual Studio 2013 launch in Dubai.
- And more …
Last but not least, I would like to extend a huge word of thanks to Hande Kayadeniz Torkan (MEA MVP Lead) and Sinem Eylem Arslan (Turkey MVP Lead) for putting together such a phenomenal event. Cannot wait to see you along with fellow MEA MVPs in Seattle (well, If my MVP status is renewed in April) J