At MMS 2012, you heard about a change in location for MMS 2013. You even heard Brad Anderson (nice tan!) walk through a spiel about a laundry list of places that were being considered and saw this special slide at the end of the keynote:
And, if you’ve been following closely, you’ve walked through news and news pieces here on myITforum, your MMS community central, about what to expect for MMS 2013, including the angst from MMS alumni that MMS 2013 could be co-located, or even merged with TechEd 2013 in New Orleans. For example, Jeff James wrote a full piece on the co-location of TechEd and MMS in 2013: Jeff James asked: Will MMS 2013 Be Co-located with TechEd 2013?
But, if you had been paying extra, special attention, you would have caught a hint of something else. If you had been paying attention here at myITforum, you would have seen this on August 3, 2012: Stirring the pot for MMS 2013. Some thought it was a fluke, but it still got others thinking.
So, what happened? Why the change? When was the decision actually made?
There’s a lot of this I can speak to in the coming days, but Brad Anderson will explain some of it shortly in an official Microsoft blog post (keep watching here for the blog release announcement). So, as to not step on Brad’s toes (Hulk get angry. Hulk smash), I won’t cover that in this post. Instead, I want to give you some insight about having MMS 2013 in Vegas from a community perspective – because that’s what I do.
It’s about Community
First and foremost, MMS 2013 in Vegas is about community. Having MMS in a location like New Orleans or Orlando doesn’t allow the same community “feel”. I’ve spent the last few years accompanying the Microsoft folks to TechEd, and while there is a strong community aspect there, it’s just not the same.
So, how does Vegas play into that?
Vegas allows us to house the lodging and conference in the same location. Or, for those staying outside the hotel, at least very close nearby. This promotes the ability for attendees to get together after conference hours. This ability has fostered more friendships and professional networking than any other conference. And, by doing this, it has built a MMS brand loyalty that is unequaled. Those that have been to any MMS in the past, always long to come back. MMS gets high marks in sessions and labs, but the true value of MMS is the interaction of attendees. Seriously, that’s where you get the majority of your questions answered and your problems resolved.
With the number of community events increasing for MMS over the last few years, having the conference in the hotel also gives attendees better opportunities to participate and get the most out of the conference. This allows attendees to “step out” of their comfort zone. In the IT world, it’s easy to get head-down on projects and become a sort of technical recluse. But providing special community events that are easy to access, attendees are more inclined to connect.
MMS has been in Vegas all but a couple years. So, while I hear that other places *could* be cheaper, that’s really not the case. MMS in Vegas for so many consecutive years gives bargaining power to those negotiating contracts for the venue. This means that the registration price for the conference stays low and attendees get more for their money. If you could see the budget for MMS, your jaw would drop off. By keeping it in Vegas, Microsoft is able to offer more labs, more sessions, and more community events than if it were in another city, and still keep the price of the conference at a good price.
There are a lot of people who have suggested places like Orlando or even going back to San Diego. San Diego was one of the more expensive places, and Orlando is a logistical nightmare.
MMS is one of the most unique conferences. It was built on community and we’ve worked very hard to make sure community continues to thrive. We feel it’s the most important aspect of the conference. Vegas has never been one of those places I would pick as a vacation spot for me or my family, but it is the probably the most perfect spot for MMS. If it weren’t for MMS, I’d never visit Vegas. But because of MMS, the friends I’ve made there, and the memories that has built the MMS story, Vegas is like home.
See you there in April 2013.