First, there are multiple blog articles about how to prepare yourself to Microsoft Ignite. You want to read at least some of those. Here are two good ones
- Matt Wade’s Quick Guide to Microsoft Ignite 2019
- Participating for MS Ignite 2019 at Orlando as a first timer?
The time for preparing is naturally getting short now – some of your have already flown into Florida or about to depart during next few days. So I am going to make this a short one and remind about few tips I have accumulated over the years when visiting conferences and listening other experienced fellows.
Download maps to your map for offline use. You are not always able to use WLAN and maps can contain a lots of information .. megabytes that is. That can eat up your data plan faster than you think. I downloaded several areas of Orlando map that I may visit. It is way cheaper to do at home.
Get a data package/plan to your mobile. Secure a data package for your to use. Either it is a add on to your current subscription, a accessory device or buying a US sim card with data for you to use. When you need to use Über or ask your friends / colleagues where they are you are unlikely using WLAN if you not at the conference center or at a hotel. Yes, there are plenty of parties to attend to.
Backpack helps to carry your SWAG. I prefer to use a comfortable backpack to carry my Surface, chargers, SWAG, some snacks / water bottle etc without getting neck-ache. Stickers are great swag, since they don’t weight a lot but there will be plenty of swag available at the Hub and especially at expo.
Extension cord and power adapters are very useful. While there are power outlets you can’t use them all for yourself (at least not always that is). I prefer to carry a extension cord with me. That way I don’t have to have multiple US->EUR power adapters with me and I can still charge all my devices (laptop, phone and perhaps a tablet) and only use only power outlet. Yes, I carry a backpack.
Don’t forget your chargers. I carry always at least one for phone (fast charging), and one for laptop. If I have also a table with me I consider having it’s charger in my backpack too. Powerbank is very useful as well to have- remember to charge it as well.
Stay hydrated. While running to bathrooms is pain it is better than getting dry. Air conditioning, salty bacon, long transits (walking, walking, walking), heavy learning, loads of coffee (or tea) and all the excitement will dry you out. Some snacks are good too, in case you miss lunch or you start feeling sleepy at a session.
Check out where your session rooms are and don’t create a schedule where you transit 20-25 minutes between each session. Prefer sessions where rooms are closer – and not on another building. Comfortable shoes are important since you will be walking a lot and do a lot of standing. If you feel cold easily it is good to remember that air conditioning is usually set to high. And if you go outside it is really warm there. Dress accordingly.
Remember that sessions are recorded. This goes with the previous one: don’t stress yourself too much. Choose priority sessions you want to attend in person. There are also of other session viewing for sessions available.
Meet Microsoft Product Group members, speakers and MVPs. Many of them spend time in the Hub area. There are plenty of product group representatives at Ignite and also plenty of MVPs to talk with. Go ahead and ask questions. I will be spending several hours in Teams booths as well – come by, say hi and ask me about Teams! 😊
Get to know people involved in Community. Check out the community area and talk with people who set up community events, see if they have stickers and ask for hints & tips how you can get started in community! #CommunityRocks
and last.. Have fun, form connections and make new friends. Talk to people. Small talk is easy to start there (even for a Finnish) since we are all there for the Microsoft Ignite!
Of course you are welcome to attend my sessions!