Sarah in Seattle – Day 1 of MVP Adventures

Greetings from Seattle!  I am not adjusting to the time zone, despite the 3 hours difference.  I was up bright and early at 5am, happy to be reunited with my luggage.  Ah yes, one of those adventurous trips where I’ve beaten my luggage to the destination.  At least it made it to the right hotel!  The Hyatt Regency Bellevue staff have been very accommodating and friendly, which also helps.

Last night, I started exploring the area with my friend James, and then we headed to the MSMVP event at the Microsoft Store in Bellevue Square. 

It was great to see some of my fellow MVPs that I only see a few times a year (but that I harass and tease on Twitter and Facebook much more often).  I ended up hanging out with some of the guys from Philly, New Jersey, and Virginia, in addition to hanging out with one of my closer friends from the Heartland district.  It was also great to finallu meet Marques Lyons, the organizer of the MSMVP events and a Zune MVP that I’ve kept in touch with on Twitter!

MVPs at Earls

I cried a lot yesterday, from laughing so hard!  I love these guys… the things they set me up to say, and the things we set each other up for.  It’s hysterical!

I’m looking forward to the rest of the MVP Summit, where I’ll get to see more of my friends and make new friends as well.  While I like the content (that I cannot talk about), I really enjoy the networking as well.  This is truly a meeting of the minds, and it blows my mind away to be surrounded by such awesomeness.

I still am in awe of the path I’ve been on career-wise, and I have no idea where it’ll lead me.  But I’m definitely looking forward to wherever it’ll take me.  This has been a lot of fun so far, and the official pre-events haven’t even started yet!

Sadukie’s MVP Challenge

As I pack for the Microsoft MVP Summit, I think of all the experiences I had last year.  There’s an experience in general that got me thinking, and I have a challenge for all of the MVPs who are going out to the Summit.

Last year, I was sitting in the hotel lobby with some of my developer friends, and this MVP walks up to us and starts talking with us.  When we went around saying what our expertise was, he was the odd man out being the IT guy in a developer crowd.  His specialty was EBS.  The guy was nice to talk with, but I could tell that some of the others around me didn’t have a clue as to what he was talking about nor were they interested in talking with MVPs other than developer types.

So my challenge this year is this – meet MVPs who are outside of your expertise and even outside of your bigger picture grouping.  So developers – meet the platform MVPs, the IT Pro MVPs, the other MVPs out there who may not be a developer type.  And those who aren’t developer types, know that we developers aren’t always as grumpy as the stereotype puts us and meet us as well.

Take this challenge, learn about something other than your own expertise, and have fun!

You never know when you’ll meet someone outside of your regular circle who could lead you to greater opportunities and more open doors.

What’s Coming Up in 2010…

Happy New Year to you all! I hope you enjoyed celebrating the Gregorian calendar’s change in the year. I am currently celebrating with friends – my husband and I have an annual LAN party that runs over New Years weekend, and despite the snow, we have a great turn out.
Looking forward into 2010, I have quite a few things lined up for blogging here…
The SUX Series
In 2008, while frustrated with the Office 2007 packaging, I started the Sarah on User eXperience (SUX) series. I didn’t realize that I’d actually run with it, but in 2009, I had 8 entries on things that had poor user experience or awesome user experience. In 2010, this series will continue.
The SoS Series
This is a new series in 2010 – Sarah on Social (SoS) will cover my thoughts on things related to social media and social networking. From what sites I use and how I use them to why businesses need social media policies but why they shouldn’t be too restrictive, look forward to seeing social media and social networking covered a bit more in 2010.
Toughest Developer Puzzle Ever Lives On
Once again, I’m working on creating puzzles for the Toughest Developer Puzzle Ever v. 2.0. We’re looking for more puzzle creators – so if you’re interested, email us and we’ll get in touch with you about what we’re looking for and how you can help.
Want to see how well we did last year? Check out Jeff’s post and see for yourself!
If you haven’t seen it yet, definitely check out the Toughest Developer Puzzle Ever at (a nice, short, Tweetable URL).
WiTty Perspectives
More and more I’m finding myself writing down my thoughts on the joys and pains of being a woman in tech (WiT), so the WiTty Perspectives series will cover my adventures of being a woman in tech and the lessons and words of advice that I have for other women in tech.
Caught in the Web
As many of you know, as part of my day job, I’m a web developer. I’ve always enjoyed web development, and I take great joy in making my web sites working on more than just Internet Explorer. So in 2010, look forward to more blog posts on web technologies, web debugging tools, and other things that I’d find interesting for web developers.
2010 will be an interesting adventure to say the least, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts, my experiences, and my perspective with all of you. If you ever want me to cover something in particular, email me and let me know what you want to hear.

On Twitter…

One of the more recent links that I’ve added to right hand side is a link to my Twitter feed. If you want to see what I’m up to, that’s definitely one way of tracking me down. The reason I mention Twitter in a programming blog is because you’re about to see just how the social programmer ends up meeting a bunch of other programmers and other interesting people along the way.

Long ago, my friend Nivex told me to check out Twitter, and I saw it and thought it was the stupidest idea ever. Seriously, answering the question “What are you doing?” just can’t go far, can it? I didn’t bother giving it a try then – I just couldn’t see it taking off or really going anywhere.

Fast forward to today… I’m on Twitter, and I’ve picked up a bunch of followers.

So what did it take to get me there? Well we had Jeff Blankenburg, the Microsoft Developer Evangelist for the OH/MI/KY/TN region, at the Bennett Adelson .NET SIG in December who decided to show us some really cool Microsoft projects. He managed to sneak Twitter in his presentation, and he made it seem pretty neat. So I figured I’d probably check it out.

After following Jeff and Nivex and seeing who they were following, I started to get a feel for Twitter. I realized that it’s yet another social networking tool out there, and it isn’t as stupid as I had originally thought.

So, who are the people following me and why are they following me? Now this one, I can’t always answer. I can tell you that I know only a handful of them in person – others, I have picked up along the way probably through random Twitter discussions or just Twitter-surfing in general.

The ones I know in person include the two who introduced me to Twitter plus a couple others who are down in North Carolina, who I met when we visited Nivex awhile back (like tarheelcoxn and jeremyp) or who came up here with Nivex last September (clubjuggler).

I’m sure some of them may be from the .NET SIG (like johnnystock and MichaelDotNet), but I’m not always good at putting faces with people after the fact. So if you know me from the SIG, say hi to me at the SIG so that I can maybe put two and two together.

Some have found me from other conversations – like the GoF discussion, which brought fhwrdh. Then there’re ones that I started following because of their random messages – like the World of Warcraft message posted by jfollas. Oh, and since I mentioned Jeff, I may as well mention our other awesome Microsoft regional contact, Josh Holmes, the Architect Evangelist for the same MI/OH/KY/TN region, who is also part of the Twitter people I follow.

I’ve met all sorts of people and have read so many different things on people I’ve looked up to in the industry. From programming related stuff to personal stuff, all sorts of information flies by in Twitter conversations. It’s a unique atmosphere to be in – you see conversations others are having, and they can see your conversations. But you can meet some of the most interesting people out there.

Check out Twitter if you haven’t already. You never know who you may cross paths with!