This year I had the opportunity to attend and participate as a speaker at the Microsoft Ignite The Tour in Toronto. The event was held over two days from January 10-11, 2019 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and provided a venue for developers and tech professionals to continue learning alongside experts in developer tools and cloud technologies. It also provided an opportunity to connect with technical community and learn best practices and insights into cloud development, data, IT, AI, and business intelligence.
With events like this I usually attend as an attendee, but this year myself and two colleagues put through submissions for the call for speakers from the MVP community. For me this year has largely been about Azure DevOps and trying to connect with local developers, IT, and businesses and showing them up to take advantage of DevOps, specially with Azure DevOps. So it was only natural to focus my efforts around this. It also provided a great opportunity to connect with industry experts and other Microsoft MVP’s to further my education and career path.
Here are some morning pictures outside the contention centre. It was a nice clear day, but it was very cold.
Getting Prepared for my Talk
Day 1 of the conference was our talk on Azure DevOps. After getting my badge I met up with my co-presenters Ehsan and Arlan in the speaker room. This is a relatively quiet place to get away from the crowd and do some preparation or just relax. The food here was great too!
Presenting – Azure DevOps Community Meetup
Our talk was a community meetup on Azure DevOps with 146 people registered and we had great turnout of 130 or so. The presentation sparked many conversations with the attendees and other community MVPs. This later led to a conversation about coordinating a single Global Azure DevOps Bootcamp in the Great Toronto Area which was very exciting.
Working the Microsoft Area – Demo Stations, Lounges and Meeting Pods
After the presentation was done we had arranged a Meeting Pod for both days to continue the Q&A discussions that sparked from the talk. This allowed attendees to come and talk with us afterwards since our time in the room was limited. I also got to work the Demo Station where anyone could walk up to me any ask me anything. I focused my demos on Azure DevOps, Azure Functions, Event Grid and Logic Apps.
Networking, Socializing and Connecting with the Community
Of course you need to have fun and there was plenty of it throughout the two days. I had the opportunity to connect with other MVP’s in the local community and those that flew in for the event. I love this group and the passion we all share to learn and help others in the community.
In the evening there was a MVP social dinner. The name tags for the event were a neat idea, 1.44” floppy disks on a lanyard. I wonder what rock those disks were dug up from? I’m sure I have a box of these somewhere in my basement “tech” museum.
Having the opportunity to participate at a conference like this was amazing. What was special about this event is that it was my first high profile conference to speak at. When I was younger public speaking was something I dreaded and tried to avoid at all cost. Speaking at conferences like this is nerve racking at first but does goes away as you get comfortable and relaxed. You get so much support from the tech community, whether its other speakers, colleagues or just the attendees wanting to engage with you and try to solve similar problems.
I had a blast at this event and I can’t wait for next year. I hope I once again get the opportunity to participate in this conference as a speaker, staffer or both.