Sitecore Symposium and MVP Summit 2018

I’ve just returned from the Sitecore Symposium 2018 in Orlando, FL. It’s been two years since I attended the last one (in New Orleans). My, how it’s grown! There were more than 3000 attendees at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin, with breakout sessions divided into 5 different tracks, ranging from marketing, to technology, to getting started with the platform. It was an intense 3 days of sessions and networking.

There’s so much to talk about, I think I’ll need to break it up into a series of posts over the next few weeks. But I’ll start with how thankful I am to have attended the MVP Summit in the day and half after the closing Symposium keynote.

Symposium_2018_Badge

This was my first year as a Sitecore Commerce MVP, so I’d never been to the MVP Summit. I’d heard great things about it from lots of other MVPs. It’s an opportunity for Sitecore insiders to share upcoming preview releases and talk candidly with community leaders about what’s coming next. It’s also a chance for MVPs to provide face-to-face feedback to Sitecore employees about what’s working well and what can be improved. And it’s naturally a time for MVPs to network with each other.

Part of what makes the MVP Summit work is that it has a smaller number of attendees — about 300 — but a wide diversity of backgrounds. There were MVPs from around the world, some from implementation partners, some from Sitecore’s customers, and some from makes of tools and extensions that work with Sitecore. Many of these were names I recognized from their blog articles, Slack chats, or forum posts. It was great to finally match faces with the names.

Another part of what makes the Summit work is that there’s a huge diversity of topics covered, from Commerce (my focus at the moment) to developer tools, to strategy, to documentation, to the operation of the Sitecore MVP program itself. Some of the best sessions and conversations I participated in were the ones I hadn’t planned on attending.

Finally, there’s a diversity of formats, from presentations, to Q&A sessions, roundtables, and even a “special event” where MVPs can just hang out together and swap stories. Symposium itself tends to either be large presentations or the scrum within the booths at the partner pavilion. So it was nice to have sessions that were less formal and less pressured — I certainly got more out of it than I anticipated. And that’s despite my expectations having been raised by several other MVPs.

So now my task is to figure out how to stay in the club next year!

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