Just got back from Vegas and find myself somehow in front of my computer monitor again in my office here in Redmond. Thought I'd just share some of my perspective on my five days in Las Vegas at MMS 2008, our singular yearly event with the broad community of IT pros invested in the infrastructure management space.

My official activities for the event were focused on community--what it is and how it can be improved. Terri Worley (my colleague in the CPE org) and I did a session with Rod Trent and Ron Crumbaker, attempting to frame a discussion of community resources available from Microsoft and from those like Rod, Pete Zerger, and others out in the community. Terri and I also put together a couple of focus groups on community, whose purpose was mainly to help us formulate our community strategy for the months ahead. Once she and I have had a chance to digest the feedback, I'll be sure to share w/ you some of our findings.

In addition, I was also busy making sure that our new Web site bearing our new solutions messaging got published in time to support all the major announcements on our data center and desktop strategies, including the earth-shaking news about System Center's emergent x-plat support.

Unofficially, I also took some steps into videography (go figure). The better part of my spare time on Monday and Tuesday were spent both shooting and editing video. Amazing the number and size of obstacles you can run into when you really need to get something done in a hurry and your technology fails you (or, as in my case, I'm not too ashamed to admit, your lack of expertise with the technology sets you up for time-eating, hair-pulling, frustration-inducing, software+hardware hell).

The main problem I faced had to do with the fact that the camera I was using recorded in an HD format that had to be converted to something more usable and appropriate for the Web. It also didn't help that I lacked the proper camcorder-to-PC cable, but that's another story. In any event you can see one of the results here, in a video I put together to help out Robb Mapp, our AR lead:


An Analyst's Perspective on System Center's Cross Platform Management

Needless to say, although the circumstances were far from ideal for learning from scratch how to use an HD camera and then edit the results, I now know what some of the pitfalls are and can be much more efficient with it next time around. Live and learn.

Beyond those experiences, I was of course kept busy with various social and professional activities--in particular meeting with folks from Microsoft and the community, aligning our thinking on things such as how we can begin to take steps to make MMS content much more useful to the community throughout the year, how we can do a better job supporting user groups, and how we can help build connections with and improve discoverability of community resources wherever they happen to be on the Web or off. I have plenty of fodder for thinking about what we're doing and how, and what we can do to improve our business of connecting with customers over the next year, and what we might want to do at next year's MMS.

(BTW, in the days ahead, once I get a decent computer on which to do the required editing, I'll do a quick video of some interviews with some Microsoft folks at the event, and give you a little virtual tour of the expo hall.)

- dave //