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Prior to the event

  • Pack your (nerdiest) clothes
    • You're free to be as nerdy as you like!
    • Pack light (the lighter, the better).
  • Bring clothes suitable for Orlando's weather
    • The expected temp in Orlando for September is around 90 Fahrenheit (32C)
  • Bring good walking shoes because you'll do a lot of walking
    • The convention center is very big
    • Theme parks (Disney/Universal) are very big too
  • Bring a large backpack 'cause there will be a lot of goodies ! :)
    • You'll go back home with a heavier luggage than when you arrived...
    • Did I mention to pack light? ;)
  • Make sure your passport is still valid (if attending a conference in a foreign country)
    • If you need a VISA, make sure you have it and it's valid
    • If you're travelling from a country which has a VISA waiver agreement with the US then don't forget to apply for an ESTA by visiting: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
  • Bring your business cards
  • Make sure you have enough money (there will be side expenses, believe me!)
  • Make space in your phone (yes, you'll take a looooot of pictures :D )
  • Downloand the Microsoft Ignite mobile app iOS and Android
    • It will be your best companion during the conference
  • Explore sessions and create your custom-tailored schedule
    • The conference center is very big, so I recommend to schedule more than one session for a given time slot. That way, you'll have a backup plan if the first session of your choice is either full or way to far to reach it before it begins.
    • Use the Schedule Builder for that matter.
    • Select all sessions that interest you at first, then filter the conflicting ones. Remember to have 2 or 3 sessions for the same time slot as mentioned above.
  • Book a hotel proposed on the Microsoft Ignite website (preferably)
    • that way, you can take the shuttle from and to the conference center for free.
    • You may consider booking an Airbnb, if you don't find a hotel that works for you.
  • If you're an MVP, don't forget to visit the MVP Lounge
  • If you're not an MVP, don't forget to visit the MVP Lounge
    • There are great people to meet, who are willing to share their enthusiasm, energy and knowledge with you!
  • Have a question on a specific Microsoft technology, product or service? There'll certainly be a booth where you can get it answered
    • Get your questions ready
    • Locate the best booth to ask for them (use the convention center's map)
  • Reconnect with people you've met in previous edition of the Microsoft Ignite event and let them know that you'll be there

During the event

  • Don't miss the opening Keynote
    • It has some magical and inspirational feeling
  • Have fun! (this is the number one recommendation)
    • You've worked hard to get there so enjoy!
  • Talk to people, make new friends or new connections
  • Tweet your experience with the #MSIgnite hashtag
  • Allow time to visit booths
    • There's a lot of interesting things to discover there.
  • Allow time to enjoy the city
    • You don't have to head to your hotel right after the last session of the day finishes ;)
    • There's a lot to see in Orlando (did I mention that there'd be side expenses?)
  • Do not forget the "Celebration event" (Thursday evening)
    • So much fun packed in one evening, you won't believe it!
  • Consider attending Theater (THR) sessions
    • These are short-condensed-very-informative sessions that really worth the shot
    • Last year, these sessions weren't recorded (unlike "regular" sessions); So, it might be your only chance to attend them!
  • You may be able to take note
    • Keep in mind that Microsoft will provide a recording and the slide decks for most of the sessions (with exception to the THR sessions)
    • Jonathan McKinney suggests that you use a Jabra Speak 410/510 (or similar devce) with OneNote. If you have the Bluetooth version you might even get permission to put it up near where the speaker is speaking. Check out his blog post on this topic.

During the Celebration party

  • Be on time at the identified departure location at your hotel
  • Keep in mind that there are fixed departure and return time slots
  • Bring only the absolutely-required stuff
    • That way, the security check at the entrance will be faster, which means more time for fun!
    • Also because some attractions will require that you leave your stuff away for safety reasons
    • Also because it's better to carry food and drinks that backpacks and such stuff ;)
  • Tweet your experience with the #MSIgnite hashtag

After the event

  • Take time to digest all what you've seen/heard/experienced/learned
  • Blog about it or share it on your favourite social media
  • Hold a local meetup event to share your experience with those who didn't have your luck
    • Yeah, it's okay to say that you had a wonderful time there! :D
  • Put what you've learn into practice
    • This could lead you to create something new, to contribute to an open-source project, present at a conference or a local event, write a blog, or else (let me know).

Want more tips?

  • Check out Jonathan McKinney's blog post as it is full of other great tips that aren't appearing here.
    • Jonathan was kind enough to give me permission to include some of his tips in this checklist.