Episode 9 of the Countdown to Ignite Show is now available, and this week Rick Claus and Joey Snow switch gears. They’ve served us quite an appetizer for the Chicago Ignite experience with their tour of some of the best places in Chicago to eat, drink, and experience the city, but now we’re moving on to the entrée, focusing on the meat of the pre-conference experience. Get ready for your first look at MyIgnite, your personalized portal for the Ignite conference. Keep reading for my summary, but make sure you click over to the Ignite blog for the video and full blog post.
This episode gives us our first look at the MyIgnite portal, specifically the Session Builder. If you’ve been to Ignite’s predecessors such as TechEd or MEC, you’ve experienced a conference portal in various incarnations over the years. Over my 12 years of TechEd I’ve seen portals and functionality come and go. MyIgnite appears to combine the best of all of those different experiences into one easy to use and(and quite responsive) site. One very important caveat to keep in mind. MyIgnite is a work-in-progress. Even though the portal is live, not all of its planned functionality is there yet. You will see features light up online as they’re deemed ready to use. Rick and Joey will cover any new functionality in upcoming episodes of the countdown show.
Even though I said earlier that you should keep reading for my summary, I’m not going to go into any detail. Rick and Joey walk through the Session Builder and demonstrate how quick and easy it is to filter the catalog to find the sessions you want to add to your schedule. As I write this post, there are 610 sessions in the catalog, so you can appreciate how important being able to quickly zero in on sessions will be as we fill out your schedules. Watch the video and you’ll see everything you need to know to jump in and build your schedule.
Joey mentions something several times during the episode, and I’m going to repeat what he says: Go build your schedule now. Don’t wait. The conference planners use the schedules we build to gauge popularity of sessions and make sure they assign sessions to the right size rooms. Nobody likes showing up for a session only to find the room full. The reverse is true as well. A huge room with only a handful of people in it can kill any buzz a session might have. Do your part and help Microsoft help you have the best experience in sessions.
Make sure you overbook your time slots too. You can indicate which session is your first choice, but having multiple sessions earmarked help you find alternatives if your preferred session is full or if you change your mind between now and May. It also serves as a good reminder of sessions you want to watch later when sessions show up on Channel 9 after the conference is over.
Lastly, you will want to complete your profile on MyIgnite. If you make your profile viewable and searchable, you’ll show up in the overall directory of attendees. The directory is a great way to make connections with people with whom you want to network. And that’s not just networking in Chicago. You can start now and continue it long after you return home. The sessions are great, but the real value (for me at least) is the networking. You’ll never know whom you’ll meet, and how that connection can benefit you later. Don’t be shy, let your fellow attendees find you and take your Ignite conference to the next level.