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Paul Nielsen

MVP Summit Reflections

This past week was the MVP Summit in Redmond. What a week! Some of it I'm still digesting, but here are my thoughts, highlights, and observations so far...

  • First, I've never before seen Microsoft so open- asking and listening. From the SQL Server team, the summit was as much about future directions as about SQL Server 2008. I think that the direction and focus for the next couple versions of SQL Server is on target.
  • I'm sorry to see Sean O'Driscoll move on. Thanks to Sean, I finally get what Web 2.0 means.
  • My wife calls the MVP Summit, "GeekWeek" - it's the perfect geek mix of SQL Server, friends, and geek dinners and parties.
  • As soon as I saw Hugo he said, "Hi, here's a tech-edited chapter on a USB drive!" Go Hugo! When this book is done, I owe Hugo a good steak.
  • The apostle Paul went through a progression as he matured. He starts out boasting about being an apostle, then he writes that he's the least of the apostles, later he introduces himself as a bondservant, and in his last writings he calls himself the chief of all sinners. While I don't dare compare myself to the other Paul, the longer I'm an MVP, the more impressed I am by the other SQL MVPs and the luckier I feel to be among them.
  • The Washington State Convention Center really can serve up some great salmon (you listening PASS?)
  • SSMS and Data Compression are still my favorite new features in SQL Server 2008.
  • I meet a group of MVPs from Russia and now I want to go back to Moscow!
  • I saw my first 32Gb USB flash drive. Ooo. TechLust. I want one.
  • I always take note of which notebook brands MVPs use - about half Dell and the rest a mix of Leveno/IBM and HP. The Dell Latitude 820 seemed to be the most popular model.
  • The SQL Server User Education sessions had best snack food - mango and papaya!
  • Last year I crashed one of the xBox MVP sessions just to see the eye candy of the new games. (I just watch xBox, I can't keep up with my son playing Halo. But I kick butt in WoW!) This year the Summit was so spread out across the campus, I couldn't do that. Besides, the SQL Server sessions were all so good I wouldn't have wanted to miss a minute.
  • The trip to the Company Store to buy a new keyboard and some gadget is becoming a tradition. This year my new toy is a 2Gb MS Livecam for Camtasia.
  • Buck Woody is a seriously funny guy.
  • Steve Ballmer has a funny side too. His keynote was not the regular marketing pitch presentation. I got the feeling he was genuinely glad to see us and he was as open, friendly, and chatty as possible with 1700 people in the room.
  • I still have no clue why Bill and Steve want to buy Yahoo's passé technology. Several MVPs were talking about the pending acquisition, and not a one of us could figure it out. Yahoo doesn't have any technology Microsoft doesn't already have. True, Yahoo has lots of email accounts, home page users, and advertising dollars, but little of that customer base is loyal. I host my website with Yahoo, but I plan on moving to GoDaddy as soon as I get the time to go through the hassle. Buying Yahoo only muddies the waters for Microsoft's efforts to improve MS Live Search. Besides, if they just wait a couple years, Yahoo will be out of business anyway. Bill and Steve what are you thinking? There are better ways to blow 30 billion dollars.
  • I want some cool SQLwear sporting the new SQL Server logo.
  • Social Media Networking is still in its infancy. Although I know a couple MVPs who Twitter and tweet, most of the MVPs I spoke with thought the whole idea was a waste of time.
  • The Sci-Fi Museum is a way cool bittersweet walk down memory lane, and there are private jam booths at the Experience Music Project.
  • Kalen and I met with MS Press. Every time I meet with Kalen I'm always impressed with her professionalism and grace.
  • I don't think I've ever seen Chuck Boyce without a camera in his hand.
  • Steve Jones has convinced me to try the Red Gates tools after this book is done. He used those magic words, "Ruth Chris."
  • Peter DeBetta actually can sing, Louis Davidson is a gentleman, and Kalen can dance.
  • I missed seeing Denis Gobo at the event. If anyone should be an MVP, it's Denis! Let's ALL nominate Denis!
  • I'm now a week further behind on my book, but it was worth it.
Published Friday, April 25, 2008 11:35 AM by Paul Nielsen



andyleonard said:

Hi Paul,

  Agreed! The MVP Summit was awesome!

  It was nice to meet you, if only for a minute (and thanks for lending me your thumbdrive).

:{> Andy

April 25, 2008 1:18 PM

Chuck Boyce said:

Microsoft want Alibabba.  Gets them into search in China in a big way.

Microsoft is planning to blow people's socks off in the area of live web video and Silverlight in the Olympics.  (I interviewed the Product Manager of Expression Encoder and he talks a bit about the things to watch out for regarding Silverlight at the Olympics).

I must have put my camera done once, at least to sleep.



April 25, 2008 1:34 PM

Denis Gobo said:

>>Microsoft want Alibabba.  Gets them into search in China in a big way.

I believe Alibabba has a clause in their contract that if Yahoo gets sold they have to give back their stake in the company. (read this in the WSJ a couple of weeks ago)

April 25, 2008 1:38 PM

Chuck Boyce said:

It's all in negotiation.  CNBC indicated yesterday that Alibabba is a prime reason why MS wants Yahoo.

(You don't think I thought of that on my own, do you?).



April 25, 2008 1:39 PM

Denis Gobo said:

Here is also an article from the NYT

"Microsoft’s hostile-takeover attempt against Yahoo may encounter an unexpected hurdle in August after a Chinese antimonopoly law takes effect that will extend the nation’s economic influence far beyond its borders.

The law, which goes into effect on Aug. 1, is intended to strengthen an existing set of antitrust regulations the Chinese originally established in 1993. It will make China a third sphere of regulatory influence, matching the power of the European Union and the United States, according to legal specialists in this country and in China who have studied it.


April 25, 2008 1:58 PM

Chuck Boyce said:

Agreed and was aware of that before your initial post.

The key word in that paragraph in your second post is the word "may".

"may" is not a word that usually scares off MS.

April 25, 2008 2:53 PM

Jason Massie said:

There needs to be more SQL people on twitter. Represent.

April 25, 2008 4:44 PM

Chuck Boyce said:

April 25, 2008 7:03 PM

Paul Nielsen said:

Steve Ballmer's speach transcript is public...

And then about probably almost 20 years ago now, we hired Dave Cutler, who came in to do NT. Dave said to me, Steve, I'm not coming to Microsoft to do any toy operating system. I said, Dave, we're in good shape. We already have a toy operating system.

April 25, 2008 10:42 PM

Paul Nielsen said:

April 25, 2008 10:43 PM

Chuck Boyce said:

I recorded Balmer's speech in HD, but my editing backlog (including your DVD!) is huge.  Don't think I'll get to it too soon, but maybe I'll edit a snippet (perhaps the bit you quoted?) and add it to the SQLServerTV programming at


April 26, 2008 11:21 AM

AaronBertrand said:

Paul, you forgot about my MacBook Pro!  :-)

April 26, 2008 3:50 PM

Rachel H said:

Hi Paul,

Thanks for joining the dinner at Ruth's Chris. I'll keep my fingers crossed that your feelings about the Red Gate products will be as positive as those on our choice of restaurant!


Rachel Hawley

Marketing Associate - Communities

Red Gate Software

April 28, 2008 5:20 AM

paraikshirt From INDIA said:

i bought sql server 2005 bible...i didnt find it up-to-the-mark helpful as i am beginner search for another gud book is on which will teach me enough sud T-SQl / sql server 2005 ,ADO.NET

July 8, 2012 7:31 AM
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About Paul Nielsen

Paul Nielsen believes SQL is the romance language of data. As such he’s a hands-on database developer, Microsoft SQL Server MVP, trainer, and author of SQL Server Bible series (Wiley). As a data architect, he developed the concepts of Smart Database Design and Nordic – an open source O/R dbms for SQL Server. He lives in Colorado Springs.

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