|The third annual MVP summit took place in San Francisco on 14/15th May 2015. This year the venue was the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill - a great venue with the slight downside that if you go for a walk its uphill coming back regardless of which direction you head in.|
In a departure from previous years, we started with a bit of team building around the Gallup StrengthsFinder. This wasn't something I was particularly looking forward to, but it actually turned out to be a lot of fun and had everyone mingling in no time, which was no doubt the idea.
After that, it was down to the serious business of providing feedback on some screen design options for new features, broken up into a few 5 minute segments around what do you like/dislike, what you you change etc. Clearly the intention was to work us hard this year.
After lunch we settled back into the more familiar routine of Product Managers sharing the awesome new products and features that are coming. As usual this is all subject to the NDA that all MVPs sign, so there's nothing I can share I'm afraid.
The afternoon finished up with Product Manager round tables - a great innovation from the 2014 Summit where a Product Manager takes questions from a group of MVPs around issues, roadmap etc. I was on a table with Dan Appleman, Kevin Poorman, Wes Nolte and Simon Goodyear, so spare a thought for any Product Manager that walked unprepared into that particular group of malcontents. Then it was a quick wash and brush up before heading of for dinner at 620 Jones and a ton of networking.
|Day 2 was intended to fit into the same mould, but in a change to the advertised agenda we were treated to a special guest - Marc Benioff himself! He's threatened to join us since the start, but this is the first time that the schedules have allowed it|
Marc and Parker Harris then took part in a Q&A session, which inevitably brought up the subject of the reported takeover activity. The answer was no comment, so its back with speculation and rumour. After a few questions around the future of some of the Salesforce products, the questions turned to philanthropic activities and that is where Marc really comes alive - clearly its a big part of what he does now. All in we had about an hour's Q&A, which meant that we had to forego the planned second session of Product Manager round tables, but nobody seemed to mind that.
One thing that really struck me this year is how much the program has grown in a couple of years. There were 121 MVP attendees this year, which felt like double the attendance of the original summit in 2013. The mentorship team are obviously doing a great job spotting and nurturing talent.
Then all too quickly it was over, and we were packing up to head home. Flight VS20 turned into MVP Air, as I was joined by Francis Pindar, Simon Goodyear, Matt Morris, Simon Lawrence, Anup Jahdav and Chris Lewis for the trip home. Once back in Blighty there was no time to relax as the following week was the Salesforce World Tour London, and there were talks and demos to prepare.
As always, my thanks go out to Erica Kuhl, Holly Goldin, April Nassi and teams at Salesforce for putting on a great event, and to BrightGen for sparing me for three days to attend.