INETA User Group Leader Summit

The one-day INETA User Group Leader Summit was held on Sunday, from 8am until about 9pm. What a great summit…and what a professional organization and dedicated staff! I’ve gained a much deeper appreciation and respect for this group.

The summit opened with two successive keynotes given by Microsoft representatives; both were excellent. In "Exchange Server Futures", Dave Thompson, Corporate Vice President, Exchange Server Product Group, discussed Exchange Server’s humble beginnings, it’s current state, and what we can expect with "Exchange 12". Ari Bixhorn, Lead Product Manager, Web Services Strategy, gave the second keynote, entitled "Introducing Indigo". I couldn’t remember where I saw Ari before, but then someone reminded me that he co-hosted VBTV, the informative and entertaining (but short-lived and sorely-missed) Internet talk show. Ari is a very enjoyable speaker to listen to. He created an Internet chat service using Visual Studio 2005, writing the code right before our eyes, "on the fly", in under six minutes! (He must have practiced that.) He said if he finished within the allotted time, we all would owe him a beer. Since he accomplished that, as someone pointed out, he has a lot of beers to drink!

The rest of the day was filled with various presentations and workshops designed to help us leaders improve our user groups. There were three workshop tracks occurring at any one time, with no repeat sessions. My only complaint was that many of us wished we could have attended multiple tracks….but that’s the case at TechEd, also.

All of the information presented was excellent and very informative. I’m looking forward to implementing many of the ideas over the coming months. It was also a great opportunity to meet fellow user group leaders, the INETA administrative staff, and the various people who are on the INETA Speaker List. Thanks, INETA! Over the next few days, many of us will have the opportunity to "give something back" by volunteering to assist with various INETA functions, including staffing the INETA booth, hosting the BOF (Birds of a Feather) sessions, etc.

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