On Day 1: Keynote
The conference is ready to start. Some folks had a bit of an adventure getting here via one of the shuttles, but I'm sure that story will appear in at least one other blog, and since it didn't happen to me, I won't recount it here. Enjoyed the SBSC breakfast and got to meet several folks in person who I've had the opportunity to interact with online.
The keynote room, the Kodiak at the MS Conference Center, is pretty full, so attendance for the entire conference looks like it will be pretty good.
Right at 9am, Seattle time, the opening video started, including talking heads from MS buttering up the attendees with the importance of the SBS community members and how MS is working to support the SB community.
Harry made basic introductions about the conference and then introduced Marie Huwe as the keynote speaker, who addressed increasing profitability in the small business segment. Quite frankly, this was a bunch of marketing speak, which makes my eyes go fuzzy, so it's tough for me to say much more than that. She did touch on both Partner Finder and the IAMCP (International Association of Microsoft Certified Professionals). The also touched on the Small Business Plus program which will have some enhancements over the existing Partner Finder product.
The call to action at the end of the keynote:
- Become a Small Business Specialist
- Install Office and Vista betas and take online training
- Expand your network: blogs, user groups, partner forums
- Expand your client base by using one component of the five small business campaigns.
A number of questions were addressed in the panel Q&A, but nothing really groundbreaking.