Yes, this actually happened last night:

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ACTION SHOT:  Me Scratching My Neck?  Stretching?  Unclear.
But the important thing is, I’m doing it in a room full of Excel pros!

Stats!

More than 60 people registered, which is great.  I’m told that about half the people who sign up for other tech meetings actually show up, but we had closer to 70%!

The informal poll of attendees broke out like this:

  1. 23 Excel pros
  2. 4 Business/Manager types
  3. 2 SharePoint pros
  4. 12 SQL/BI pros

Microsoft Getting the Message?  Seems like a great start.

First of all, the mere fact that the Microsoft Cleveland crew was interested in supporting us is a very positive sign.  I don’t think Microsoft – Redmond HQ or the field offices – truly understands the Excel pro audience and what they offer to Microsoft.  So, one of our missions is to change that.  Because once they understand us, and realize that we mean Big Money to them, they will give us better tools (and access to those tool).  As they say, money talks, and we should be comfortable with that.

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One of last night’s slides: the goals for the user group.  The highlighted bullet drew chuckles,
even from the Microsoft crew in attendance.

imageThree Microsoft employees volunteered to stay late so we could use the room.  And they picked up the tab for the snacks.  I also saw them taking pictures and notes.  Me gusta that.  They told me afterwards that the Excel pro audience got them started thinking in new directions.  Me gusta that too.

So, a big thank-you to Bruce, Jack, and Alan. 

Worth Traveling For?  Really?

We had at least three people who drove in from out of state!  As in, left work early, got in the car, drove four hours, and then drove back afterwards, in some cases arriving home after midnight.

I would not have expected that.  But wow was it exciting to see.

Power Pivot Beers?  Yup.

The local SQL Server user group, who meets in the same Microsoft conference room, typically “spills over” to a local restaurant/bar named Mavis Winkle’s (actual name).  We followed their lead and a handful of us ended up over there.

Yes, the laptops came out.  We even developed a strong business case for why a CONCATENATEX function would be a useful addition to the toolset.

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From left:  Brian, me, Tim, Marty, Peter, Matt (who drove four hours from Michigan!)
(Laptops had been stowed at this point)

Onwards and Outwards!

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Gonna dot the world with these groups.
Thousand points of light.  Wouldn’t be prudent to go small at this juncture.

Most importantly, we are DEFINITELY going to do this once per month.  And I’ve already got a few volunteers who want to speak at future events – share their “Power Pivot changed my life” stories and nifty techniques. 

But we’re also expanding.  Atlanta is close to finalizing the date of their first meeting, and I’m hoping to make it down their for the kickoff.  Wave Three is going to include another 5-6 cities.

If you’re a Microsoft field employee and are interested in helping us get one of these going in your backyard, please send me a note.  Venue is the hardest thing to secure remotely.  I am rob.  At a place called PowerPivotPro.  Dot com.