The journey to WPC can be quite a long one – especially if you’re not based in continental America. This is especially the case when travelling from distant areas of the Asia Pacific region – such as New Zealand or my homeland of Australia – which can take sometimes up to 2 days each way to get somewhere and adjust.
Advice for WPC attendees from AU-NZ
So why spend 3-4 days in transit for effectively a 3 day conference? Good question! Firstly – the networking opportunities with Microsoft executives and managers is purely invaluable. No other time will you find such a large collection of Microsoft people under one roof – specifically there to meet and talk to you! WPC is even better than a visit to Redmond because there are no other meetings or events, just WPC itself and partners. If your business is closely aligned with Microsoft then going to WPC sends that message to the Microsoft people you meet – as well as those back home.
Secondly – meeting other partners from around the world offers a great opportunity to you to share your experiences and thoughts and learn from others. Australia is fairly unique in many ways but by the same token we have very similar pressures and challenges. There are plenty of partners in other regions you can collaborate with who won’t steal your ideas and customers!
Thirdly – turn it into a holiday! It’s no coincidence that WPC is held in different locations around the US every year. Take the opportunity and spend some time seeing sights in the WPC host city or flying somewhere else nearby. For WPC in 2012 I brought my wife and 2 month old daughter along for the ride. They got to relax and see the sights during my pre-WPC week in Redmond, then took in more sights and met some of my global peers in Toronto. Texas may be a bit too hot for my wife and daughter at WPC in 2013 so we’re already planning to spend a couple of weeks together after the conference.
While the trip to WPC is long and hard for us in the far corners of APAC it is definitely worth it both professionally and personally. The cost may look prohibitive initially but when you weigh it up against the returns from expanding your business, network, and seeing more of the world – the cost doesn’t even come into the picture.