It’s been a month since Train closed out WPC 2012 at Toronto’s Polson Pier, but here at AetherWorks, the conference is fresh in our minds. That’s because we’re still running on WPC momentum– we’ve spent the last few weeks talking to new partner contacts about AetherStore, our distributed data storage software, and following up on new opportunities. For a small software engineering firm like ours, WPC opened up enough avenues to occupy the rest of the summer, if not the rest of 2012.

The post-conference buzz in our office has made me think about how much we grew at WPC. One hears a lot about the importance of networking and making contacts at WPC. And it’s certainly true – on my desk right now, a stack of business cards I got from WPC speed dating reminds me how much the conference expanded my network. But beyond the business cards and the LinkedIn requests, WPC also gave us renewed confidence in our vision, and the enthusiasm we need to attain it.

The AetherWorks WPC delegation at the US Party at Roy Thomson Hall.

Back home in New York, it’s easy to get caught up in our daily routines, and to forget about the big picture. WPC reminded us what we’re really here for: creating and selling game-changing technology. At the conference, it was impossible not to see the big picture, whether we were listening to keynotes about the importance of innovation or chatting with other Microsoft BizSpark partners about what they’re developing on Windows Azure. My colleagues and I realized not only how excited we ourselves are about what lies ahead, but also how much the Microsoft community shares that excitement. 
WPC wasn’t just a series of networking opportunities – it was a chance to step away from our desks and see our efforts in a different light. We got to see who else is involved with the sort of work we do, and to absorb their passion and expertise. As a young company that still has a lot to learn, this immersion was hugely valuable, and I highly recommend that startup partners make the investment in WPC if they can. 
The feeling of community culminated when our CEO, Dr. Robert MacInnis, and COO, Allan Boyd, were interviewed on MPN Live about their experience with BizSpark. It was a great opportunity for us to gain exposure for AetherStore, and to share the ways that BizSpark has helped us. We were thrilled to see Rob and Allan on the Jumbotron, but even more thrilled about the great conversations that resulted from our MPN appearance – both inside and outside of the MPN cube.
 Allan Boyd and Dr. Robert MacInnis of AetherWorks speaking to Mark Relph and Steve Clayton of Microsoft on MPN Live at WPC.
If we took one lesson from WPC, it was that we belong to a community that’s greater than the sum of its parts. And we’ve brought the Microsoft Partner Network’s enthusiasm home to Manhattan. We do better work when we feel like a part of something larger, and seeing that “something larger” firsthand at WPC has made all the difference.
See you next year in Houston,