Microsoft Ignite: Day 4



Read my summary of all Ignite days:

So, here we are at the 4th day of Ignite.

My plan for this day was to focus mainly on Hands-On labs and the Partner Zone (and the Store!!), so not many sessions.

But still…


Empower Yourself Through Personal Branding (Cathrine Wilhelmsen, Inmeta)

Yep, I know.

You’re probably asking yourself: Why is there a session about personal branding on a development & IT conference?

Well, when there are 30,000 attendees, and thousands of sessions, I guess there is also a place for some “soft” topics to be discussed.

Since personal branding and development is a subject close to my heart, I’ve decided to give it a chance.

Spoiler: Great, inspirational talk, that every introvert with inspirations must watch.

And to the details:

Cathrine was a shy, short kid, and was constantly bullied at school. She suffered from nightmares, depression and anxiety. At first, her way of dealing with it was to brand herself as the geek, strange, outcast girl:

Normal People Scare Me

But as she grew up, she figured out that won’t work in the grown-ups world.

And after a life changing experience in the PASS Summit 2013, she began volunteering.

And then speaking.

And then organizing events.

And then she became the “buddy”, the one that connects with the shy and introverts, and help them become part of the community.

And her tips for all the shy people out there:

  1. Volunteer. This will make you part of a community, and will provide a lot of talking opportunities.
  2. Contribute to the community. Website, posts, conferences – find your community, and embrace it.
  3. Speak at events. The fact that you have to stand on stage and talk is very empowering.
  4. Organize. There isn’t a community for your passion? Create it! People will come.
  5. Be Authentic. Everyone have weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to talk about yours.

Being an introvert myself, I really identify with these tips, and I believe this is achievable for each and every introvert and shy kid out there.

A very inspiring and empowering talk. I know I’m going to follow Cathrine from now on.


Let’s Build a Knowledgeable Chatbot (Matthew Wade, AtBot)

Another session I was expecting to.

I believe the world of chatbots is here to stay, and will be used more and more by all kinds of companies. And I’ve heard a lot about Microsoft’s approach towards this topic, but didn’t have the chance to get a comprehensive overview.

So in this session, the (great) speaker built a chatbot from the ground up, utilizing two tools:

  • QnA Maker – a very easy to use, well, QnA maker. Using this tool we can define questions and answers the bot should be able to answer (ie. What do you have for lunch, What are your opening hours, Where are you located etc). The thing to note here is that it’s a good idea to provide multiple versions for each question. For example – Where are you located, What is your address, How can I drive to you are basically all the same questions.
    Now, of course the author should not try to cover all the possible variations of the question, but it’s a good idea to provide some that are quite different from each other.
    Answers can contain actionable buttons, for use by the client. For example, in response to “What are your opening hours”, after displaying the hours, the answer can suggest a menu button, titled “Click to see the menu”. This way, the bot guides the user in the conversation, and not the other way around.
  • Azure Bot Service – This is where the bot lives. Bot is basically just a web app, ties to some knowledge base (in our case – QnA Maker). Azure Bot Service hosts the bot and provides live endpoint for it, to be referred by websites or other hosting platforms.
    In addition, the Bot Service provides Channels, which are various non-web-UI environments the bot can be hosted in. In a very engaging demo, Matthew asked the audience to send a mail to a specific address with a #qna in the subject, and ask some questions. The bot was hosted on the other side, and, when trying this, I’ve got an intelligent answer (as a reply email) in a matter of seconds.

I loved this session. It introduced me to a topic I didn’t have experience with, and expanded my horizons as an Azure Architect. I’m sure an opportunity to use it will present itself in the near future, and I look forward to it.


That’s It?

Yep. That was it for the day. The rest of the day was dedicated to hands-on labs, and some more visits to The Hub’s partners booths.

I’ve left early, so I have time to run some errands (read: mails and phone calls) before the big event of all: Microsoft is taking us to Universal Studios!

So see you tomorrow. I have no idea when I will get up, after a night full of rides, food and a lot of good time.


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Don’t forget to check out my courses:

The Complete Guide to Becoming a Software Architect

Rest API Design – The Complete Guide

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