Today, we talked a lot about the future in Building 83 on the MS campus. To be more specific, we talked about the future of the Windows Insider MVP program, the need to encourage Windows Insiders to also become Office Insiders, some great stuff about mixed reality and enthusiast content, plus more on the Photos app, Skype (and Skype for Business). I'm allowed -- nay, encouraged to talk about some of it openly, publicly, and often, so I'll do that here and elsewhere. As for the rest of it, all I can do is say I'm bound by a nondisclosure agreement that I am completely disinclined to violate in any way, shape or form.

OK, then: What CAN I talk about? 2 Things: Encouraging Windows Insiders to also become Office Insiders, and mixed reality and enthusiast content. Here goes, with one heading for each topic.

Encouraging Windows Insiders to Become Office Insiders, Too
Our last meeting of the day was with Senior Product Manager Peter Cardwell, who handles the Office side of product development. Simply put, he's in awe of what the Windows Insider program has been able to accomplish with its population (about 4-5X the current Office Insider population size). He wants all us Windows Insider MVPs to encourage Windows Insiders to become Office Insiders as well. It's easy: even though I had to install Office on my Dell Venue Pro 11 to sign up for Office Insider status I was able to get it all done in less time than it took Mr. Cardwell to complete his 1-hour visit with our group.

I figure this forum is probably a great place to exhort other readers of this thread to do likewise. You must have a valid Office license to join the Office Insider program. But since most people who run Windows 10 also run Office, I don't see that as a major hurdle. Next go to the Office Insider sign-up page. There you need only download and install the Office Insider stuff (which piggybacks on top of whatever Office version you've got installed, but gives you access to the whole suite). Obviously, you want to do this on the machine or VM whereupon you're already running the Insider Preview. And remember, this is beta software so don't run it on a production PC unless you're willing to deal with the trials and tribulations of fixing things in a hurry should anything go sideways. You've been warned. I'm doing this on all of my Insider Preview machines, and Mr. Cardwell would be just thrilled if the rest of the TenForums insiders were to follow suit. I can say from recent personal experience that it's fast and easy to do this with very little muss or fuss. You can use the Feedback Hub to send feedback on the Office suite, or its components' built-in feedback facilities, as you like.

Mixed Reality Enthusiast Materials
We also met with Paul Aaron, a longtime MS support employee who's put together a bang-up publication that's freely and widely available for those who want to buy into and play with mixed reality, Microsoft-style. This stuff has been published and is thus under no kind of embargo, either. It's called the Windows Mixed Reality: Enthusiast's Guide, and it's available for the downloading at Microsoft Docs. Paul's an ex-Marine, a totally stand-up guy, and he and his team have done a terrific job of putting information together that will help people through the process of selecting and buying VR/AR/MR gear, and in putting that gear to work. If you're interested in this kind of thing, you'll definitely want to check this out!

As for the other stuff, the less I say about the more likely it is that MS will invite me back next year. And since I had such a great time, and got to meet and hang out with such smart and interesting people, I think you've heard (or read) everything I've got to say on other verboten topics already. I will add that this has been a great trip, one that I'm glad to have taken. I learned a lot more than I had hoped or expected, much of which had nothing to do with Microsoft technologies and futures, but rather with how I can do my job as MVP (and even technology writer) more effectively and humanely. I hope it continues to rub off in my future posts here at TenForums, and in my efforts to help others find solutions to their problems.

Best wishes to one and all. I'll post one more time with follow-up reflections on Friday, after I get home and have the chance to get a good night's sleep in my own bed. That actually sounds pretty darn great to me right now, too! So long, then, from my last post in the Seattle area for this trip.