wpc-smallI remember the excitement. I remember the people. I remember the sweltering heat.

It was the year 2000, and I had just been hired as a Business Development Manager for an up and coming ISV who predominantly worked on Microsoft competitor platforms. Meanwhile, Microsoft had just expanded the audience for what was then called Fusion 2000, which primarily targeted Microsoft Certified Solution Providers, by opening its doors to all of its managed partners – making the event the largest worldwide gathering of Microsoft business partners and solution providers. And it was July…in Atlanta…this Pacific Northwest girl who had worked mostly for IBM was a little overwhelmed. But despite that, I was excited to experience it all.

I remember Steve Ballmer’s keynote address that year, listening to him talk about how the internet is changing the way we do business, the way people communicate, and even the way we are entertained. Amazing how right he was! Look how far we’ve come.

A lot has changed since the year 2000, especially in technology, but there are a lot of similarities too (like be prepared to have sore feet after WPC). This year in Partner-to-Partner development, we have focused on three pillars – trust, transformation, and execution. The Worldwide Partner Conference provides those pillars for our businesses, and has done so since I started attending back in 2000.

TRUST. One of the best memories of my first WPC was meeting others in the community – I developed lifelong partnerships and friendships that continue to thrive today. These are partners I continue to work with and see year after year because of the trusted relationships developed.

TRANSFORMATION. This is what WPC is about – this is what we as part of the Microsoft ecosystem are about – we are transforming the world around us and how it operates. Technology continues to transform, and it’s bringing data to our fingertips and providing solutions at lightening speeds.

EXECUTION. WPC is an opportunity to be inspired and motivated by the new innovations, but that alone does not equal success, being successful comes from creating action from inspiration. Driven by inspiration as a part of this large Microsoft community, I always walk away from WPC with an action plan to align with Microsoft for the following fiscal year.

Even after attending 13 (or maybe it’s 14, honestly, I’ve lost count) WPC’s since that hot July in 2000, I continue to look forward to the conference every year! What a privilege it is to be a part of such a great community of innovators and brilliant business men and women. And to have the opportunity to learn from each other, develop friendships, and be inspired by the leading experts in the industry.

As The Kreklow Group ramps up for this year’s big event in Toronto, I’m excited to not only attend, but to be leading some wonderful sessions, demonstrating the importance of SMART Partnering (P2P).

Before my first WPC (they eventually changed the name from Fusion 2000 in 2001), I was nervous but excited, and I didn’t know what to expect. Fast forward sixteen years and I can still feel my sore feet from five straight days of standing and rushing to sessions, I remember clearly how my head was spinning with new innovative ideas, and my heart was inspired by fantastic leaders and partners in our industry.
It’s been sixteen years since my first WPC – a lot has changed when it comes to technology, but the importance of trusted relationships, transformative innovations, and inspired execution has never changed, and continues to be the pillars to build lasting partnerships and successful businesses.

diana-portraitDiana Kreklow has over 25 years of proven experience in growing businesses through sales and strategic alliances, 15 years of which were spent developing and managing partnership strategies in the Microsoft ecosystem. She skillfully navigates the challenges facing small partners, as well as the complex multi-partner engagements for some of the largest ISV’s around the world.