The three themes of Tech.Ed this year are Learn, Explore and Connect. For me, at least, much of the value of attending a technical conference is to get to meet and interact with like-minded geeks and subject matter experts. I was having a chat with Dr Neil this afternoon and we were chucking around ideas to make this connect thing a reality. Neil had a suggestion that I've really taken to and I'd like some feedback from you folks too. What if we were to make the first session after the keynote on Wednesday a panel discussion and "track kick-off" (one for each track). We'd have most of the speakers from that track on the podium and a moderator. The agenda would look something like this:
10 min: Introduction from the track owner - what's this track about, what will we cover, where are there cross-over sessions with other tracks etc.
20 min: 2 minutes (max) from each speaker on what they're presenting on, what else they're passionate about, why you should come to their session(s) and where they'll be hanging out during Tech.Ed
30 min: Moderated discussion with the panel and audience on a topic/topics relevant to the track
Of course, this wouldn't be the only opportunity to initiate and continue the conversation. There'll be a discussion board on CommNet, a connect tool to help you to find those like-minded geeks, lounges in the expo hall, round tables for meals, an Ask the Experts evening, speaker 1:1s and lots more.
What do you think?