Fun events for TechEd lounge

TechEd Developer Lounge
We want to hear from you! Brian blogged about our meeting on Friday, and I’ll chime in on this as I think there are lots of cool things we could do.  Our #1 goal is to make the developer lounge a fun and exciting place for attendees to mingle.

Are you interested in driving a Warthog to run over MS employees (like me) in Halo?  How about seeing Robert Scoble in a dunk tank?  Or maybe some air hockey to give your over-presented brain a rest? Or maybe you just want to sit back, relax and have a butler serve you ice cream and snacks while a henna tatoo artist draws a C# tattoo on your bicep.  Below is a list of ideas we could do, read and choose which ones interest you

(1) Playing Xbox
We could get two Xboxes with comfy couches and setup 8-player Halo.  If other cabanas join in on the game, we can use webcams so you can see your opponents.

(1.a) Xbox Tournament – We could setup an Xbox tournament, and If we did this, I’d love to get different MS teams to play in some sort of playoff bracket.  I know C# has some snipers (AnsonH I hear is deadly), but would you prefer to play against C# or ASP.NET or have them integrated so someone from C# is on your team? Winners get prizes ๐Ÿ™‚

(2) Carnival/Games
(2.a) Pool table(s)
(2.b) Skee ball
(2.c) air hockey table(s)
(2.d) foosball
(2.e) Shufflepuck

(3) Entertainment
(3.a) Comedians: Triumph the Dog 
I’m a big fan of Triumph, and he’d be great…to get a peek of what happens when Triump interacts with geeks, check out Triumph interviewing people waiting to see Star Wars (Hi res || Low res)
c)  Magician
Signature analyst
e) Dunk Tank
f) Henna tatoo artists (get tatoos for your favorite language/product)

(4)    Supplemental activities
(4.a)  Bar with margaritas, Jell-O shots
b)  Butlers – don’t get up, sit back, relax and the butlers will get you a strawberry smoothie, a chocolate chip cookie, and lemon sorbet
Ice-cream cart, latte cart

5)  Lottery/Giveaways

Is noise a problem?
Are there other ideas you would like to see?

We probably won’t be able to do all of these ideas, and when other teams say “that’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard”, we can point to your responses and say “actually our customers are interested in this idea” 

Vote now, and rank your choices in order – Ex: 1, 2.c, 4.b


Comments (3)

  1. Ian Ringrose says:

    How about doing nothing and reducing the cost of TechEd? There are some programmers out there that do not have unlimited large corporation accounts to spend on training.

    I would go as far as removing all the โ€œfreeโ€ food, wireless network etc, and just halving the cost of TextEd. There is no need for fancy stage sets etc.

    ringi at bigfoot dot c0m

  2. Ian,

    First, yes it does suck that TechEd is expensive, there isn’t much you can do about it given all the costs associated with an event like this.

    There are other alternatives –

    Developer Days – $199 Full day content

    TechEd DVDs

    If you want to do without the food, wireless network, and large cost, you should consider simply ordering the TechEd session DVDs. Everything is recorded and available for around ~$200. You don’t have to take off work, or pay for a hotel, or airfare, you just get the technical content you want.

    I do have to disagree with you on your points that removing food and wireless would be a good thing. All the feedback we get from attendees says otherwise. Attendees want good food and they expect wireless access everywhere. In fact, there were bloggers complaining about having problems connecting over wireless, or the fact that they like the food selection –

    I went to JavaOne last year, and I felt completely nickel-and-dimed. There were few if any snacks available, and when they were put out, hordes of people would rush to the table to get food. They served cold sandwiches for lunch, and only had soda available for free, no water options (or at least I never saw any). It *felt* cheap, but this is my personal opinion as an attendee.

  3. Jason Zions says:

    Can’t take away the food – there’s little enough time during the day for sessions. If we didn’t make sure attendees had what *they* though they needed to stay focused and involved during the long days, we couldn’t schedule as many sessions. Some folks need fresh fruit and water; others need twinkies and red bull. (Contrary to my initial expectations, the fruit gets snarfed much faster than the twinkies. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    As for the social events – they are networking opportunities as much as entertainment. The "band" and "party" are strong draws to get all the attendees there. We hope people mix it up and meet folks who might not attend the same sessions, maximizing the chance that an attendee might meet that one other person from some other company who will spark a great idea, or a business relationship, or a job offer, or…

    Jason Zions

    Yes, I am a Microsoft employee, and I am a TechEd speaker (but not a conference organizer). The information in this message is offered as-is and without warranty.