I have been attending PDC since 1996 – I have in that time learnt how to do it well and how to do it badly. Different things work for different people but these five tips stand me and some my colleagues in good stead:
1. If you really, really want to go to a specific session, then be an early bird arriving 20mins or more before the start. Microsoft tries very hard to avoid full rooms – but it happens pretty much every year. NB: in case you were wondering, customers come first and yep, I will wonder out of a room if there are folks waiting
2. Do not bring your PC to sessions. Yep – I know – you can take great notes with them but I have found that on balance I will slip more and more into using the PC to read and write work email, catch up on work stuff. Better to bring a pocket pc or jotter.
3. Sleep! No – not in the sessions – at night! Party, socialise but also make getting sleep a priority.
4. Make use of hands on labs etc – yep sessions are fun but the hands on labs are often a great way of really learning stuff that you will never get round to doing back in the office.
5. Ask The Experts is great – but only if you ask the experts. So many times you see Microsoft staff chatting to Microsoft staff. It is not because we prefer talking to each other (have you met my colleagues!!) it is because no customers are asking them questions. Walk straight up to them, bid them hello and….ask and ask and ask.
If you are attending PDC, then have a great time…