What do you really miss by not going to a PDC?
You miss a chance to learn about upcoming MS technology directly from the architects and developers who are building it, and you miss a chance to interact with 5000+ other professionals who share your passion for coding. Yes, we do go out of our way to make as much information as possible publicly available after the conference, but there’s no substitute for being in the room to participate in a panel discussion like this one. You won’t find any other conferences where you can ask a question about CLR internals and have it answered by Anders, Chris, Jim and the rest. Yeah, the panel transcript was blogged, but what wasn’t blogged was the 1:1 interactions with between the Microsoft engineers and the 40 attendees who crowded around the stage after the panel was done. Nor did anyone blog the conversations that took place among the thousands of attendees as they interacted during sessions, labs, meals, etc.
If you don’t think you’re the type of person who’d take advantage of being surrounded by thousands of the sharpest Windows developers on the planet, then you are right, PDC is probably not the best use of your time. Just like if you’re the type of student who learns everything you need by reading the textbook, paying for university is probably not the best use of your money 😉
Notice how the people at blogs.msdn.com will hype Tech Ed and PDC but you hardly hear a word about non-MS sponsored events, like VS Live, over there. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I think it’s disingenuous.
Lazycoder’s blog tagline is “I don’t know, therefore I Google.” But I guess he doesn’t Google too often, because when I ask Google to search blogs.msdn.com for references to conferences like BorCon and VSLive, I see plenty of results. Not as many as for Microsoft sponsored events, but that’s only natural. People blog about what they’re working on. A high percentage of Microsoft people are involved in PDC and TechEd, so it’s natural blogging material. A much smaller percentage attend other conferences, so you get lower traffic.