PDC10 is Sold Out! Really?

As you may have heard, PDC10 is sold out! This year, we decided to hold the event at the Microsoft Conference Center (otherwise known as the MSCC or building 33) on our corporate campus in Redmond, Washington. There are many good reasons behind this decision, and one of them is to provide a more intimate and engaging experience for our in-person attendees. You see, this is the first time in PDC history that we’ve held the event on our own campus.

Holding the event on campus enables us to do a lot of things that we could never do in a remote location, but it also has its limitations. For example, the Microsoft Conference Center is nowhere near the size of a Los Angeles Convention Center (not even close). That means that we have physical limitations including how many people we can safely accommodate.

You’ve probably noticed signs at restaurants and other public places that state maximum occupancies/capacities, and perhaps you’ve even wondered where these limits come from. Well, they come directly from the fire marshal. There are many factors that go into determining the maximum capacity of a public space, including the size of the space, the height of the ceiling, placement of permanent columns, furniture, built-in cabinets, etc. All of these factors are considered to ensure that getting out of the room in an emergency situation is as fast and as safe as possible. Egress is the word they like to use.

Here’s a diagram of the keynote room for PDC10. The front of the room is at the top, where you’ll notice a representative keynote stage and two large projection screens. The blue areas are for attendees. As you can see, there is no physical space remaining to add more seats. That is, unless you want to sit on the keynote stage or in the aisles. 🙂 We’re actually required to submit our floor plans to the fire marshal’s office, and it has to be approved before we can hold the event.

This is what we mean when we say “sold out.”

You’d be surprised how many e-mails we receive—both internally and externally—stating that company X or person Y absolutely must be physically present at PDC10. While we understand the frustration of our response, unfortunately, this is a limitation of physical space.

But all is not lost.

This year more than ever, we’re amplifying what we provide online. PDC, MIX, and Tech·Ed attendees have become accustomed to full-screen, high-definition broadcasts of our keynotes and 24-hour-or-less, free downloads of all session content. Yes, we’ll do the same for PDC10 (with some new enhancements), but we’ll also stream all of our sessions live…for free…for anyone. Including your mom. This is how you get back at her for making you watch all of those Hallmark Hall of Fame originals. 🙂

We’re also partnering with our global Microsoft offices, academic institutions, and some third parties who want to hold local PDC10-related events. While the list of events is currently being assembled, I highly encourage you to sign-up for the PDC10 mailing list. This, our @PDCEvent Twitter account, and the official PDC10 web site are the best ways to keep up-to-date on the latest developments.

Last, but certainly not least, you can always sit comfortably at home or in your office and watch all of the content streamed to you online.

Comments (10)

  1. Rutger van Bergen says:

    I'm sorry, but I think the number of people that are disappointed by this decision far outweigh the benefits of a "more intimate experience" for the lucky few that were able to register. The PDC used to be *the* event where Microsoft met an…d mingled with their developer community, this turns it into a lucky few, exclusive pop concert. I think Microsoft really underestimate how much credit within the developer community they throw away by doing this.

    I've attended a few PDC's online and two physically, and you truly can't compare one experience to the other. Attending a PDC is not just about attending the sessions. It's about meeting other developers, discussing the sessions and development in general with them. It's about meeting and talking to the actual people at Microsoft who are involved in creating the technologies, frameworks and solutions we use every day. It's about professional developers being in an environment that is all about what they like to do best.

    Frankly, I don't care about the intimacy of the experience or the number of seats in a restaurant. What I do care about is that Microsoft turned a positive, open event into something completely different. It turned it into a very exclusive disappointment.

    Here's me hoping it's just a one-of, and that the next PDC that Microsoft will organize will be a proper one. And I know that hope is definitely not exclusive.

  2. Thibauld Favre says:

    I understand your point but still… I tried to register 1 day too late and the only word which comes to my mind right now is "***!". It was announced in July wasn't it? Does it means that we, french, cannot get our vacations safely without missing PDC… this is a pity 🙂

  3. mswanson says:

    Thanks for the direct feedback, Rutger. We appreciate it!

    I'd like to clarify that just because PDC10 is on campus doesn't mean that future PDCs will also be on campus. We evaluate each PDC uniquely, and a lot of our decisions are driven by attendee feedback (including the third-party focus groups that many of you have participated in at one of our events). Consistent feedback has included a city change, better access to employees, and a smaller (walking distance) convention center. While this year's on-campus event helps to address that feedback, I'm sure it will introduce other challenges.

    As far as being exclusive, we're actually trying harder than ever to be *inclusive* for PDC10. Yes, this may mean a smaller in-person-in-Redmond event, but we're trying to make it even easier for people whose travel budgets have been slashed (if not eliminated). That's why we're working with global offices and universities to hold local simulcast events. That's also why we've made a huge investment in what we'll do online this year. At the end of the day, this will be the most-attended PDC in history.

    It may sound like I'm trying to "spin" the situation. And while I'm likely guilty of some spin now and then (after all, I am a passionate evangelist!), I do agree with you wholehartedly that attending PDC in-person can't be beat. It's the difference between attending a sporting event in-person versus watching it on your couch at home.

    Regardless, I thank you again for your feedback!

  4. astral clouds says:

    So I knew about PDC10 before it was announced at WPC. I already had vacation booked (from Europe to West Coast US) in October which I extended to cover in-person attendance at PDC. I booked my hotel and car hire for the event. I could not pay the registration fee and therefore register until FY11 budgets had been agreed by my employer. No problem, I thought, as we normally book PDC about 6 weeks before the event and the budget operates from 1 Sept. BAM! without any warning, the Sold Out signs appear.

    I trust the person responsible for the decision to change the event without changing the label is looking for another job.

  5. Mark says:

    I have 2 theories as to why it was held in Redmond:

    1. The last 2 PDC's have not sold out.

    2. It was decided to have a PDC so late in the year, that there was not enough time to organize it at a major venue.

    I'm guessing #2 above.

  6. zzz says:

    I've suggested this before but I dont't think it made it through to the right people.

    There should be a way to load any stream from any source and then hook it up to a group of people + logging system. Lot like online web casts but so that anyone could implement them on top of any video within couple clicks: 1. Create group for stream/video url 2. advertise the group link which joins anyone to the group+launches the video stream the group is going to comment on 3. optionally setup your mic/video cam if you want to do video commentary – each participant text/voice/webcam commentary is recorded on the group server and later can be watched and managed by the watcher (eg. mute some participants etc)

    Now on topic, I think it would be nice if there was some system in place so online participants had ability to comment on the specific session and possibly later receive either public or private answers to their comments from experts. Of course that's a bit of work but might bring the online experience bit closer than just watching a static video.

  7. Francisco says:

    And… just to know… how many people exactly fit in that room? 250? 500?

  8. Francisco says:

    And another question… is there a way to know if someone has cancelled and their space is now available?

  9. mswanson says:

    @Francisco: While there isn't an official "wait list," your best bet is to subscribe to the mailing list or to follow our Twitter account. Those are the two best places to receive the latest information. If we have a block of seats that open up, those are the communication channels we'll use.

  10. john porterfield says:

    Mike, I am really let down by the decision on how PDC 2010 was logistically communicated. I like others were at WPC when we found out the PDC would held in Redmond and communicated this quickly internally. Evidently we were not fast enough in planning to sign up:(

    I think by the comments that are coming across it would have made better sense to host it at least in the washington state convention center givin the HIGH importance on understanding Microsoft's development directions for Cloud. Again, partners are being asked to "get all in" and we are ready but not everything can be accomplished via webcasting for the sessions in order to deliver the message accross or have the 1:1 interaction needed to gain the right traction in the market place.

    We'll move forward and participate as we are eager to learn what we need to do going forward for the Cloud.


Skip to main content