Phew, long day yesterday. Three sessions is as many as I’ve ever done in a single day at TechEd. I’ve now been to three TechEd’s in Europe and they consistantly impress me, not only in terms of organization, but in terms of the technical savvy of the attendees. Plus, Barcelona is a beautiful city and the weather has been perfect.
The first session was my main talk about creating Tookit components (see prior post). I clearly tried to do to much in the talk. I got through it, but it clearly was a lot to absorb. What’s interesting is that the feedback showed that some people didn’t really expect the talk to be about creating components, but rather using them. So some set of people didn’t get what they were looking for, even though the talk content matched the title. Maybe in the future it’s best to do two talks. I definitely had enough content for that and maybe it would be easier to absorb in two parts. In any case, a lot of the attendees hung around after the talk and we had some good discussions.
The Whiteboard sessions were a lot of fun. Whiteboards are a new concept for TechEds, kind of. In prior conferences they were called “Chalk-talks” (as an aside, each TechEd has had a new format for attendees getting time with speakers…they all seem to work fine, but as a speaker, I wish they’d just pick one and stick with it). Annnnyway, the whiteboards are designed to be unstructured Q&A sessions where the attendees drive the discussion. I like these because I prefer interactive talks. When I do talks on campus at our “Dev-Labs”, they are sessions with 20 or 30 attendees so I always encourage them to ask quesitons during the main part of the presenation. I like this model because it’s more engaging and gives me more direct feedback on, well, whether or not I’m making any sense at all. Unfortunately that doesn’t work in front of 400 people. But the Whiteboard was much more similar to this – except we were told not to bring anything prepard. So it was a little tough to get the conversation rolling but once we did it really was a lot of fun. In the future I’ll show up with 15 minutes of prepared content and expect to use that as a starting point for further discussion.
Some of the best parts were when we got off topic. I gave the group a quick tour of Microsoft project code names (Orcas, Whidbey, Whistler, Blackcomb, etc) and how those came about. It’s a little piece of Microsoft culture that’s fun to share because people use these terms often (outside the company) without having any idea where they come from.
All in all, it’s been a great show. Especially since my luggage finally showed up, only two days late…