TechEd Boston – Day One: Familiar faces and cool customer stories

The first "real" day of the conference was great!


This morning started out pretty nicely. I am staying on the 15ht floor at the Boston Park Plaza, which is a “hotel within a hotel” with its own concierge and lounge, so breakfast was just a few steps away from my hotel room. Now that’s what I call convenient J


Today I took the shuttle to the conference. I had an interesting conversation on the bus with one of the attendees about choosing between SSB and BTS and the cost and pain of running an IT shop. Later that day I talked with a VP of IT at a large multinational institution who told me that his company saves over $20M a year on infrastructure and installlation cost by using Virtual Server. He also mentioned that the real savings are yet to be seen because another company he knows was saving over $100M a year with server virtualization in electricity alone. Impressive!


My first stop of the day was at the speakers’ room, where I ran into Juval Lowy from IDesign who gave me a box of his WCF Resource CDs. These are credit-card sized CDs full of WCF goodies, demos, sample book chapters, and more. I’ll be handing some of those babies out at the conference, so if you want one come and ask me for it.


After lunch Clemens and I had a really fun session w/ a groups of RDs (Regional Directors). We knew a lot of the people there (not to mention that Clemens actually comes from that group) and it was great to reconnect, “share the love”, answer questions, and most of all share “stories from the inside”. I also got to meet Mauro again, tell the rescue story to the RDs, and even demonstrate the Heimlich manouver on Clemens (well, not really do it, but rather explain how to do it).


I spent the hour after that talking with a that VP guy and hearing his overwhelmingly positive feedback on WCF and WF. I’s always fun to hear your costomers getting excited about your product, but more importantly it’s an indication that we’ve gotten it right. Building software that adds value to our customers is one thing. Doing it in a way that’s easy, efficient, and even fun to use is another thing altogether.


My focus in these events is on talking with customers and partners, hearing feedback, and answering questions, which unfortunately means that I don’t get to attend any of the other talks. However, I did go to John Justice’s introduction talk and at the end some of us WCF speakers got on stage and did in improvised “experts panel” which was a very cool idea. On my way to John’s Intro to WCF talk I ran into Stuart Celarier, a great guy and an old time buddy of the WCF team (back from when it was called “Indigo”). Stuart did not paint his goatee Indigo this time around (he did so for all the previous events we’ve met at) so he was hard to recognize J. Here at TechEd he’s running the Birds of Feather (BOF) sessions, so if you enjoyed these you now know who the man behind the curtain is.


After the Expo Hall Reception and talking with some more folks I went to hand in my slides for tomorrow, and went back to the hotel. This is my only night this week with no scheduled activities after 9pm, which is great since I want to get som rest before my talk tomorrow. The motto for tomorrow is “fewer slides, more demos”, so tonight I'll be busy making sure that all my demos run smoothly. BTW, many speaker (me included) agree that the hardest part of creating a presentation is deciding what to leave out. The first draft is almost always too long, and letting go of slides is hard. Tweak time is over - it's showtime (well, tomorrow morning that is).

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