TechEd Boston – Day Three: 2 chalk talks and 2 fun guys

The morning started with a discussion on Reliable Messaging with one of the attendees. Over the last year I’ve spoken to literally hundreds of folks (customers, partners, conference attendees, etc.) and it’s interesting to see the same questions come up again and again, and people coming up with the same solutions, often making the same mistakes. The well designed solutions to these common problems exist out there, but they are often not well documented and what we do have out there is not very discoverable. We should do something about that as an industry, share more, and broadcast that knowledge.


The first chalk talk was about Service Oriented Design Patterns (SODP). SODP is a huge space and I deliberately provided a somewhat vague abstract. For me, talks are always about the audience and what they want to hear, so in the days before the talk I asked many folks what they want to hear about. The topic of choice was pub-sub, and so I gave a talk on that.


The talk was a runaway success! About 45-50 people huddled in our 20-people chalk-talk theater, sitting on chairs, sitting on the floor, standing in the back, and even standing outside the theater. Check out the picture that Nic posted on this blog, which us BTW a great blog to read. Given the interest in this topic I will try to make this a “proper talk” (ok, breakout session J) in future events.


30 minutes later I gave a chalk talk w/ Don Smith from the Patterns & Practices group. Don is a great, funny, smart guy and we just “click” well. When doing a “duo” presentation you have several choices. If the speakers do not know each other well they need to segment the presentation, with the speakers taking turns on stage (like you’d see in most keynotes that include demos). Another alternative in that situation is to rehearse the presentation down to the smallest detail. However, when the speakers do know each other there is room for an additional style which includes “improvisation”, humor, and most importantly audience participation. Since we wanted to field questions from the audience we went with the “improvised” style and it was great. The talk was well attended, with about 40 people who were very engaged, asked questions, and gave us great feedback.


After the presentation someone came to me with the classic “we’ve been working on our enterprise schema for 4 months and are not making progress” problem. I described and explained scenario spaces and per-scenario schemas, and how those relate to scenarios. As Beat said later – to achieve schema reuse you need at least 1 one person to adopt the schema J This is such an important topic and talking with folks about this one-on-one or presenting about it at conferences just doesn’t scale, so I plan to write a whitepaper on this in the near future. Together with the Service Taxonomy paper that’s 2 that I owe you J


Later that evening I went to the TechEd Influentials' Party at Ned Devine's Irish Pub in the Fanueil Hall Marketplace at the Quincy Market Building. This is a great venue, with 3 great halls in a row, connected by wide passageways. Scott Henselman was standing next to the entrance, so I recorded an audio segment for Henselminutes site. A while later, Steve Maine, Ami Vora, Richard Turner and Payam Shodjay joined us at the party.


After making the rounds, hooking up people whom I thought should know each other, and bringing world peace (well, not quite J) I hooked up with Mark Minsai and Steve Riley and we spent the rest of the evening talking about everything in the world. These guys are really fun!

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