Ten Reasons for Developers to Attend TechEd Europe 2004

The one where Tim sells out to the marketing droids…

OK, so this is more of a sales pitch than I would normally include in my blog, but I’ve heard a couple of people over the last week say that they thought TechEd was primarily aimed at IT Pros rather than developers, and I wanted to correct that perception. In Europe, at least, TechEd actually has a slight bias towards developers (mostly because there’s another, slightly smaller event called IT Forum that’s pure IT Pro territory).

I’m responsible for the content of TechEd Europe this year – perhaps the most exciting and daunting challenge I’ve had since joining Microsoft, and I’m hugely keen to ensure that it’s the best event we can put on for developers, architects and IT Pros. I’d love to hear your ideas about how we could make the event more worthwhile. Whether you’ve attended in previous years and think we’re missing something big, or whether you’ve never attended because it didn’t seem to meet your needs, I’d be very interested to read your feedback.

Anyway, having declared my vested interest, here’s my non-marketing marketing pitch 🙂

  1. More than 400 breakout sessions, Q&A panels, chalk and talk discussions, and birds of a feather meetings covering every aspect of Microsoft software in the enterprise;
  2. Several (currently secret) new product announcements and the first public unveiling of several big new features in Whidbey and Yukon;
  3. No dull keynote monologues – I’ve been fighting really hard to do away with the traditional event approach of getting some random VP to waffle on about the pet subject. We’ve instead been working on something rather different that I hope will go down really well. Don’t expect to see marketecture slides, just cool technology.
  4. In-depth training on SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005; we’re currently standing at 38 sessions purely on the next generation of our developer technologies. You could attend the conference twice over and only see sessions covering Yukon and Whidbey! (Oh, and we hope to provide every attendee with a copy of Yukon Beta 2 / Whidbey Beta 1.)
  5. New this year: a dedicated architecture track with top-rated speakers such as Pat Helland planning to participate. We’re trying to make TechEd Europe far more attractive to enterprise architects, with plenty of sessions for those who design rather than code.
  6. Seven pre-conference sessions on topics including Writing Secure Code, Patterns and Practices, BizTalk 2004 and SQL Server;
  7. Some great confirmed speakers including David Chappell, Fernando Guerrero, Juval Lowy, Rafal Lukawiecki, Ingo Rammer, Mark Russinovich and Clemens Vasters;
  8. Hands-on labs where you can get to grips with the latest builds of SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and 64-bit technologies;
  9. A mobile development track that’s twice as big as any from previous years at TechEd. We’ve integrated the Mobile DevCon to ensure that there’s the best possible range of sessions on development for Windows Mobile platforms, including coverage of .NET Compact Framework and SQL Server CE.
  10. A really big party – of course!

Hope to see some of you there…

Comments (10)

  1. Anonymous says:

    As it is in Amsterdam, 50 km from my home, I’ve decided to go to this teched (my first :)). Looking forward!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have booked the conference and i am looking forward to it. Just quick question here, is this conference going to cover the longhorn? is there any information about whether there will be the longhorn server release? I’m web developer, i hope one day i can use xaml and c# on the client and the server can deliver the xaml code to the client. i am curious about the progress of longhorn development.

  3. Anonymous says:


    I said earlier I’d go. I now see the price is 2300 EURO.. erm… ok… I now fully understand Lorenzo’s thoughts 😉

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sure – I recognise that €2300 is a lot of money, especially for an ISV. You’ll have to take my word for it though that running events like this are not cheap: the conference centre, speaker and organisation costs, food, communications network, shuttle buses (and yes, the parties) add up to a very large outlay for us. It certainly doesn’t work out as a profit centre for us by the time you add up all the costs, in fact when you take into account things like exhibitors and sponsors (internal and external), every attendee actually gets quite heavily subsidised to be there.

    So why do we run these events? Because we want people like you, Frans, to be there, so that we can network with you and give you all the opportunities we can to get the information you need to be effective in your job. We need to make it worth your investment by making the event as cheap as possible but also making sure you walk away feeling that your €2300 was money well spent. I really hope you’re able to come – and keen to do what I can to make sure that you and others like you can attend. Reducing the price is beyond my ability, unfortunately…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Stephen, you can expect to see some information about the progress of Longhorn development – we’ve got a few ideas of things to cover Longhorn-related – however, I have to be honest and say that TechEd is mostly focused on products and technologies that are either released or due to ship within the next twelve months. PDC is of course the conference where we look much further out, but of course there are no guarantees that anything you see at the PDC will ship in the form described.

    Of course, Yukon and Whidbey will ship within that timeframe 🙂

  6. Anonymous says:

    The cost of TechEd is too match; I went one year, there was only 2 sections on the Monday, and everything stopped at midday on the Friday. While not cut out items like the party, “free” food, and fancy stage sets? I do not think the “key notes” are worth the costs of having a big room that is 80% empty for the rest of the week, save the cost of the big room, and if you must do “key notes” use a video link between a few of your smaller rooms.

    Also make it a real 5 day even, e.g. start at 9am on Monday and finish at 6pm on Friday. The people that really want to be there, (eg. Are paying for themselves.) will not complain about having to travel at the weekends.

    TechEd costs about the same as a term at university, how can that be justified? Why not just take over a campus based university outside of term time, you would then also be able to offer reasonably priced accommodation on site. Or hold it at a Holiday Camp and put up big tents for the meetings, it works for Spring Harvest.

    ringi at bigfoot dot com

  7. Anonymous says:

    I welcome the change in the keynotes.

    I lasted exactly 5 minutes in the Tech Ed 2003 keynote and didn’t bother at all with the IT Forum keynote because of that bad experience.

    I’m not sure it’s the format though. For me it was the obvious lack of any useful content (plus the French accent) that sent me charging for the door.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’ll add also a comment that agrees with an earlier writer. The conference is really from midday (or even later) Tuesday to Friday (and pity the poor speakers who have to speak in a Friday afternoon session).

    Start the keynote session at 9:00 on Tuesday so that people arriving on Tuesday can get straight on to the real stuff and those of us who have arrived earlier have something that starts early in the morning rather than us hanging about half the day. Finish it officially at midday or thereabouts on Friday.

    I also agree with an earlier speaker that the parties can be dropped if that saves money and thus reduces the cost of attendance.

    It’s not just ISVs who have difficulties in justifying the cost of attendance !

  9. Anonymous says:

    I attended TechEd 2003 in Barcelona, a first for me, and REALLY REALLY liked it. And will be going this year too.

    I don’t think the Keynote last year was that bad, it was an OK start to the whole thing. About the parties, don’t drop them. They are an important event to socialising (sp?), I talked alot to many interesting people and speakers (especially on the Country Drinks evening). All in all I thought the 2003 event was real value for money (though it is expensive), and I’ve been able to use the contacts I made many times later on, and also the information/knowledge gathered there has been reused. I also think the whole event went very smoothly all in all, with very few major problems.

    I’m really looking forward to this year in Amsterdam!

    (just found this blog from another page, so hope you don’t mind me posting my 0.2$)

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