For the first time, we attended TechEd 2009. The TechEd conference series is about what is available today or soon-to-release suite of products – so there was no real new information that we heard. I went to a handful of sessions, but most of our activities at TechEd were around networking and talking to Expo vendors. Some conference notes…
1. The TechEd keynotes didn’t contain any new information for us. The only announcement was that Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 will be released by the holidays. Unlike the other conferences I’ve been to, this one only had keynotes on the first day.
- Talking with speakers and expo vendors, they all told me that the attendance was down. TechEd was traditionally two conferences – one week for IT and one week for developers. However, this year Microsoft combined the two together in one conference. People were telling me that in the past each of the two conferences could pull in about the same number of people that attended this years combined conference.
- A lot of the Microsoft staff speakers were just flying in and leaving right away.
- Microsoft didn’t throw an offsite blowout party at this conference. The end-of-the-week party was held at at the convention center and attendees were limited to two drink tickets and the food was just tacos/hotdogs/corndogs/chips..etc.
3. Where they did invest is in the Conference Bag. It was a very hefty bag that will definitely be reused.
4. There were some real interesting characters walking around the halls.
5. Best Microsoft swag – The Microsoft Home Server team had one of the funniest and creative swag I’ve seen in a while. It was a full on illustrated children’s book written by Tom O’Connor, Ph.D (author) and Jill Dubin (illustrator) titled, “Mommy, Why is There a Server in the House? Helping Your Child Understand the Stay-At-Home Server” After some research I did find out this was old (from 2007) but it was the first time I’d seen it. I even found it being sold on Amazon.
With classic lines like “Big people have a server at the ‘office’! The office is a boring place where big people go and do boring things” and “Some servers aren’t boring. They don’t go in offices… they go in houses!” – how can you not like this book?
BTW: Microsoft was giving away the flying monkey and it was a very popular piece of swag that was flying around all over the place screeching in the Expo hall. I stayed away…far away…
6. Best Expo Vendor Swag – This could be either the best or gross swag. But clever nonetheless. From the minds at AVICode – their tag line was “helping organizations around the world lick the bugs in their applications” – so their swag was a lollipop with an insect inside. They created a microsite to support this gag at lickthebugs.com – and warning don’t click the link if you are squeamish about crawling bugs. Their microsite has a video and photo gallery of some brave souls.
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