As I made my way back across the Tasman to Melbourne, I felt compelled to share with you my experience at Microsoft TechEd New Zealand 2012.
I've been to a lot of conferences in my time. Mostly, as a speaker. Sometimes, as an attendee. And, on the rare occasion, as an exhibitor representing a company. This year, I attended TechEd New Zealand 2012 wearing all three hats.
Conferences aren't easy. Ask anyone who's committed themselves to bringing members of the community together in a shared learning environment. It's a tough job. And, it takes a lot of effort. You have to organise and plan a lot of things.
Having been a part of Developer & Platform Evangelism (DPE) with Microsoft Canada, and having organised a number of developer events myself, I understand just how difficult they can be to coordinate, manage, and execute. I felt the team running TechEd New Zealand 2012 did a wonderful job. From organising speakers to coordinating exhibitors, they should be proud of their accomplishment. They were able to bring 2000 developers and IT pros together in a pretty awesome way.
Some of the highlights for me:
- I thought the keynote was excellent. (Nigel Parker: Take a bow.) It featured a great mix of creative and technical content. And, throughout each presentation, there was a wonderful narrative that demonstrated the passion Microsoft brings to the technology it builds. As it was articulated throughout the keynote address, this is the biggest year in Microsoft's 35 year history. Consider the some products and technologies that has been released this year; Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Visual Studio 2012, the .NET Framework 4.5. It boggles the mind.
- My apologies to Thiago Almeida for not submitting my presentation on time. However, did that bother him? Nope. Did he accommodate me as a speaker to make sure I could do the best I could? Absolutely.
- The events staff who looked after the exhibitors were excellent. They took care of any/all issues (no matter how small) with the utmost care and professionalism. There was never a time where I felt needing anything in order to better engage our customers.
- The in-room A/V folks were great. As a speaker, I was quite impressed with just how accommidating they were for my presentation. I had quite a few devices on-stage. At one point, I was a little worried at over-taxing them with things to do. Nope. They were awesome.
- The catering with quite good. I can't say I've ever consumed as much salmon as I did at any conference in the past. However, I'm wasn't complaining. :) The only thing I might change would be to have an assortment of drinks on-hand. I don't think I was alone in thinking it was odd to not have pop/juice available. Finally, the Internet access. Speed? Good. Coverage? Excellent. Well done. That's about it.
Again, awesome job, Microsoft New Zealand!