TechEd North America Thread

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First time to TechEd

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    Hello All, 

    This will be my first time to attend TechEd, and I am wondering on what to expect.  I attended VMwares VMworld and I had to sign up for sessions.  I am not seeing anywhere to do this here on the TechEd site. 

    Am I missing something?  What else can I expect while I am there?

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    Hello DezCorps,

    Last year New Orleans was my first TechEd. I am going again this year but what I can say is there is no real registration for sessions. If they do it like they did last year they will list all the sessions, and it will allow you to select and make an organized list for yourself. However it is based on who gets to the session first, once its filled, its filled.

    I know some of the sessions though they allowed ALOT more people even though no seats were available (Mark's sessions) were they stood in the back or sat on the floor.

    I had a great time in New Orleans last year and I would love to see it back there or Orlando/Cali. I am not too happy it is in Houston this year but you have to make the best of it. Less than 5 months and I am excited!

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    @DezCorps:Hi.  TechEd is exciting but can be overwhelming for first timers especially if they are not used to a large venue setting and thousands of people in one location.  However, the logistics and planning by the TechEd team makes it all seamless and everything works like a charm.  So, just imagine everything being big.  Large convention center, large conference rooms, large projector screens, large expo hall, large dining area, etc. 

    In terms for signing up to sessions, the session list will be available starting early March.  When you build your schedule, you are not booking a spot for that session but helping yourself organize in terms of which ones you want to attend.  This also gives the TechEd planning team to adjust room sizes in case there is more interest in particular sessions.  As @KevinMet has said, it's first come first serve basis. Generally, every one double or triple books sessions for a give time frame, then weed them out as they go along depending on recommendation from other attendees, etc.  You will have enough time to get from one session to another despite the distance of their respective locations within the conference center.  Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and break them in before you get there as you'll be doing some walking.  If you are interested in attending Mark Russinovich's sessions, you better get there early as they fill up fast. 

    Do you know anyone who will be attending TechEd Houston?  Try to connect with people in advance instead of in Houston, although you'll have plenty of opportunities to hook up with people there.  To do this in advance, make some connections in the TechEd forums here, follow the #msteched hashtag on Twitter, follow the official TechEd Twitter handle @TechEd_Na, follow me @Hoorge as I post a lot on TechEd, also follow Scott Ladewig @Ladewig who shares quite a bit on TechEd and is a great resource for information.  There are others as well, but this will get you started.  Also, Like the official TechEd Facebook page where information is frequently provided.  Lastly, if you haven't heard of TheKrewe which is a group consisting of some influential IT geeks who share a passion of Microsoft technologies, technology in general, and loves to have fun, I'll fill you in on that.

    While TechEd is a great convention for training, learning, and good technical info, networking is a huge part of it too.  You'll make some great friends, meet some experts, and hang out with some influencers.  Join the evening social events to connect with people.  They are a lot of fun and not to be missed.  Those who attend sessions and then retire to their hotel rooms have a very different experience than those who attend sessions, network, and hang out. 

    Let me know if you have some specific question and I will do my best to provide some answers.  I'm sure others will chime in as well.  I'm glad you're attending TechEd.  Oh ya, despite the negativity and reservations some folks have about Houston, it's actually a great location for the TechEd conference.  I was invited to join the TechEd team in Houston back in December 2013 for a Round Table discussion where I was able to see the BTS planning, talk directly with the TechEd planning team, scout out some locations, and check out the city a little bit.  Houston has a lot of character and a lot to offer.  You'll enjoy it.  Cheers.

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    Thank you @Harjit and @KevinMet for the information.  @Harjit I will be attending with a coworker, but he really didn't have much knowledge on when to sign up for sessions and what exactly to do while there.

    I am looking forward to getting the most from this experience, as when I went to Vmworld, I was the get to the hotel type of individual, so I left feeling that there was more to the conference than what I had experienced.

    Is there a list of Sessions, or does that come out in March as well?  Also for the networking and hang outs, will those be announced at the events?

    How does one find TheKrewe? 

    I am not concerned about the event being in Houston, I am going for the experience and getting to know more people with the same passion for IT.

    Also I see there is 50% off for certifications, is there training out there or just walk in to take the testing?

    Thank you again for the time you have given to provide this information.

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    @DezCorps:Not a problem at all.  Happy to help answer questions where I can. 

    The session list will be released in early March.  That is when you'll get to see the individual session information which will include the times, dates, speakers, levels, and description.  Don't worry too much about it because the list is like a brochure and not like booking a flight where seats may be gone.  Even after the sessions list is released, it's always a good practice to monitor it for changes or additions from time to time. 

    The networking and hangouts are not posted or printed.  They are shared by word-of-mouth and through social media.  Believe me, there'll be lots of it to a point you'll stress on which ones to attend.  You'll also get to know about the parties / hang outs through the many vendors at the expo hall.  Quite a few vendors will host small get togethers or parties at area restaurants and bars, mainly to show appreciation for their customers.  These events include free food and alcoholic beverages.  I would recommend that you contact the reps for the technology vendors you use at your organization such as VMware, Dell, HP, Secunia, etc to put you on a VIP list or inform you when their events are happening during TechEd.  Some vendors will give you passes or wrist bands when you have a good chat with them at their booth.  But, in general, most hangouts take place in groups among the attendees.  Therefore, I encouraged you to "meet" with people now via social media to get the ground work out of the way. 

    For the Krewe, you can check out but the most active stuff takes place on the Facebook Krewe page located here

    From what I know about the certifications, it is 50% off and you can either register for the exams in advance or do them on a walk-in basis.  There will be an area in the Expo Hall called Certification Central where the experts are there to help you with prepping and booking the exams.  I believe there are some study groups available to assist you with the exams.  You may have checked out some information here:

    I hope this helps.  If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.  I think I should blog info like this to help others.  Smiley


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    When they do post the sessions, they also have a social component setup so you can ask questions or even request content to be covered, and generally interact with the presenters ahead of time.

    Also don't limit yourself to getting information and learning from just the sessions presented.  My company has a WSUS environment and they did not have any sessions covering that last year but the team that manages the WSUS blog were there doing other things and I made it a point to find out when/where they were available to go pick their brains on some stuff.  TechEd has the greatest concentration of Microsoft personal in one location outside of Redmond (maybe even more since MS employees around the world come to TechEd). 

    Also make sure you have a backup session that you may want to do that is close to your primary choice.  Not only could you run into a full session but you might be in one and right away figure out that its not really interesting to you and you can just get up and go the your second choice if its not filled.

    Enjoy you first TechEd Big Smile

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    @Harjit and @PatrickDunlap, thank you again for all the information, now I don't have to be running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

    I really do appreciate the time you have given to me and anyone else that is new and reads this post.



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    The TechEd style is much nicer than the VMworld style.  I hated having the queue up and stand in line at VMWorld.

    The teched sessions usually have lots of room, I can't recall ever not being able to attend a session I wanted because it was full (although it does happen).  Most of the "big" one (that are likely to be full) are fully recorded so you can watch them after the fact.  In fact last year I skipped the 'case of the unexplained' specifically to avoid the crowd, and watched it recorded after.  Better in person, but don't worry if you miss something.

    For sure join TheKrewe facebook page.

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    Also in the Expo hall you will find team members from most of the technology pieces. You can go to the booths and ask questions or meet the folks behind the technology you use.

    Usually they have one night of Ask the Experts, where there is food and drinks and tables set up with members of the teams for you to "ask the experts"

    The key thing to remember is comfortable shoes and clothing. It is a lot of time on your feet, walking and walking through the big conference area.

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    If you use Twitter make sure to follow @TheKrewe and the hashtag #TheKrewe

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    Breaking in shoes and losing weight now.

    Wanted to chop my feet off after SPC12

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    @DezCorps: Check out this blog post from last year on Tips for First Time Attendees.
    In summary here's our top 10 tips:

    1. Wear comfortable shoes. 
    2. Planning your session schedule before you fly will help you get what you came for. 
    3. After you've picked up your badge, check your conference guide for info on WiFi set-up.
    4. Attend a TechEd101 Session at TechEd North America.  
    5. Talk with EVERYONE.
    6. Make time in your schedule for Hands-on Labs (HOLs).
    7. The TechExpo is big!
    8. Don't sit out the social events.
    9. Get Certified at TechEd.  
    10. Take a big suitcase (or an extra one!).  

    Definitely join #TheKrewe! You will find the closer to the event the more connections, advice and tips the community will make re: the event! The forum gets pretty busy!  Thanks @FredrikNilsson @ScriptingWife @DaveVernon @PatrickDunlap @Harjit @KevinMet for your insights!

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    Pro Tip: Attending a Mark Russinovich or a Mark Minasi session? Get there early. Seats fill up quick. By early I mean walk straight from your previous session to theirs in order to get a seat. Seriously. Try your best to attend one of their sessions, if they're speaking this year and get there early. Did I say get there early? Get there early. :)

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    @nothatsyou:Should I get there early? You mean early? :)

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    Is there anything special that I must know, as new around here?

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    Nice post thekrewe congrats ;)

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    Thanks for the shoutout @Hoorge :)

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