TechEd North America Thread

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Tech ED 2014 Grades

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  • User profile image
    adazlian

    So this is my third Tech Ed (2012 in Orlando, 2013 in New Orleans, and 2014).

    Content: A-

    Pros: There really was something for everyone and unlike previous years every session didn't try to slam cloud down your throat. I also really appreciated the sessions given by vendors or that had vendor content in them, or other third parties. The technical content, availability of slides, and post-tech ed downloads remain amazing. Speakers were great, just as always top notch. Labs ran good and were well staffed, appreciated that.

    Cons: Honestly, most cons related to sessions have to do with folks asking questions and refusing to use microphones. I had coworkers who previously attended MMS complain about the lack of general lack of On-Prem sessions.

    Venue: B

    Pros: Small, meant that it was really easy to go from one end to another, or to skip out on a class to go to another. Also, finding things was really easy. Compared to New Orleans which was SO massive it became a journey just to make it to certain things, this was definitely a nice plus. Buses ran great as always. Food was OK (better than Orlando, worse than New Orleans)

    Cons: Small meant huge traffic jams getting up to the sessions as for inexplicable reasons the doors were locked to the actual stairs and there were only a handful of escalators. Bathrooms, as always, were a problem to find and get in & out of quickly. Also while the convention staff were pleasant enough there was a HUGE disparity between the Hilton staff/food & the convention center staff/food.

    Keynote: F

    Pros: Before Keynote entertainment (flashdrive?) was pretty darn cool.

    Cons: Tiny venue. Content was awful. I care a little bit about the cloud but my employer doesn't care about the cloud, the one thing I might have cared about regarding cloud - NSA snooping - wasn't addressed at all and I apparently got teleported back in time to the 2011 apple Siri demo. Not a single product announcement or "bonus" announcement for TechEd attendees. Nothing at all about On Prem technology which is what the vast majority of Tech ED attendees were there to learn about.

    Closing Party: C

    Pros: Hey its a baseball stadium with free food and some fun activities.  The last band was pretty cool too.

    Cons: My gold standard for closing parties is Orlando. Universal park, decked out in TechED gear, just an amazingly fun night and SO MUCH to do. This.... packed into a baseball stadium, vendors ran out of everything almost immediately, very little to do, not many places to sit. Just.. meh. I mean you could hardly even tell it was a tech ed thing.

    City: D

    Pros: It wasn't anchorage Alaska in January? In all seriousness, people were nice so thank you Houston!

    Cons: Everything closed downtown early, 1 hour plus to go anywhere, everything shut down on Sunday, I saw two different occasions of police officers screaming at tech ed attendees for no real reason (one dared to stray outside the crosswalk lines!) traffic was catastrophically bad. Taxi Drivers made it their policy to attempt to rip you off, just blah.

    Tech Expo: B

    Pros:  Better than NO, and more centrally laid out made it easier to get to in between sessions.  Solution experts and vendor folks were good though, found quite a bit to bring back, made a number of contacts with both MS folks & other vendors.

    Cons: MS area was laid out by buzzwords apparently.

     Random Stuff:

     I might be going to Build next year instead of  TechEd 2015. I feel as though Microsoft is confused as to what TechED is supposed to be and the event is reflecting it.

    Much Nicer content catalog this year, thanks!

    Lack of Tech Ed 2015 announcement puzzling.

    Good job with charging stations throughout the conference center this year. about always packed, but still you could find them if needed.

    WiFi wasn't awful so thanks!

    No Surface Pro discount, no Technet subscription (not that it exists)... nothing at all as a bonus for TechED attendees was really, really, really, really disappointing.

     

     

  • User profile image
    IGotThis

    I couldn't agree more.

    Random Stuff:

    Good job with charging stations throughout the conference center this year. about always packed, but still you could find them if needed.

    No Surface Pro discount, no Technet subscription (not that it exists)... nothing at all as a bonus for TechED attendees was really, really, really, really disappointing.

  • User profile image
    l3wiscarr0ll

    And wasn't the Surface Pro 3 announcements within a week following TechEd? Why in the world wouldn't they announce it at the conference and give TechEd attendees first shot at buying or at least reserving them?

  • User profile image
    DustyGordon

    I couldn't agree more.  This is a great write up!

    I also wish that when you are scheduling the breakouts that it took into consideration how many people have already booked, and the capacity of the room.  So if it's full you know and can make other selections instead of finding out when you get there, and then trying to find something else.

    Also I understand that "The Cloud" is a big deal, but for those of us that will not use it I hated having it crammed down my throat.

    Yes they really missed the mark on not talking about the Surface 3 or windows phones very much.  Most people that attend these are gadget freaks.  They might not be the final decision maker, but they can bring back a cool gadget or at lease information to influence some purchases.

  • User profile image
    adazlian

    Also I understand that "The Cloud" is a big deal, but for those of us that will not use it I hated having it crammed down my throat.

    Yes they really missed the mark on not talking about the Surface 3 or windows phones very much.  Most people that attend these are gadget freaks.  They might not be the final decision maker, but they can bring back a cool gadget or at lease information to influence some purchases.

    I guess the thing is, my employer didn't really spend $4,000 or whatever the total cost ended up being to send me to a long marketing pitch on cloud you know. There are certainly some benefits for some organizations but it isn't a universal fit.

     

    Also the surface 3 thing still stuns me. That Monday they announce it, completely ignoring tech ed. Crazy, I guess it really isn't that important of a conference anymore to Microsoft or at least that's the impression they gave with that surface 3 thing.

  • User profile image
    CAReed

    So, if they had discussed AWS or Google Cloud or Cloud Whatever, would it had made a difference?

    Call me crazy, but if you go to a Microsoft conference, you're going to hear about Microsoft products.  Azure is Microsoft's cloud presence and it is likely the future of computing.  So, why would they not talk about?  Just because people are not ready for it doesn't mean it's not going to happen.  This is not a marketing pitch; this is the future....  (To add, Office 365 is also a cloud option to a lesser extent as it is more for the Office/SharePoint world.)

  • User profile image
    joeelway

    Excellent review. I think I agree with pretty much everything written. And yes, it is clear that MSFT values Build attendees more than TechEd attendees.

  • User profile image
    adazlian

    , CAReed wrote

    So, if they had discussed AWS or Google Cloud or Cloud Whatever, would it had made a difference?

    Call me crazy, but if you go to a Microsoft conference, you're going to hear about Microsoft products.  Azure is Microsoft's cloud presence and it is likely the future of computing.  So, why would they not talk about?  Just because people are not ready for it doesn't mean it's not going to happen.  This is not a marketing pitch; this is the future....  (To add, Office 365 is also a cloud option to a lesser extent as it is more for the Office/SharePoint world.)

     

    I don't care about hearing about Microsoft products, but they sell a whole lot more than just cloud. Like the surface pro 3 they announced just after tech ed. Or the huge on-prem software collection they have and yes, it is very much a marketing pitch. Not everyone wants or needs the public cloud. But I see the point, I mean it'd be dumb to complain about hearing anything about the cloud, It is a Microsoft conference and that is where they have made an enormous investment.

  • User profile image
    RallyJoe

    I kind of think you are missing the point about TechEd in general.   It isn't the launch pad for mobile devices, Tablets or specifically consumer product from Microsoft.   That's Build, or separate media engagements.  TechEd was focused on IT Pros, the systems they support and the developers who also write for them.  Yes there was lots of development coverage for mobile devices, but it still doesn't mean that TechEd is the venue for them to launch tablets and phones.

    The cloud topic, IMO, is a completely partisan topic at this point.  People don't agree/fear/care about the push for the cloud, and those people truly hate hearing about it. Just like in politics.   But the reality is, no matter how much you hate it, it is the way of the future for all IT in one way or another.   

    You show me a company that has its head so far in the sand that they NEVER will use a hosted solution of any sort, and I will show you a company that   doesn't get it.  Going full "cloud" isn't a solution for really anyone, but hybrid, or partial integration into cloud offerings at various levels bring efficiencies and availability that most companies would never realize without Azure/AWS.

    I heard so much FUD around the cloud at TechEd, that it seemed that geeks were working other geeks up on the FUD they heard...   The "cloud" is just another piece of tech to use or not as you wish.   You get this angry and upset when MS talks about Visual Studio and you aren't a developer?  Or SQL when you don't care about DBs? or Windows Server or Hyper-V when you are a developer? 

  • User profile image
    adazlian

    MY complaint and grade on the keynote wasn't on hearing about the cloud on the keynote, I don't care about that. It was the fact that keynote was entirely the cloud and a lame cortana demo that made me feel like watching a siri demo 3 years too late.

     

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