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Jason Zander: Why Conferences Matter

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VP of Visual Studio engineering Jason Zander joins us to briefly share his perspectives on developer conferences and how he and team use the real-world information from events (based on attendee feedback) to help build better products. In this age of virtual everything, do we really need physical conferences? Why? Jason answers.

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  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw

    If conferances are so important [and agree that they are] why is microsoft steadily reducing them in number and size?

    Didnt pdc, winhec and mix used to be about a week each? now they're one four day conferance... why, when microsoft introduces new technologies its at the expense of other ones that you still claim is of equal relevance (wpf > silverlight > directUI/html+js) 

    And before you jump me, yes, i know you say all these technologies are just as relevant and you're doing investments in them and all that, but you do not give them equal exposure, and that is what people see. the other stuff is just words. im sorry but that's the truth..

    At the same time there are like a bazilion tech-eds all over the globe, what happend to "developers, developers, developers" guys.. :/

  • @aL_: There are a lot of reasons for this, Al. For starters, there used to be a lot of repeat sessions in conferences. Now that sessions are almost universally recorded and put online, the purpose of a repeat session is diminished, and conferences can be slightly shorter as a result.

    The economy and rising oil prices has also resulted in people traveling less, and so conferences have to be shorter as a result since companies dont' want to pay for their employees to be out for an entire week.

    I don't really understand your last point; TechEd is about 40% developers (both by content % and attendee %).

  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw

    Thats true i guess.. but still there are so many tech-eds and people seen to get sent to those Smiley Even without repeat sessions there is a whole bunch of things that where not covered in detail at build. Imo the interviews charles is doing now about 4.5 (great stuff by the way) should really have been sessions at build, at least in part.

    People are jumping at every chance to shout that wpf is dead, silverlight is dead and pretty much any technology microsoft already released is dead. Now while i dont really belive that, alot of people do. Microsoft has a reputation of constantly inventing new things and then dropping them, regardless if thats actually true or not.

    Having fewer shorter conferances where there is only time to really talk about one thing is not helping this view Smiley

    About developer content at teched.. i dunno man but i rarely see threads or blog posts where someone is raving about the awsome new feature revealed at tech-ed :/ Also there is no c9 live at teched and generally much less exposure of tech-ed than say, pdc or build. Now, i dont know if people are just missing the tech-ed content or it doesnt contain enough edge-y dev stuff, but teched dosnt feel like a dev conferance to me..

    Personally i thought the IT-Dev ratio was more like 95-5% but if thats not true, great! Glancing at the latest tech-ed session list, i didnt see much developer stuff though, but maybe i have to dig deeper Smiley

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