Microsoft TechEd Melbourne Day 2

No Keynote today, instead we were invited to see the Agents of Change panel discussion “Skills or Culture: What drives innovation more?” with various people from KPMG, SEEK, FoodBank, Monash Uni and Microsoft.

We were then back to the Sessions, Sponsor booths and Community activities.

Giveaways

  • Plantronics RIG FLEX gaming headset including two mic attachments (boom or inline)
  • Office 365 1 year subscription
  • PressReader trial
  • PressReader screen cleaning cloth
  • Microsoft Virtual Academy card
  • $300 Cloud Pass credit on Azure for 30 days
  • $25 Microsoft Store Voucher.

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Sessions

I like what Microsoft have done with the event space, they’ve taken what could be perceived as a negative (Single large hanger space at the exhibition center with curtained off areas for breakout sessions all in the same space so noise will be a problem.) and turned it into a centre piece of their giveaways with the TechEd Australia 2014 Plantronics RiG headset. Electronic auto-tune receivers were handed out when you arrived each day, you connected these up to your headsets, listened to the sessions and then dropped the receivers off in buckets as you leave for the night only to repeat on day 2.

Microsoft had a great mixture of presenters on a large range of topics the tracks were around: –

Data centre & Infrastructure
Developer Platform & Tools
Office Servers & Services
Developing for Windows phone & devices

I had the chance to talk with one of the speakers who told me a bit about their experience, Microsoft paid for their flights/Accommodation and entrance into each event they presented at. My source also mentioned that Microsoft provided speaker training which is great to hear.

I noticed that there wasn’t much emphasis on measuring the interest or success of the sessions, a link was provided at the end of a session that people could provide feedback but as there was no incentive I expect uptake of this wouldn’t be great.

Sponsors

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The layout included 40 Sponsor Booths all surrounding the Microsoft showcase, sessions were located in each corner of the hanger so you had to cross the sponsors to get between sessions. 3 Coffee carts were also strategically place at each end of the space to supply caffeine to delegates.

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Fianally there was dinning space on one side of the hanger and community on the other, although this was typically also used for consumption, which brings me to…

Community

There really wasn’t much going on from a community perspective at this event, in fact it really reminded me of those events you use to go to about 5 years ago, you know – where you walked around not knowing anyone and being forced (if you were that way inclined) to ask your dining neighbour why they were here and what they were doing, what was their most interesting session, key takeaway – that kind of thing. Now this may be because I’m new to Microsoft events (please correct me if I’m wrong) but I suspect it’s because Microsoft are still trying to create this ‘buzz’. I was hoping to find a local equivelent of ‘The Krew‘ or something, but, well, nope, nothing.

For me this is probably the only real big criticism of the event, it seams to me that Microsoft really didn’t invest any effort in building one-to-one relationships with it’s customers, there was no customer evangelism going here and this, well it kind of really bothers me.

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Sure they had the Internet of Things Maker Den which looked interesting also with the Infini tee (take a photo of you wearing a t-shirt, print that on a shirt. Then take a photo of your friend wearing the t-shirt with a photo of you wearing a t-shirt and so on, rise, repeat) which again was fun. But the community space, well it was just kind of missing something, that would be community.

My advice to Microsoft would be to build some local engagement with your community, it was great to see customers and partners present at the sessions along with MVP’s and Microsofts own internal tech evangelists.

Just an idea, you know the list of sessions submissions you received that were deemed unsuccessful?

Why not in the email response you send notifying the speaker that their session was unsuccessful provide a link to vBrownBag, invite them to attend and record their session live at the TechEd event (all you’d need to do is provide a small space to film those said presentation)?

vBrownBag already have all the facilities to post process the presentation which can be live streamed or uploaded to youtube as collateral for later viewing.

…now that would start something!

Sessions Attended

300 – Getting Foxy with Azure IAAS (DCI307) – Stu Fox  @stufox

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300 – StorSimple vNext & Microsoft Azure – Hybrid Cloud Storage for Enterprise Workloads (DCI309) – Ben Di Qual  @bendiq

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Thanks for reading, until the next time!

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