I went along to Tech-ed this year – my first time…. I’ve always stayed away from tech-ed, as most/all of the technical info is available on the web via blogs, documentation etc anyway…. and, well, its quite expensive… (especially this year as I took the entire team along)
First impressions were not positive, the keynote was just weird…. the people that ive spoken to are quite divided…. some loved it, others, like me, hated it…. it was weird for the sake of weird.
Anyhoo – things got substantially better the next day – went to a bunch of technical deep dive sessions that were quite good…. (and a couple of others that weren’t the best – but that’s to be expected)
My first session – an exchange deep dive, changed my mind a little on tech-ed straight away…. sure I would have been able to find all that info on the web and in doco at some stage – but having delivered by a knowledgeable speaker in a packages 75 minute slot was quite an efficient way of getting some good info – and small bits of additional insight from someone that knows the product really well.
It would have been nice if the session builder was a bit more flexible…. the products are named inconsistently (e.g. ConfigMgr, Configuration Manager etc) – so searches aren’t the best and there’s no ability to filter via product or technical level – which is pretty poor – as realistically me and the guys only want to go to deep dive style presso’s… sales rubbish or basic fluff sessions are pointless for us.
I also found that I had 3 or 4 sessions that I would like to go to at the same time regularly – and quite a few time slots with none… I know it would be hard to keep everyone happy here… but I had a whole day (Thursday) where there was only one session of interest…. that was disappointing.
All in all, it was actually much better than I expected…. im not necessarily in a rush to go back…. but it probably was worth it this year with so many new releases either here or on the way. The only other downside is that it was very hard on the liver…. I think I’ve got a total of 8 hours sleep over 3 nights….