I have had in the past a reservation in attending conferences. In general I set lofty expectations and feel somewhat let down when they do not come to fruition. If I am to put my life on pause, leave my family and put my customers on hold for a week, with an investment cost greater then just the fee, transportation or hotel, I believe the content that is presented should be not some re-hash of what I can get on the web after 5 minutes of Goggling or Binging (is that the term).
I decided to cut away from this hesitation and this year attend the DevTeach conference (It is still on). I had heard good things, and the speakers were recognizable and notable. It was also a bonus as it was quite literally 30 minutes down the highway from my house. I felt so compelled initially that I even booked a room at the delta where I believe the conference was taking place so that I could spend some afterhours time with some of the other attendees enjoying a frosty beverage.
Just after arrival I was able to sit down and spend the balance of the evening with Peter Richie, Rob Windsor, Mario Cardinal, K. Scott Allen, Donald Belcham, Kelly Cassidy, Erik Renaud, and Rob Daigneau. A great bunch of guys and they all seem passionate about their Tech.
After a very lousy night of sleep, I decided to abandon my decision to stay in the hotel for the duration of the conference and booked out during lunch, actually before, I wanted to get into a session on architecture put on by Michael Stiefel but was unable.
The first day for me was somewhat of a let down and I think it was due to the fact that I started off by going to some of the tooling session (language C#, V.net, Keynote, and VS for Architects). Except for a few notables these sessions for me were nothing more then marketing and a rehash of pre-canned content that has been available on the web, not much substance, and definitely no wow factor or call to action.
Both of the presenters in those sessions are very likable, and I believe great people for our community as a whole. I just felt that after the commitment that the attendees the payback was minimal. That being said I like where Sharepoint development is going and the slight overview of how to create sharepoint customizations in 2010 was good.
I am getting ready to head back to the conference for Day 2 and hope that If I change my ways (no more ms tooling sessions) the content will be engaging and provide the value I so really seek. The saving grace so far is the promise that all the sessions are being recorded, giving me the chance to view the ones that I cannot attend, at home, in the office at a time when they are not disruptive to my business practice.
Time for a coffee and a car ride,