You have reached the blog of Keith Elder. Thank you for visiting! Feel free to click the twitter icon to the right and follow me on twitter.

Detroit Launch Event, It wasn’t my fault, Let Me Explain

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Presentations, Speaking | Posted on 22-03-2008

This past week I have been in Michigan.  My reason for traveling to Michigan this week is I spoke at the MSDN Launch event in Detroit and used the time while I was up to work onsite this week as well. This is the first chance I’ve had all week to sit down at the computer and just vegetate.  It is good to finally just sit down at the keyboard and not have Power Point or Visual Studio open worrying about demos and presentations.  Five presentations this week wore me out. 

Launch Event

Tuesday was the Launch Event in Detroit.  I couldn’t believe the number of people there.  I heard 2,000 people were in attendance but I’m not sure if that was the exact count.  Let’s just say the Renaissance Center downtown was packed.  A lot of my friends said they got free copies of Vista, SQL Server, Visual Studio etc.  Personally I didn’t get any swag because I basically spent all of my time in the speakers room working slides and demos.  During lunch, I did go to a discussion panel which turned into a free for all round table session.  Alexey and I were at a table with a bunch of nice guys from Kelly Services.  We got to talking about TDD, Unit Tests, Team Foundation Server, and on and on.  It turned into such a great discussion that everyone decided to skip the panel and just keep the train a rolling.

I have no idea how much the event cost to put on but feeding that many people breakfast, lunch and providing them a cool lunch box to take home is already more than I could afford.  Attendees didn’t have to pay anything to attend the event, simply register.  There were tons of people from all over.  Michael Eaton and Dustin Campbell have blog posts that lists a lot of the people from the community that we all know. 

It Wasn’t My Fault, Let Me Explain

My session was the last session of the day.  There was one developer track session before lunch and then three after lunch.  The scheduling should have been tweaked to allow for breaks into between each one and I hope someone brings this up to the organizers so it can be addressed for other launches.  The first session after lunch started at 12:45 and was suppose to end at 1:45.  There was suppose to be a 15 minute break and then the next session started at 2:00.  The next session (mine) started at 3:00 with no break in between!  No breaks between sessions means the schedule gets thrown off.  Brian Prince and Jeff Blankenburg were covering Asp.Net during the session after lunch and theirs went pretty much to the 2:00 mark.  At about 2:10 Bill English started his session on the Office stack and he tried to get the schedule back on track.  He finished a few minutes after 3:00 but then questions poured in one after another so he didn’t end until 3:13.   I already had my laptop setup so I jumped up and started.  I looked down at my watch and it was 3:15.  Knowing we were running late I just tried to dive in and get the train running. 

After my session someone said, “man, your session was long”.  For the record my session was exactly an hour like it was suppose to be.  I had it timed perfectly and when I looked down at my watch it was 4:15 when I ended. 

From my perspective the talk went very well.  I tried to cover things from the real world perspective of “I am using these technologies right now you should be too”.  A few highlighted quotes from the talk were:

The New Hotness = WPF + Expression Blend


Workflow is so easy, even my Mom can do it!

After the session several people came up to me and said, “Dude, I can’t believe you covered MFC applications, I totally didn’t expect that from you”.  Here comes the “it wasn’t my fault” story.  Everyone has to understand something about Launch Events.  Everything you saw during the day was completely scripted.  In other words, I didn’t write the slides, nor the demos, nor come up with the agenda.  As a speaker at an event like this you are given everything.  And when I mean everything I mean even down to every line you are suppose to say as you walk through demos.  So for those that thought having MFC talked about at the Launch event was a little weird, it wasn’t my fault. 

Someone else said, “I can’t be you wrote in VB!”.  Again, I wouldn’t have if I had the choice, but at an event like that you have to play all sides of the fence and show a little love to everyone.  If you are a C# person and you went to an event with all VB examples you probably would feel that Microsoft was ignoring your platform and vice versa.  Thus that is the reason the talk incorporated C#, MFC, and VB. 

I tried to do my normal thing and work with what I had been given.  My goal was to try to bring some real world experience to the talk rather than just do a high level overview.  For example, the last demo I changed around which showed how to expose workflows via Workflow Foundation through WCF.  The original demo had console applications to host the WCF services.  Since the talk was about Clients, I ripped out the console apps and built the service to wire up to the WPF client.  I thought it was more important to show how a WCF service was built from scratch using Visual Studio and the new service reference additions which wouldn’t have been covered.  After I ripped out the consoles from the demos and did the timing with the new version it fit perfectly into the schedule and I thought made a lot more sense than what was originally planned.

After the Launch Event it was Geek Dinner time.  More to follow.

Comments (2)

I know what you mean about the provided content. I presented some WCF content at two Microsoft events last year. The content they gave me talked about logging and tracing and then, suddenly for no reason, click-once deployment!

I did it as scripted the first time, but dumped the click-once stuff the second time as it caused mass-confusion for the audience.

Hey buddy, when you gonna post the picks from the Geek Dinner?

Not only did my coat disappear during the event (it has since been returned), but I forgot my camera… so I have no pics of my own.

Write a comment