This launch event was, in my opinion, nothing short of spectacular.
From a venue perspective, this was incredible. Microsoft engaged large conference rooms on every floor of the Shaw Conference Centre. I have been to many events at the Shaw Conference Centre including rock concerts and my high school graduation and have never seen this venue used so extensively. Attendance was amazing as well. There were likely 3000-5000 attendees. I commented to Barnaby Jeans, as he was walking around snapping photos, that they could easily have renamed the event, "The Day Microsoft brought Edmonton to a grinding halt". This was, obviously, a hotly anticipated event.
For presentations, everything got kicked off right with a very impressive keynote. For myself, the most impressive part was the first speaker who spoke on growing a business and referenced ICICI. I was receiving phone calls most the morning due to dropping my car off at the shop for repair and didn’t get the chance to write down his name. Rick Martin, Alberta Practice Leader for Habanero Consulting, had a good tete-a-tete discussion with Phil Sorgen, President of Microsoft Canada and the main presenter of the keynote address. Eilliot Katz, Senior Product Manager for Microsoft Canada, followed that up with a nice, quick demonstration of using Outlook. The nifty feature of all this was his live PHONE call to use a voice activated system to read his email, check his calendar, and actually make changes to the calendar events. Very cool! Finally, Mike Bulmer, Microsoft Office System product manager for Microsoft Canada, did a very slick presentation of how Sharepoint 2007 interops with the various Office Suite of products.
This was the least impressive session of the day for me. The information pertaining to architects, specifically, was next to none. There was passing mention of the four pillars of .NET 3.0 but it seemed so tertiary to the presentation. What seemed to be more the focus was the marketting of how pretty the new UI features of Vista and the Office products are. This didn’t seem like the fault of the presenter, Mohammad Akif, Senior Architect for Microsoft Canada, as his presentation skills were fine. The content was just not relevant to architecting solutions.
Developer Track – Bringing Clarity to your existing applications:
This session followed lunch. Part of having worked in Edmonton for many years, I got to see a lot of faces of people I hadn’t seen in a while. This "networking" opportunity, along with phone conversations with the repair shop, and my family kept me from seeing much of this presentation. I was also called away to phone in to a critical work meeting during this session that kept me from getting very much inormation from this session.
Developer Track – Bring new meaning to productivity of the 2007 Microsoft Office system:
The phone meeting I was involved with that consumed most of the previous session also consumed the majority of this one. I came in for the last 25-30 minutes where the presentation was showing off the new Open Xml support with Microsoft Office System. I had not seen this functionality before and was blow away with how much easier this will make writing Microsoft Office integrated applications. I am definitely going to look into this one further.
Developer Track – Extend the power of your current applications:
I am always impressed with the breadth of John Bristowe‘s product knowledge and knowledge of development history. He truly puts on a developer-centric, to the metal, presentation that are often a hghlight of events that I attend where he is presenting. This one was no exception. He goes through things at a good pace and speaks with great clarity.
There was one more session today but I was unable to attend as the customer shuttle arrived to take me back to the shop to pick up my car. I had planned to attend the Developer Track – Tour of Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007. With the stuff that was shown in the keynote, I was eager to see more. I’ll be looking out for more webcasts to come out about this product.
I was very impressed with the Vendor area. I was extremely happy to see the Edmonton .NET User Group pressence at a booth there. I am a proud supporter of this community group and was very impressed with Microsoft’s support of the local developer community by allowing them the opportunity to be a part of this event.
Man.. what a great even!t. Thank you Microsoft, all the presenters, the vendors, and the staff of the Shaw Conference Centre. This was a very enjoyable event. I highly recommend you attend it when the roadshow comes to a location near you.
Oh yeah.. all the resources used for the Launch Event in Canada can be found here.