Why do we come here?
A few years ago I contemplated getting an MBA. A good friend with an MBA advised me not to. They said that the main benefit of business school is to build relationships with your classmates. People who go to Biz school together have a bond that cant be broken and a network of colleagues-colleagues who help each other over the years, call for advice, hire as consultants and do business with. Over the last 8 years in the Microsoft world of speaking, consulting, writing and attending conferences, I have build a large network, my business school contacts. This network of colleagues and friends is a primary motivation for me speaking at TechEd.
So why do delegates come to TechEd? Delegates come to TechEd to learn about technology in the breakout sessions. That is the primary goal, or at least why their employers pay for them to come. But another important reason is to meet other developers and catch up with other friends and see what they are up to. So Tom is heavy into C# optimization now. Mary is knee deep in the ASP Cache. Bob in SQL Server transactions. That network is more valuable than any session on those topics, when you have a problem or are contemplating a new project, in that technology, you can call your friend who is using that technology in the real world (of course with the background of the breakout session fresh on your mind too.)
This is serious reason not to miss any parties while at the conference (ok and the open bar too!). Last night was no exception, about 600 people were at the Imagine party (where Clemens Vasters and I danced on stage with supermodels), and of course there was an after-party down in Porto Olympia which lasted-well way too late. At the after party, I caught up with some Imagine Cup constantans from Canada, German, Australia and Columbia. I explained that in this industry help from another developer is your #1 asset. I told them that when interviewing with Peter Bloom for the CTO job at Zagat back in 1999, he asked me what my #1 qualification was for the job. I said that my network of experienced friends and colleagues who I can call at home anytime when the sh*t hits the fan for advice.
So see you at the attendee party on Thursday night or at the next conference!!