When people go to technical conferences, they tend to think along lines something like this:
"At 9:00 I’m going to go to this breakout session, and then at 10:30 I’m going to go to this other breakout session and then at 12:00 I’m going to go to that breakout session…"
Conference attendees seem to spend all of their time running from one room to another, just to see some "expert" talk about technologies that interest them. How crazy is that?
Wait a minute, you say! That’s not crazy – that’s the whole point of going to a technical conference, right?
The point of going to a technical conference is to have access to knowledge and resources that you can’t get anywhere else. And if you’re planning to attend Microsoft’s flagship TechEd conference this week or next week (or both!) then the breakout sessions will all be included on your post-conference DVDs. That’s right – Microsoft will mail you a set of DVDs with all of the sessions on them so you can watch them whenever you want to.
So what should you do while you’re in Orlando? How about visiting the Technical Learning Center. The TLC is the place to be, if you ask me. This is where the experts will be hanging out, just waiting for people like you to come up and say hi and ask a question or two. These experts include Microsoft Certified Trainers, Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, and quite a few members of the product groups that build the Microsoft tools we all love so much. And not only are there experts, but there are also whiteboards, tables and comfy couches and chairs, so you can relax in delightful comfort while you’re basking in the inside knowledge that only the people who build the products can have.
Oh yeah, they give away the occasional t-shirt as well.
In any event, it’s not too late to fine-tune your conference plans. It would probably be silly to not go to any breakout sessions at all (because you can always go up and talk to the speakers once the session is over) but make sure you take the time to visit the TLC. I promise you won’t regret it.