Rambling about WebDD

Sun, February 4, 2007, 07:05 AM under Random
As suggested two days ago, yesterday I was at WebDD to listen to some talks and do a 10’ stint myself.

I had a good time. It was basically a DDD with focused web content, and with a few additional twists including:
1. There was active presence by Microsoft (e.g. speakers, pods)
2. It was slightly smaller (3 rooms instead of 4)
3. No public voting of sessions
4. ScottGu dominated the event (His room was always full, with people standing and queuing)

As a complete aside, having attended (and presented) a few 1-day events at our UK TVP offices I think I prefer events where the two rooms (Chicago 1 & 2) are joined i.e. single track events.

I was one of the people standing in Scott’s sessions and I can see why people were so attracted to his talks (heck, I am not even into web development and I sat through 3 of them!):
a. Gravitas
When the General Manager of the developer platform is telling you how it is, you know that you are not only getting the facts, but also what decisions were made before reaching the current spec and what is waiting in the pipeline. You also know that you can give feedback straight to the horse’s... ears.
b. Geekness
I have always maintained that developers enjoy watching/listening to fellow geeks. Scott is a geek.
c. Passion
Usually, but not always, follows on from the previous point. In this case, it was evident that Scott was passionate about what he was showing.

Notice how I did not include in the list above “presentation skills”. That is because I have never heard so many times the word “um” in a session. If it wasn’t for the compelling content I would have walked out at one point in the “WPF/e” talk :-)

Speaking of presentation mistakes, on to my grok talk...
I managed to start talking and then realised that I had forgotten to connect my laptop to the projector... doh! I also hadn’t realised that the only microphone available was one that you must hold... a bit difficult when your entire talk is demo-based! Thanks to Richard, Dave and John for filling in for me while I battled to get Vista to talk to the screen and thanks for later holding the microphone to my face while I used the keyboard/mouse. Live and learn. As for the topic of my grok talk, I settled on Sidebar (apologies if you were hoping for SideShow, but I feel that it is hard to talk about it without having real hardware to show to people).
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