The kickoff of Tech•Ed 2006 is happening today in Boston which has given me the opportunity to reflect on how Tech•Ed has shaped my career, and even my life. Tech•Ed has always held a place near and dear to my heart since joining Microsoft. I joined the company almost exactly 4 years ago and will never forget my second week on the job when I was sent off to attend Tech•Ed Europe in Barcelona. The following month I was on my way to Tech•Ed Australia, Tech•Ed New Zealand, and Tech•Ed Malaysia. Not only was I "drinking from the firehose" while trying to get up to speed on my new job, but those firehoses were scattered all over the globe. In between learning the latest about Microsoft technologies I was also meeting new people, seeing new places, and learning about new cultures. I think I've been to Tech•Ed over a dozen times in four years and only 3 of them have been in the U.S.

Last year during Tech•Ed 2005 I had the amazing opportunity to present keynote demonstrations for Paul Flessner and Andy Lees at Tech•Ed Orlando and Tech•Ed Amsterdam respectively. That same year I also played the role of Track Owner on the Tech•Ed planning team which is made up of really great people from across the company, including Brian Marble, our fearless leader and one of the most organized and passionate people you'll meet.

Tech•Ed 2004 in San Diego was also really exciting for many reasons, but it was highlighted by the opportunity to meet Jessica Simpson back stage before her performance at the Tech•Ed Rumble in the Jungle (thanks Brian and Ali!).

But alas, this year I had to take a hiatus from Tech•Ed. Granted, it's because I'm working on an exciting new set of technologies on the XNA team. But I do miss the craziness of Tech•Ed - the great networking, exciting news announcements, face-to-face customer interaction, and who can forget the food and backpacks (keeping my fingers crossed that one of my good friends on the planning team brings one back for me... wink wink, nudge nudge <g>).

Tech•Ed, it's only been a year and I miss you already. Maybe I'll find a way to come back next year.