It's a not-well-kept-but-not-overly-publicized "secret" that many Microsoft products groups have advisory groups (named "focus groups", "customer councils", or something like that...) that help them with future product direction. I had the pleasure of working with the C# one for a couple of years, and their input proved invaluable in helping us set our future product direction.

Membership in these groups is obviously limited, but if you're going to PDC (I'm not...), you may be able to participate in a focus group that helps set future direction (I'm deliberately being vague because I don't own or really know the details here).