Although the rumor has been spreading for a while now, the official announcement has been made today. TechEd Europe has been reformatted and moved to November.
Without a doubt, the biggest change is the event’s format. Instead of having one event where content and audience was spread evenly on Developers and IT Pros, we’ll have two separate technical events moving forward.
Being the overall technical content owner for TechEd, I can’t be but happy with that. First reason is that we’ve been consistently hearing from attendees that they want more and deeper content. We can’t stay stuck at the 200-300 level sessions but need to move more towards the 400 (deeply technical) level. With the format we had so far, this simply wasn’t possible. We had far too many topics to cover across both audiences. The track owner meetings where I had to tell track owners to cut there sessions by x numbers are still burned into my mind. They remind me of a Visual Basic Team meeting I once attended where the PUM (Product Unit Manager) told the PM’s (Program Managers) they had to cut 20% of the priority 1 features for the release VS2003. It’s the type of meeting that no one leaves happy.
By separating the events, we’ll have more timeslots available for deeper, audience specific content. We will definitely use this opportunity to include more 400 level sessions in the event. Also I would love to take this opportunity to make the agenda less heavy on the attendees. Do we really need sessions running until 19:00? Sure there can be some sort activities running later but regular sessions, should be kept within normal hours so people can enjoy the conference, the side activities and the city to the full extent. Also this is based on attendee feedback. For those of you interested in both topics, we will offer promotional packages for people wanting to attend both events.
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Time and Location
Moving the event to November offers many opportunities. Firstly we believe this will allow us to attract more high profile keynote speakers as opposed to an event in the week of the 4th of July. Did you know that TechEd Europe was never able to get BillG to keynote? Now, to be clear, I’m not saying we will this year but I sure will try to get Bill to keynote the event for one of the next editions! Also PR-wise it makes so much more sense to spread TechEd US and TechEd Europe out over the year as it provides to clear opportunities to launch products. So yes, I’m expecting more launch activity at TechEd Europe and yes, I’m hopeful that this will bring more swag to the event!
Staying away from that date also automatically means that we’re moving away from the start of the 2 month European holiday season. I know quite a few people who haven’t been able to attend because they were on holiday. I understand this differs from country to country but I guess we all agree that because of the complex European holiday map, it makes good sense to stay away from July and August.
Also this will be easier for other speakers. We try to attract the best speakers from the product teams to speak at our events. Some of these guys really want to be home around the 4th of July. In November the pool of speakers from the product team will be bigger.
We also changed the location to Barcelona. Originally we were heading for Amsterdam for one more year. Now it’s Barcelona. I’m sure I don’t need to sell Barcelona to you. And although Amsterdam is a very nice city too, Barcelona still is cheaper for hotels, food, taxi’s, etc… I didn’t do a poll but where do you want to be in November?
Anyway, please comment whether you like this or not and let me know what your wishes are regarding content since that’s my main concern and the bit I have most influence on.