Now that Mix is behind us I'll focus on other stuff moving forward, but did want to make a few comments about the event and about the technologies we were showing. We are incredibly pleased of course at all of the positive feedback we received about the event, it sounds like people had a good time generally and found it really useful - plus met up with plenty of interesting people. Which hits all of the targets we were aiming for so we're well pleased.
One of the difficulties at running an event like Mix is getting the balance right between developers and designers, between people new or new-ish to Microsoft technologies and people who are more experienced, and the business / marketing folks vs the technical folks. And nowhere is that balance more difficult to achieve than in a keynote, but it feels like that we just about pulled it off ie most people found enough of interest in the keynote to make it worthwhile. Case in point: The Sage "tax return" form which is a really interesting blend of the exciting stuff (Silverlight and Ironpython) and the boring stuff (a tax return). Virtually everyone I talked to thought this was the best demo in the keynote and talked about it enthusiastically, and I've seen a number of blog posts which agree with that. But I'm not sure the desginers in the audience could get past the "but this is just a boring tax form" concept. Unless people tell me I'm wrong? On balance, I feel it was absolutely a good demo to have in the keynote - for me it said that Silverlight is about more than just whizzy UI, but can and will be used for real world business purposes too and has genuine value to add in that context.
The other piece that is particularly interesting (to me anyhow) is how much Windows Live was talked about at Mix. Not only was it in the keynote - with the new www.adventureworksresorts.com quick app announced - but we had four separate sessions too. Windows Live is starting to really take shape as a developer platform and the story is becoming quite compelling in terms of being able to integrate some genuinely useful features into web apps, plus take advantage of the success of offerings like Hotmail and Messenger.
Mix really did exceed my expectations in terms of how well it all came together - and we're already starting to think about how we can make it even better next year :-)
My problem with the keynote was not the Sage presentation but just how "old school" it was - like some of the worst MSDN events of the old days, instead of the new world of events run by the user groups (Developer! Developer! Developer!, WebDD etc). Endless rushed demo's which go wrong and where people aren't properly introduced just don't cut it these days. Don't even get me started on the EasyJet demo where, when yet another "alpha" demo went wrong the speaker joked that this was live on Production servers and the problem experienced was being experienced by real customers. Glad I'm not a shareholder in that company!
Thankfully things improved dramatically over the next 2 days and I was glad I attended, although it still felt very much like a conference for "the suits" that had been given a couple of days off cf corporate develeopment, lacking somewhat the enthusiasm and sheer fun of the user group events that have covered much the same ground. Maybe I just attended the wrong sessions?
The giveaways were very generous and the final "Sneak Peek" session wrapped things up nicely.
I didn't give any feedback because nobody asked me to (not even a form to fill in to get my goodies).
Thanks for the feedback Ian. Glad you found it useful even if there were pieces that didn't work for you. Oh and we should be putting up recordings of most/all of the sessions soon so you'll be able to see the other sessions that you missed.
General feedback I had from people during and after the event was very positive so I'd be interested to hear other opinions.
Also, take a look at the backnetwork at http://mix07.backnetwork.com for other views people have already posted / blogged.
RE the Sage demo. I totally agree, I needed some convincing that Silverlight was more than "Whizzy UI" and that was it!
Personnally if I do go next year I will attend more of the smaller sessions instead of sticking to the mainstream, might go to the mix munchies as well - sounded like a good laugh!
Thx to all those involved.