I’m trying to figure out how we should handle the PDC pre-conference this year, and wanted to see if anyone has input for us.

 

At last year’s PDC, we provided a day of pre-conference content.  For an extra fee, PDC attendees could register to attend one of the following day-long courses:

  • .NET - The Smart Client Perspective
  • .NET - The Web Perspective
  • .NET - The XML and Web Services Perspective
  • CLR Internals: Writing Great Components & Apps
  • Data A-Z
  • Microsoft Office 2003 - a solutions platform
  • Windows Internals

As Brian Swanson noted in previous comments, you won’t find PDC breakout sessions on shipping technology.  Since PDC content is focused on our forward looking platform roadmap, the pre-con courses all concentrated on training and background on products available today.

 

The turn out at last PDC’s pre-cons was really great, it looks like PDC attendees are willing to lengthen their stay in LA by a day in order to sneak in some focused content on today’s technologies.  In fact, the turn out was so high, that we’re debating extending the pre-con to two days this year.  That’s what I’m looking for feedback on – would people be interested in arriving two days early to get even more pre-con content?

 

Arguments in favor:

  • We could provide a lot more content.  The Internals sessions in ’03 were very popular, so we could add additional content on things like the inner workings of EntLib, or understanding the full suite of WS-* specs, or we could do a course on designing great .NET class libraries
  • Not everyone would need to attend both days.  We could put the more basic stuff on day -2, and then save the more advanced, meaty topics for day -1.  The folks who really need the extra background on writing production code on shipping products could attend both days (or only day -2), the folks more interested in the internals stuff would still only need to arrive 1 day early.
  • Conversely, we could split both kinds of topics over both days, so that unlike 2003, you wouldn't have to choose between CLR Internals and Windows Internals, you could do one on each day.
  • If you attend both days, you’d have to arrive on Saturday – which means flights might get cheaper because of a Sat. night stay over, and plus you can spend a Saturday night enjoying LA.

Arguments against:

  • 4 days of conference plus 2 days of pre-conference makes for a long trip.  People won’t want to stay away from home that long, or their brains won’t be able to absorb 6 days worth of content
  • Day -2 is the 4 year anniversary of September 11th.  As someone who had a family member narrowly escape when the towers collapsed, I am very sensitive to allowing room for people to attend a local memorial service, or even hosting one ourselves at the conference.  We could start the day late enough to accommodate that, but I still wonder if people would just rather not be at a pre-conference on that day.

 

So…thoughts?  Would you attend 2 days of pre-con?