After saying hooroo to Australia, author Orin Thomas moved on to New Zealand:
Orin here. TechEd New Zealand came as something of a relief after TechEdAustralia. Not because there is anything inherently scary about TechEdAustralia, but because that event was the first one where I gave mysessions to a large audience. Speaking to a couple of hundred peopleis a lot different to speaking to 20 or 30 and you find parts of yourpresentation that work with a small audience don’t translate that wellto a large one. That I had survived with relatively good sessionratings (last time I looked I was still hovering in the top 10 forpresenter effectiveness) lifted a weight off my shoulders. As aspeaker at TechEd you can become so focused on getting yourpresentations right that you don’t have time to get into the groove ofthe event itself. Speakers take evaluations very seriously. There isalso a friendly competitiveness to seeing just whose sessions areranked the highest. The better your evals, the more likely that youare to get an invitation to speak at TechEd next year.
The venue at TechEd New Zealand is smaller than the venue for TechEdAustralia. The first photo shows the cavernous Arena 2 at the GoldCoast convention center; the second photo shows the more intimateMarlborough room at Auckland’s Sky City.
In the case of TechEd New Zealand, I knew my lines and mypresentations well, so I could afford to take in a few more sessionsthat I had really wanted to see but had been unable to due to my focuson my own stuff in Australia. This included Jason Buffington’s greatsession on how to protect data hosted on Exchange and SQL Server usingSystem Center Data Protection Manager 2007.
I also attended some great sessions from the Scott and Andrew from theExchange Team. They talked about Exchange Server 2010, spending asignificant amount of time showing the care and attention necessary toproperly manipulate mail tips so that they can be used to their fulleffectiveness.
Although both events are great and it is a privilege to present,another advantage that the NZ event has is that with a smaller numberof speakers, there is greater opportunity to mingle with otherspeakers. At TechEd in Australia you can feel a little lost in thecrowd. At the Australian event you might not even run into anotherspeaker, in NZ it can be difficult to get away from them (just askCorneliu, Vittorio, Scott, Andrew and Jason ;-).
One of the great things of being a regular author at Microsoft Press is thatit opens doors like having the ability to present at TechEd. For allthe nerves involved in getting your presentation just right, there isan awesome sense of immediate accomplishment when you pull off a greatsession. I hope to speak at many more TechEds over the coming years,and I hope to see you one day as a member of the audience in one of mysessions.