The other day, while talking to a couple of my friends in the development community, we stumbled onto the subject of next month's PDC. I'm going to be attending, and while talking about the trip I started to get concerned that its going to be a letdown.
Here's why. The hype level for this PDC is through the roof. The blog coverage has been extensive, with all of the Microsoft and author/developer bloggers that are going to be presenting at the conference writing about it for months now. The media coverage has been very extensive as well. The bar is being set pretty high. Another concern I have is that a few of the core technologies that are new and will be covered extensively are things that I've already had the opportunity to learn quite a bit about. So, I'm wondering what the real value will be. It will be nice to see some colleagues that I haven't seen for a while, and it will also be nice to talk with some of my friends and associates that work for Microsoft. The social and networking value of the event aside, I'm concerned that the content will be a disappointment. Sure, there are lots of interesting things going on at Microsoft in a number of product groups, but how much depth will there really be to the PDC material? I'm really not certain. At this point in my career I tend learn a lot more from the personal interactions that I have with people that work for the platform vendors (like Microsoft) and in my online interactions with some of the top-notch developers I know.
I think the conference will have some value, but I want it to meet or exceed my expectations. In order to have that happen, I think I'm going to have to start lowering my expectations and reminding myself that this is just a technology conference, and it will probably be on par with most of my conference experiences. The challenge will be to keep that in perspective in light of all of this extensive coverage leading up to the event. Also, I'm hoping to get more out of the "backchannel" by talking to presenters and my Microsoft friends rather than relying solely on the conference sessions.