Yes, it's been a while since my last post. I wish I could say that since then I've learned to play a musical instrument, or a new language. But no.

I did find myself standing at the front door to my house looking for the cardreader. "They" say that the purpose of time is to keep everything from happening at once, so maybe my excuse is that lots has been going on? Does that work for you???

Whatever. Since January PDC'05 has gathered lots of internal momentum, which is only partially visible from the outside. Believe me, it's bustin' to get out. Soon enough: registration for PDC'05 will open on June 7th. 

Some quick glimpses of what we've been up to, PDC'05-wise:

  • As noted earlier, Jeremy Mazner is the Content Owner for this PDC. He's cranked up the "Track Process", the most visible aspect of which is a weekly gathering of senior product team folks from around the company. Their goal, under Jeremy's guidance, is to figure out how to describe to PDC attendees where their respective parts of the platform are going. A lot of the startup cost in this is figuring out the rules of engagement... for instance, what are the criteria by which a specific product or technology should get airtime at the PDC? How much airtime? In what form (breakout session, Hands-on Lab, lunch session, etc)?

These meetings are typically fun since everyone is excited to talk about their stuff. But it's definitely not all fun. PDC has a finite number of session timeslots, and, frankly, there are limitations on what the typical attendee's head can hold. A key value-add of the folks participating in the Track Process is to provide focus and weighting to the PDC content.

I did my best to make sure that Track Meeting #1 kicked off by bringing 4 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. Which, it turned out, no one ate. I tried.

This excellent Track Process team has cranked out the 6 tracks we will focus on at the PDC. You can see the 1-line descriptions of those tracks here. From here we'll generate sessions, HOLs, and other structured content around that track structure. We will publish session details as soon as we can so you can see what you'll be missing if you don't come to this PDC :-)

  • We spent much more time that you would expect coming up with the tagline for PDC'05: Developer Powered.
PDC 2005

Why did it take so long to come up with those 2 words? We talked to a lot of people, internal and external, about what the PDC means to them. We talked to ourselves, a lot, about what the PDC means to us, and how to express that in a silly tagline that no one will remember anyway? At no point, I swear, did it get Dilbert-ish, but I was on the watch for it.

You'd be suprised how much people inside this company care about that tagline. It's actually reassuring, in a way... to me it shows how vital (alive) the PDC is for this company. However, for the poor soul who has the job of delivering a tagline (more proof of how special the PDC is... it's run by a bunch of technical types), the result is careening adventure  (get people in a room, brainstorm, write the results down, rinse, repeat, try it out on innocent bystanders). In the end, the whole process helped to make sure that we're all on the same page re: what this event is about.

I'm not going to reveal how "Developer Powered" actually came about, but we all like it because it conveys the strong sense of Developer Community that exists at PDC, and the central focus of the content at PDC: the developer platform. While stuck in traffic on 520 I also work on triple- and quadruple-overloadings for "Developer Powered", which I won't impress on you, dear reader, just yet.

Astute observers may also notice the kinda-out there Creative Style for this PDC:

We're really excited about this, too... but that's for another post.

  • Jeff Sandquist (just love his tagline) has signed up to be Community Owner for PDC'05. This wasn't a case of Jeff not running away fast enough, even though he's on my team... Jeff did this role for PDC'03 and he's the perfect fit for it. This wasn't a suprise to anyone :-) Jeff has a lot of ideas on how to "iterate forward" on the community concepts introduced at PDC'03. There's "online community", which involves blogs, etc, and "offline community", which happens in meatspace. The B-A-R is one manifestation of "offline community".

Much more than the above has been going on... lots of discussions with individuals and teams and assorted execs, etc. But I wanted to provide a glimpse into the biggest moving pieces (content, community) and some of the other more subtle things that are getting us warmed up for the week of September 12, 2005. It takes a lot to make something like this happen. My experience as content owner for PDC'03 was that it brought out the best in the company...

PS: the title of this post is most assuredly not a lame throw-away that I thought up in, say, 5 seconds late on a Saturday night. Rather, it reflects my deep commitment to do my part for science.