The Road to Tech.Ed 2009

The Road to Tech.Ed 2009

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Last year was my first experience at running TechEd New Zealand. Luckily I have a great team and event partners who know pretty much how to do this after running many successful events over many years.

So the 2008 event went off pretty well, we saw some great feedback on the sessions and the event itself, and further cemented the reputation of TechEd as the premier technical conference in New Zealand. So the challenge – as always – is how to top that and improve the experience for our attendees in 2009.

…and all in the middle of the largest recession since the big one!

So it has been really gratifying to see strong demand for places since registration opened at 9am on Monday. That tells me people still value TechEd as a must-do training opportunity even when dollars are tight. It also gives me confidence that the NZ IT sector sees brighter days ahead and is still investing in people and their skills.

At the same time I am reminded of the emails and messages I received from people last year who missed out on a TechEd slot because it sold out so fast (3 weeks) – that wasn’t a great experience for them. I want to let you know some of the changes put in place this year to help with this and improve the general experience:

  • Through some clever logistical planning with the venue we’ve increased the maximum capacity to 2400 attendees this year
  • We’ve gone out early with a personal letter from me to many of our customers and partners giving them early warning of the opening of registrations to allow them time to ramp up their procurement processes
  • We’ve reduced the price of an individual ticket to the event
  • We have a formal waiting list process this year where, if the event sells out, you can still register and be notified if a place becomes available (these slots do come up – believe me)
  • We’re using online channels like blogs, twitter and flickr to keep people informed on what’s happening leading up to, during and after the event

Did you know…there are only eight TechEd events held throughout the world in 2009? We are incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to host TechEd in New Zealand, and the reason we continue to punch above our weight is because of the incredible support we see year after year from our NZ technical audiences.

Thank you for allowing us to bring TechEd to New Zealand in 2009 – I hope to see you there.

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  • I think one of the most obvious improvements you can make in regards to capacity is to discourage certain large companies from sending 200+ attendees. Not only will that increase your revenue for the event (i doubt they paid even the regular corporate pricing on those tickets), but it also increases the diversity of attendees at the event, which is important for the social/professional networking side of things.

    More 400 level topics would also be good, i don't pay lots of money and take three days out of an already busy schedule just to see 200 level or basic 300 level stuff. Some time slots last year were great, i had 4 or 5 sessions from which i had to choose one, other time slots were utter crap with nothing decent for several consecutive sessions (i know this is personal opinion, but you do have to remember to cater to the experienced pros as well as the clueless n00bs and the hard working intermediates).

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