I've been in Redmond since Monday this week at an event focused around "competitive influentials."  This event is the creative brainchild of one of my Developer Evangelist (DE) peers in the Central Region, Steve Loethen, and Heidi Dill, our developer marketing manager based in Redmond.  DE's from districts all over the US have invited the influencers and come to attend the event with them.

We're privileged to have all these people in one place with us.  I'm learning a lot about what the "other side" thinks about our products, practices, technologies, and other efforts.  There are some great ideas that I hope we as a company deeply consider.  There are also some that are way out there :).  Hey, they're still great because they're ideas we might not have even considered!

Some great Microsoft people are interacting here.  It's not pure presentation, there's a huge amount of give and take.  Sanjay Parthasarathy, Michael Howard, Don Box, Anders Hejlsberg, Ron Jacobs, Iain McDonald, Scott Guthrie, ... the list goes on and on.  I had the opportunity to indroduce Don Box, who was, well, typical Don Box in his style.  I thought it was one of the most fun group conversations I've seen in a while.

Some of the things that were eye-openers to the attendees were ASP.NET 2.0 and VS 2005, especially with the editing and multiple browser support; Enterprise Library and tools, MONAD, heck, there were a few.  It's pretty interesting to see the attendees blogging, and the wide array of responses they're getting as comments, too.

Now we're off to the bus back to the hotel...