[By the way, apologies for those who read my blog who have no interest in TechEd Europe, as 90% of my blogs over the next week will have some relation to the event. I'll mix and match session write-ups with organisational and content announcements, so hopefully there's some useful information even if you're not actually attending.]
We're less than 24 hours from the start of TechEd: the pre-conferences start tomorrow and the speakers are starting to arrive to rehearse and put the last-minute touches to their seminars. If you're here early, but haven't signed up for a pre-conference, you can still sign up on-site for a supplement of €125 exc. VAT. Some of the pre-conference sessions are going to be huge in their own right: the Active Directory security seminar alone has over 500 attendees!
I've been walking around the venue today and the rooms are more-or-less finished, the signage is being put up, and the on-site crew are finishing their briefings. Even though I've been involved in the planning and organisation of the event, the scale of the logistical challenge is still a frequent source of amazement to me. Many of the crew have been onsite for over a week already, setting up the venue and all the technical equipment, and there's a similar period at the end of the conference whilst the venue is decommissioned. The venue itself is huge, as it has to be to accommodate over 6000 attendees; there are lots of hidden staircases and escalators to navigate around, so there's plenty of potential to get lost! But on the plus side it feels rather more self-contained than the US event in San Diego, where there was a walk half a mile long from one end to the other.
As I've mentioned before, the keynote promises to be a real experience. Have you ever heard the sound of 6000 drums beating simultaneously?