For Joe Schmo working at some big bank whose IT group gets saddled with a nice training budget the question of PDC attendance takes on a more colloquail form of begging the boss to send you away for a week. For a group of developers in a software shop like SourceGear, PDC takes on a unique position in that their success is tied closely to that of MSFT and their customers are the type of people who will be at PDC.
For independent consultants and micro ISV types it is a bit different. I would love to go but must consider other factors than just another guy at an ISV or corporation, things Joe Schmo probably doesn't even care about. i.e., is it worth the money and what will my customers think?
From a monetary perspective it is a bit more than meets the eye, first there is the registration which comes just short of 2K, I know there are early bird deals but I cannot be sure at this point that I will even own my time this September so I must wait closer to the date. I am going to spend most of my time at the conf so a cheap hotel will be fine and I will take the shuttle from the airport because driving to LA is not really an option from Louisville KY. I know at these things that some meals are covered so lets say I need one meal a day from a fast food restaurant. I will fly out the day before (time zone considerations) and fly back the day PDC ends. This puts me in the hotel for 4 nights. Lets see where we stand…
- Registration: $1,995
- Flight: $350
- Meals: $50
- Hotel: $650
At this point we have looked at hard costs of doing PDC “on the cheap” and we are talking about 3 grand.
Consider soft costs and lets say I am a lackey consultant who only bills 40 hours a week, I don’t work weekends and only bill a modest $50 an hour. That puts the week at around 2K, money I will not be able to bill whereas I could if I stayed home. This does not consider lost business opportunities either, what would I miss that week and how much would that be worth. That kind of intangible is hard to monetize but setting that aside the hard and soft costs are north of 5K.
Is PDC really worth 5,000 bucks…?
Let me look at this some other ways:
PDC versus XBOX 360 and new 42” High Def Plasma TV.
PDC versus 10 day cruse to the Panama Canal for me and my wife
PDC versus Incredibly fast new development machine with dual 24” LCD monitors
Topping all of this off is the fact that almost everyone who will be at PDC will be blogging all the good stuff and Microsoft will surely offer another DVD with the content, everything said and done will be written into articles within weeks and I will be able to download any new Longhorn or VS builds from MSDN Subscriber downloads.
So I ask again, is it really worth it?