Evangelism and choice - an alternative view on the PDC and developer conferences
I just read Roy's latest blog entry(http://weblogs.asp.net/rosherove/posts/10164.aspx) and I thought about writing a comment on his blog but decided it might be better to write something in my own weblog.
Firstly all developers are not the same, some learn by doing, some by reading books and some go on training courses. Often what you don't get from the books and training courses is the context. Just seeing a set of powerpoint slides is usually not enough to understand a difficult topic.
Also we all tend to specialise and conferences are often the only way in which you can learn about lots of different subjects.
Let us take the developers view:
We want to know what is coming tomororw so that we learn the right skills today. Any advantage we get by being first can matter a lot especially in today's job market. Also you can quickly see when somthing is not going to fly and that became apparent very quickly with Hailstorm.
Let use take company view:
Why arrange the PDC in the first place ? Well it is first time when you see if you are going in the right direction and it is much to fail in front of your "friends" than to launch and fall flat on your face. It will cost Microsoft more to arrange and hold this event then they willl probably make from it so I don't think they do it for profit.
Also they hope that the attendees will go back and evangelise the technology.
In end it is simple economic judgement what is the benefit of going and what is the cost of not going. In the end all the information will end up being published but starting to learn .Net at the PDC 2000 really helped me in my job. I don't tend to go to Teched as historically they have been less a development event than an IT infrastructure and Office developer conference. Not enough level 400 content at the Teched.
In the end Roy seems to more frustrated that he cannot go and that Microsoft market dominance means that you might be left behind if he does not pay and go. But like the tortoise and hare we have a choice and which speed we learn new technology.
If I go to the PDC I certainly will be blogging from there so you can all get an experience of what is going on at the PDC: