After breakfast at the LA Convention Center (LACC), I attended the keynote session, presented by Bill Veghte, Vice President of Windows Business. The venue had five high-definition screens for our viewing pleasure.
Bill's topics included the pain points of the economy, doing more with less, and the need to connect to business data from anywhere.
Microsoft has made significant investments in training (over 1 million trainings over the web last year and over 1 million Springboard trainings per month) and will continue its R&D investments over the coming years. Dynamic IT will enable IT pros and developers across the IT lifecycle, and Bill predicts that Software as a Service (SaaS) will be huge.
Anywhere access is one of the key themes in Win7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. This is something I predicted over two years ago. A lot of investments have been made in these technologies.
Several announcements were made at the keynote, but none with much excitement, other than Windows 7 will ship "by holiday," aka Christmas 2009. This is expected to include Windows Server 2008 R2.
Demos were performed by Mark Russinovich (Windows 7) and Iain McDonald (Windows Server 2008 R2), which were very engaging and demonstrated the advances of both operating systems.
This is all wonderful and what we expect Microsoft to feed us during the keynote. It sets the tone for the week and lets us know what the emphasis is and where to direct our attention for the next 12-18 months. But what was more interesting to me is what happened behind the scenes.
Tracy McElroy is an IT professional from Louisiana who had the opportunity to meet Bill Veghte on a stairwell at the LACC and told Bill thanks for the information in the keynote. Bill asked Tracy what Microsoft was doing right and what they were doing wrong. He was genuinely interested in what Tracy had to say and had a frank discussion with him for over 20 minutes. Bill even took out a notepad to take notes. It was clear to Tracy that his input was valued and was impressed that a executive at Bill's level would take the time and effort to listen to him.
This is the value proposition that TechEd brings to each and every attendee. You may get the opportunity to spend 20 minutes voicing your opinions with a vice president, but each and every one of the talented program managers and product team members are here at TechEd, waiting to hear your opinions and pain points. Together, we can make business easier and more productive for everyone.
On the entertainment front, the Krewe met up at the vendor exposition where mass quantities of swag was collected and a few beers were consumed. After that, we all headed over to the epic Springboard Party at the Standard Hotel's rooftop pool and bar. Suffice to say, we all had an outstanding time and didn't get back to our hotels until the wee hours of the morning.