Visual Studio Live 360 December 2015
I really must apologize for waiting so long to post about this conference. It just kept slipping my mind. My team and I attended one in Orlando last year (2015). If you have never been to a large developer conference you are really missing out on some goodness.
This conference was my first real one I have attended. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would love to attend it again. This year though, I am shooting for Microsoft Ignite.
The sessions at this conference were numerous. There was something for everyone. To say that you will learn a lot is a bit of an understatement. I think the hardest part is retaining all that you learned, and implementing it back in the office.
To me the only real drawback to these events is that you learn some of the newest stuff that you cannot use. It feels that working in an enterprise environment things can be slow due to red tape, budgets, justifications etc. Sometimes things can move quickly if the right people are in the right places. Either way you have to try to retain what you learned and come up with a good reason to use it other than it is bright and shiny. Of course if you are given the freedom to work on a project in any way you like you can use some of the new things you have learned.
I enjoyed just about all of the Sessions I attended. Of course some I enjoyed more than others, and some I think I made the wrong choice. The workshops before and after the event were really good too. I feel they were definitely worth the investment.
You will get a chance to meet the speakers, most of them you have already seen in various videos already. For me it was a chance to meet ones that have really helped me over the years even if they didn’t know it. Reading their articles or watching their videos on Pluralsight or otherwise just is not the same as an in person event.
One cool thing they did was a luncheon where each speaker had their own table. You got to sit down with one, have lunch, and just talk. Ideally the subject would be about the topic they picked for their table, but I don’t think they mind if you deviate a little.
This is not an extensive list, but months later the sessions or workshops given by these speakers have managed to stick with me;
I must admit, I did have the urge to go all fan boy and get my picture taken with them. Of course I thought they might find that kind of creepy, so I resisted. Next time I may ask them how they feel about it.
Each day there are multiple sessions. Some might be over crowded so you need to have some other choices. Before the event I made a rough list of each day’s sessions I had some interest in attending. The night before I would go through the list again and narrow it down to my top two or three choices. It helped me to stay organized and know where I was going and when I was going. Plus it helped to see if other team members were interested in it as well and we could sit together.
There will be a lot of information coming at you, and you need to capture it. I saw people using their phones, tablets, laptops, and even cameras. When I say cameras I do not mean the ones built into the other devices listed. Of course there were those taking good old fashioned notes, and a few who I guess had a photographic memory.
You need to find something that works for you. You need to be quick as there is not much time for editing.
Personally I used a combination of my phone and my laptop syncing together via OneNote. I was able to capture images to my notes and of course type some text. Next time I believe I will bring my Surface instead of a laptop.
One thing you need to keep in mind for these kind of things is the fact that power is finite. Bring your chargers and power supplies. Bring a power strip so you can share the power if an outlet does not already have one.
One thing I have but did not bring, a mobile charger. At a local event I won a device that will charge a phone on the go. This thing is most definitely going with me next time!
The most important thing you can do is have fun! This conference provided ample events to entertain after the sessions ended. It never hurts to get out with the team, get to know them in a fun environment and try not to talk shop.
The vendors/sponsors are great too. You should at least stop by and see what they have to offer. I did it because hey, they are helping to make this happen. Plus some of them gave away some great swag and other items!