Microsoft Ignite 2016 (Atlanta) Day 1

First conference day. Woohoo!

  • Two pre-keynote warm up sessions
  • Two keynotes
  • Three first day sessions
  • Three conference areas (um, to be honest, they are more like three suburbs)
  • 11 floors traversed (up and down)
  • 14,700+ steps taken
  • ~10Km walked
  • 1 cheeseburger
  • 1 bier
  • Ignite cherry popped

Day 1 in a nutshell. Having arrived early for the Patch and Switch pre-keynote episode that included bacon doughnuts (yes, that is a thing here. It was not too bad to be honest), the day brought on excitement, announcements and a lot of walking. A LOT!

First impressions last, as they say, and from a first timer's perspective: “everything is bigger in America”. Ignite is simply a hyper conference on technology like the hyper cloud that Microsoft has built. They've taken that knowledge of technology and brainstormed a rather impressive conference.

Key take aways

  • I thought I had comfortable shoes, but, I with the amount of walking I did, I think I should have brought my runners with super soft soles
  • it gets cold, then hot, then cold again. I wore shorts and a t-shirt the first day and immediately regretted it. Day two tip: wear jeans and bring a jacket
  • Microsoft has shifted its focus ever more so away from on-premises to the cloud
  • The cloud, Microsoft Cloud, is being pushed like never before
  • How legacy on-premises technologies will go at next year's conference? Who knows..
  • Skype and the rumoured Skype Teams (slack “killer”) were missing, interesting
  • Microsoft wants developers to use Cortana more
  • Bots and AI are the future of interactive experiences
  • Do we need to interact with apps and services like we do with other humans? That AI conversational approach via bots is here for now
  • There was not too many 400 level sessions on the first day
  • Better to have allocated more time to the showcase on day one to 1) get swag and 2) chat with experts at booths (notice how swag was first..)

Pro-tips

  • I booked sessions based on what I'm interested in
    • A better approach is what are in close proximity
    • Attend what you can in person and then watch the ones you missed on channel9 afterwards (or back home)
  • Getting in and out of the conference is tricky
    • There are shuttle buses to designated hotels
    • Better to get in 30 minutes earlier and leave as soon as the last session is over
    • The rush later when the showcase closes and everyone leaves altogether is carnage

Getting value

I think I've discovered the true value of the Microsoft conference. While most of the sessions are great and insightful, I find myself in some of the 300/400's not getting as much out of it as I was expecting. This could be my expectation though. I came into Ignite thinking the sessions would go over new products and for existing products: the best practices, lessons learned and pro-tips for doing complex and level 400+ architecture.

Sidebar - A great quote I heard yesterday was “it's called architecture when you love what you're doing, and it's called design when you don't”
- @Jeffrey Snover

While I think out of every session so far I've come out with at least one point or note that was interesting and something I didn't think about or know; the best value comes from the Microsoft showcase. There are program managers for every technology under the Microsoft sun. Speaking to them directly and asking them the specific questions that I have gives me the most value. I think that experience is the best part of Ignite.

Looking ahead to day 2 now!


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