Keynote: TechEd Europe 2009 Keynote

An MS executive I’ve never heard of (Stephen Elop) is speaking.  2 things are keeping me from attending.

  1. Last year’s keynote was dreadful.
  2. I walked down that way and it reminded me of a cattle crush at a slaughterhouse.  5000+ people (there are 7500 in the venue this week) were trying to squeeze through 1 door.

I’ve managed to get access to one of the way too rare power sockets so I’m doing some work.


*This is posted after the event ended*

Screw it – I came down 10 minutes after the session started.  I expected to not find a seat.  Boy, was I wrong.  People were leaving the room in their droves.  There was a conversation going on between a bunch of executives on the stage that was BORING!  It was out of touch with the technical audience and felt very scripted and rehearsed.  I walked in and got a seat within 10 seconds.  My biggest problem was stepping by the crowds leaving.

As I type this I can’t hear the stage over the sound of people leaving.  I am not exaggerating.  This session is worse than the Visual Studio one at TechEd in 2005.  Whoever planned this one really didn’t think of the non-executives.

I wonder why there’s no wifi here.  I can’t tweet anything from the venue.  Plenty of peer-to-peer wifi honeypots in this room though 🙂  It’s always the same at TechEd.

Stephen Elop starts talking about Windows 7.  I don’t know how bad he thinks MS subsidiaries have been but he’s telling us stuff we’ve known for a year at this point.  I guess I’m not alone because people are still leaving by huge amounts.  Last time I saw this sort of departure was at a DSI talk by an MS executive in the USA who couldn’t speak English.  This talk is going down like a dead balloon.  It’s high level marketing speak for the wrong audience.  I wonder if people can see this exodus on the live feed?

I also suspect that having the keynote late in the day on the 20th anniversary of the “fall of the wall” was a very bad idea.  Sure, it gets the USA online audience but at the cost of the local audience.  Every session I’ve gone to so far has been full or near full with high attendee retention.  This keynote has played a bum note for a lot of people.

Exchange 2010 Launch

Now we get the Exchange 2010 demo.  They’ve done a demo of a live mailbox migration in front of “7000” (minus the 1000 that has left so far) people.  Conversation threads, mobile, OWA all demonstrated.  UC presence awareness is shown in OWA.  Transport protection rules are shown.  Elop is using Firefox for his OWA part of the demo.  The local audience applauds with laughter. 

You know what?  I think Patrick in MS Ireland got a lot more done on Exchange 2010 and Outlook 2010 in his half hour during the community launch tour than these folks did.

I’m not on the right drugs.  There’s a video of a dude playing with a man in a Fox suit.  What the hell is that supposed to be?


Exchange 2010 is not the only launch today.  ForeFront is being launched as well – that’s logical.  And that’s all he has to say on that!  I feel for any of the product teams who are here.  They will have worked hard for 2-3 years to get a one liner for their launch.

Windows Server

The launch was done on October 22nd.  72% of global servers run Windows Server of some sort.  Hyper-V and Live Migration get a plug, along with System Center.  Out they roll Continental Airlines once again.

People still leaving.  I think they should have had 3 launch events: IT Pro, Executive and Developer.  The 3 audiences have different needs.

Robert Wahbe (corporate VP on Server) now talks.  To be honest, most of us will probably have heard most of this already.

Some claims about time savings and power savings are made.  Naturally, these are all company dependent.  For example.  If a physical machine consumes 30% of a Quad Xeon on a dedicated physical machine then it will consume slightly more than 15% of CPU on a dual quad core Hyper-V host.  There are no magic savings beyond what your company needs.

Jeff Wettlaufer is up now after the marketing speak. 

I’ve had enough.  I’m outta here.  I met up with Alex Yushchenko outside.  It was agreed; the keynote was dreadful.  The flow of people leaving just kept growing and growing.  I know Robert Wahbe did a double take at one point when he saw the queue of people trying to get out the single doorway.

The keynote was inappropriate for this audience.  They’re techies who don’t respond to marketing presentations.  50% of them were devs who got nothing from the session.  In fact, the European devs miss out because all the Azure stuff (and probably VS 2010) happens at PDC next week in the USA.  The IT Pro’s were bored.  Executives don’t come to TechEd.  Timing wise, TechEd Europe is late in the year.  All the big stuff is done by now, e.g. Win7 and Server 2008 R2 announcements were in 2008 in Barcelona and TechEd USA in the Spring.  MS needs to think again before repeating this mistake.

I still look forward to the technical sessions during the rest of the week.  It’s just a pity the keynote couldn’t have been a better use of the 2-3 hours.

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