if you keep a weather eye on my twitter stream (www.twitter.com/pjbryant) you may have noticed i got a bit annoyed this afternoon at TechEd Berlin.
This was because of the keynote. When Brad turned up in suit and tie, i knew we were
in for a repeat of the 2009 disaster that was (now departed to Nokia) Stephen Elop's keynote. I could go on for ages, but i'll summarise instead:
1) Keynotes at conferences have been paid for by the delegates in some way. They have certainly given up their precious time to attend the conference, and expect value back from Microsoft for so doing. At a cost of €1895 for the conference, each session is about €75. I like to get value for that.
2) Keynotes have (traditionally) been exciting. They have brought a genuine WOW into the day, and kickstarted the conference such that everyone feels energised and ready to go.
3) Keynotes have been timed to the start of the day, so rather than meander into the conference you'd want to turn up, get your freebie (if there was one), and see something you've not seen before (the South African drumming especially comes to mind).
This keynote repeated last years failure – Microsoft clearly have not learned from the maxim that you have to remember the past, else you are condemned to repeat it. It failed on the criteria above as:
1) This was not value for money, i did not come out (and many others did not) feeling it was €75 well spent. In fact i came out thinking i'd wasted an opportunity to better plan my conference.
2) There was no excitement, nothing new, no electrifying demo
3) The keynote fizzed out. At the end of the day people left to go and do something better. This keynote was clearly timed to be able to broadcast to the widest possible community (most of whom HAVE NOT PAID for it) including the US. Brad was talking to the suits outside the room not the golfs and t's in the room.
Finally, i was pretty active on twitter during the keynote. It was interesting to note the large number of tweets coming from Redmond (and other locations) staffers who were clearly deluded enough (or encouraged enough) to cheerlead from the sidelines.
Microsoft, get your house in order. Make the next TechEd Keynote 100% relevant to the people in the room, and let others watch because they are interested, not because they are the true audience. Make sure delegates go away:
1) fizzing with excitement for the rest of the week
2) glad to have been there
3) inspired to do something when they get home
And that the online viewers really wished they had been there.
Repeat the same mistake next time, and i'll know for sure you don't care about me as a delegate, and that may mean I (and others) may give up coming. I can watch a lousy keynote from home; and have nicer coffee.