The Microsoft Professional Developers Conference is a great event for lead developers, architects and technology managers, or really anyone influencing strategy. Read more about why YOU want to be there and get registered today!
Its un-confirmed if I'll be making it to PDC this year, but that minor detail notwithstanding, here is my list of tips for those that do!
- PDC sells out like no other Microsoft event. I'd be very careful about waiting until August to register for the event as its in October. The early bird discount ($200) runs out August 15th.
- When you register, be sure to register for a pre-conference event. Just like PDC these too can sell out. If you wait too long, then your first choice might not be available.
- Taxis are cheaper than renting a car - unless you know the area and REALLY get around after hours. Roughly $60 to get from LAX to Universal Studios.
- The Sheraton and Hilton are walking distance (5 minutes) to the attendee party at Universal Studios. They probably aren't as swanky as some of the other hotels though.
- Don't miss the keynote. You can get a lot out of the keynote on what the hot sessions/technology is from the keynote. We already know that 'Oslo' is going to be hot - the keynote should bear that out and help you focus on what pieces of 'Oslo' you need. Anything touching the cloud will likely be hot, too.
- Go early for breakfast. Take the first bus every morning. Breakfast is a great time to interact with other attendees. Oddly enough, attendees that will be up until 2AM every morning will be at their chattiest over breakfast. If you wait until the evening social events, the same attendees will be soaking in a beer and more likely to talk about their favorite 'futbol'/football team than anything else.
- Take advantage of MS provided session planning tools. Always have a backup session picked out in case your first pick turns out to be a dud. If you wait much more than 15 minutes to make your go/nogo decision, then you might as well stay put unless your alternate is right next door. The convention center is a BIG place.
- Hold off on buying anything from the store until near the end of the week. The prices start dropping fast by Thursday.
- Don't pack heavy. You'll get plenty of crap to bring home. I swear some guys actually don't pack and just wear whatever is passed out at as swag.
- Take a laptop - but don't break it out in session. Now, this might just be me, but I think laptops should actually be outlawed during session and cell phone suppression technology in place. There are a lot of attendees, very little room and very limited power outlets. That means you'll be rubbing elbows with the guy next to you, having a laptop out isn't going to win you any popularity points. That power cord you've got running through the aisle? I'll trip over it every time. I have a hard enough time just circumnavigating all the laptop bags of the attendees (it fits nicely under the seat, BTW). Kudos for thinking you'll be able to keep up with the presenter during demos! They are prepared, and your not....and you'll irritate the crap out of everyone around you with your 'clakity clack clack' typing while trying. That LCD display is distracting, too. Need to check emails? There are banks of them around the facility. Ok...just a pet peeve and I'm done. You'll want your laptop to noodle with all the information you've received, either during breaks, or in the evening.
- Take a pad and pencil. Its quieter than your OneNote note taking.
- Have fun. Its a great experience!