Not Everything that Happens in Vegas Has to Stay in Vegas
By Paul Litwin
We ve all heard it before: Why do I need to go to a conference if I can get all my knowledge on the Web for free? The logic could easily be extended to training classes, books, and magazines. The fact that you are reading this editorial tells me that at least you probably believe in development magazines. And a subscription to this magazine is far less than the cost to attend a conference such as Microsoft ASP.NET Connections. But a conference offers certain things that Web articles, forums, magazines, and books can t: face-to-face interaction with Microsoft program managers, independent gurus, and other developers like yourself.
Before you read any further, please understand that I come to this editorial with a definite bias. I believe very deeply in conferences in general, and the DevConnections family of conferences, in particular (I ve been helping run them and speak at them since their inception in 1998). I helped create the first Microsoft ASP.NET Connections when it was called ASP Connections and have been one of its biggest fans ever since.
Can you get by without attending a conference such as Microsoft ASP.NET Connections? Absolutely. I m sure many of you already do, and will continue to do so. But attending a conference is a great way to break away from the office, take a moment to catch your breath, and then take your ASP.NET (and related development) know-how to the next level! And if your work life is anything like mine, I know you d benefit from the change of pace alone if not the incredible learning and networking experience.
Is it a lot of money? Yes. And I should know I ran my own consulting and training companies for years. Spending $2,000 or more to attend a conference was something I had to consider very carefully before I could justify it. Today I work for a non-profit, where there is little extra money budgeted for conference attendance, so I know how hard it is to justify the cost to attend a show. However, it has almost always been well worth the money. Think about it for a moment; how much is your time worth? How much do you have to improve your ASP.NET development efficiency or perhaps your ability to debug stored procedures, or finally get reporting services, or learn the ins and outs of creating a top-notch mobile app for you to say I got my money s worth ? More than likely, you and your organization will easily gain back the money in increased productivity and efficiency.
So why attend a DevConnections conference rather than another developer event? I truly believe that DevConnections represents the best value in conferences targeted at the Microsoft developer. DevConnections delivers the top speakers (like asp.netPRO regulars Dino Esposito, Dan Wahlin, Michele Leroux Bustamante, Don Kiely, and a host of Microsoft program managers and other great speakers too numerous to mention here). Furthermore, DevConnections co-locates a number of related events in the same hotel at the same time. At the upcoming November 6-9 set of shows in Las Vegas, DevConnections has co-located seven other events: Visual Studio .NET Connections, SQL Server Magazine Connections, SharePoint Connections, Mobile Connections, Office Connections, Windows Connections, and Microsoft Exchange Connections. And here s the kicker you don t have to pay any extra to attend any of the concurrent sessions. You can choose from more than 270 different sessions covering the whole gamut of Microsoft development (and administration) topics. I could throw a bunch of other reasons at you, but I ll leave you with just one more: the conferences are being held at the fabulous Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Need I say more? Visit http://www.devconnections.com for more details.
Paul Litwin is the conference chair for Microsoft ASP.NET Connections, a Programming Manager at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and a principal at Deep Training. Paul was also the founding editor of asp.netPRO. In his spare time, Paul is training to compete in several triathlons this summer. His hope is to survive the races without drowning.