I’m off to Microsoft’s Professional Development Conference (PDC) this week in Los Angeles. If you haven’t been to PDC, picture this: take the US BorCon, multiply by 4 (or is it 10? hard to count when they won’t sit still), and remove all non-company speakers.
PDC’s greatest difference from BorCon is that PDC is exclusively a Microsoft show – third party speakers are extremely rare at PDC. BorCon events typically have far more sessions presented by Borland community experts than by Borlanders. You should see the shock and disbelief on MS faces when they first hear of this. “You have non-employee speakers? Egads! Who allowed that to happen?“ That would probably be the largely non-employee BorCon Advisory Board. “Non-employees participate in the administration of your company event?!?“ Ya, it was sort of borne out of necessity (we don’t have the staff to do everything) but it has the great side benefit of making BorCon an inclusive community event. People get this warm fuzzy feeling of inclusion when they’re invited to donate weeks of nights and weekends to help run BorCon.
PDC compares well with E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo): similar scale of bodies packed into the hallways, similar geek factor (E3 – geek consumers / PDC – geek programmers), similar lodging shortages throughout Los Angeles, and same venue – the LA Convention Center. Just take the E3 expo floor and replace all the Nintendo and Sony Playstation booths (booths? There are cities smaller than these “booths“) with .NET and SQL stuff and you’ve got the PDC expo floor. Scatter in a few references to TerraServer to add a toupee of respectability to Microsoft’s efforts to claim the server high ground.
In recent years, PDCs have proven to be rather pivotal events in the industry. It was the 2001 PDC that provided enough ammunition to convince Borland to develop tools for the .NET platform. Longhorn (real name: Windows Vista) and Avalon (real name: some boring acronym) will undoubtedly take much of the limelight this year. What nuggets will I find between the highly scripted Powerpoint sessions?