April 30th Regina.NET and Regina IT Pro held the hereos community launch event.
As far as I know, this was going to be the largest locally run (local speakers, facilities and sponsorship) IT community event.
We booked 3 - 100 person classrooms and we had 3 speakers providing sessions that run concurrently, then repeated.
The schedule looked like this
||Windows Server 2008; Room X
||SQL Server 2008; Room Y
||Visual Studio 2008; Room Z
||New Datatypes, Resource Governer
||New Datatypes, Resource Governer
We had 80 people sign up online and at least that many actually attend!
We worked on this event for weeks, when it came to game time, this event was a lot of fun.
At 8:30 we all got together in a larger classroom and we gave away Xbox toys, retail copies of Vista and 3 technet plus subscriptions.
Will Craddock who hosted Regina's community connection event came through with a lot of these prizes; he had a lot of left over launch kits so we gave these away at the end of the event.
I provided the Visual Studio 2008 sessions; I had a lot of fun sharing what I learnt. The number 1 problem I had was that I demonstrated a product that I had very little experience with.
I had been playing with LINQ and AJAX for a couple weeks so I felt confident in my abilities, where I stumbled at times was implementing the correct syntax. I recovered by referring to my cheat sheet and explaining the 'gotcha' I hit and explaining what that feature did.
The evaluation forms where also favorable; comments included too much material, not enough time.
Running concurrent sessions then duplicating was an interesting idea; after reviewing the material feedback was 50% positive.
My first session had approximately 40 people attend; my second session had 20 people so I saw a sharp drop off. I suspect people who wanted to attend my session came first, the second session included people that had a secondary interest in VS 2008.
I will definitely be interested in hosting an event like this again; we had Developers, DBA's and SysAdmins attend 1 event. A number of people showed up early and there was a lot of networking going on. A comment I received was 'Man, I haven't seen Dave in months, he is always at his client site. It was good to chat'.
Some comments included 'start on time!'; we didn't allocate anytime for a break. When attendees changed sessions some people ended up hanging out in the hallway, Q & A was extended, etc; Note taken, allocate at least 15 minutes between sessions or else bring a cattle prong.
Below is a picture taken during setup; we had great facilities at the University of Regina, built-in projector, screens, instructor stations.
The U of R has been going through some major renovations due to growth, so parking was definitely an issue.
As a result, feedback from attendees is that this location is inconvenient (50% or so) and I agree. The facilities were donated by the U of R, I cannot do better than that so I will have to work to make this convenient. Maybe reimburse parking fees or use the education building which is closer to parking.
As a personal post-op; this event was a lot of fun!
1 hour sessions where great for me as a first time public speaker.
If there is anyone out there that wants to share your knowledge in a field, 'Just do It'. Contact your local user group and I am sure they would love to assist you in anyway.
Going forward, I am thinking about providing a deep dive in the fall; attendees loved the material presented in my sessions. My focus was to hit a number of areas where attendees can easily take advantage of VS 2008 today. Hopefully in the fall more developers will be using VS 2008 so the deep dive will be relative for them.