An interesting official announcement for Microsoft TechEd. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m off to TechEd North America next week as press, and looking forward to an amazing event. In contrast, TechEd Australia has just been announced as being broken up from a single event into multiple cities here.
From the page:
For 20 years, TechEd has been hosted as one event at a single location.
This year that format will be changing. Microsoft is excited to announce, that in 2014 TechEd will be held in multiple cities, in order to increase the accessibility to Australia’s premium learning conference for technical professionals. This new approach will provide the opportunity for more people to benefit from the TechEd experience throughout the year.
TechEd 2014. Coming to a town near you.
Kicking off in Melbourne before being repeated in Sydney, these events will retain the quality of the TechEd brand by focussing on two days of deep technical training, access to experts and hands-on technology.
On twitter there are already some negative comments around this:
— Adam Bell (@leadfollowmove) May 7, 2014
— Jerome Brown (@oWretch) May 7, 2014
People are pretty upset. The clash with Europe is interesting – you’d have to think that some amazing speakers can’t attend both because of the conflict, but at the same time there should be enough great speakers for one of the biggest software companies in the world.
The event is also cut down to two days – previously it was 3 to 4 days. So will less time, there must be less content?
The other reason I think people are upset, is that it’s often their only big reward in the year. Going off to a nice location, catching up with all your fellow minded IT people and being swept up in the conference itself. That will change by splitting it into two events.
Brisbane/Gold Coast people may not be able to go because they’re used to being able to travel locally. Sydney and Melbourne people will most likely go to their local conference instead, which takes them less away from their work. Friends and contacts people have made and see each year may go to difference conferences.
There are some upsides though. Smaller companies that only have a few staff and can’t afford to send them all at the same time can now send them separately to each event, without people missing out. I think this is what they mean by the accessibility reasons, with most attendees coming from Melbourne and Sydney anyway.
Tickets should be cheaper too, less time should equal less money.
The other interesting side is how sponsors will take this. Will they spend less because they have to spread it over two events, with fewer attendees at each event?
Although there’s negativity now (which I completely understand), it will really depend on how the events go. Then it will be up to Microsoft to weigh each option, but as it is now they’re planning for more cities in 2015. Maybe it’s about getting more exposure, and getting more people onto the Microsoft Cloud?
Otherwise if you don’t like it, you could always go to TechEd New Zealand (TechEd North America is sold out!) :)