My takeaways from TechEd North America 2013

wendysTime to head home, TechEd North America 2013 is over and done with. Good times, long days and a flu from the North American nightmare that they call “air conditioning”. It was 35 degrees outside with humidity of 95% in the Big Easy and inside the venue the cold wind was blowing to the point that even I had to wear a sweater. And some people wonder what’s up with that so called “global warning”, hmmm… In this post I thought I’d share my 2 cents from the conference.

As a first time visitor to a major conference I didn’t really know what to expect. I did my home work properly and laid out a preliminary plan of sessions and things I planned to do. That proved to be of value as I didn’t have to spend time reading through session catalog as there were plenty to choose from. The venue turned out to be way bigger than I ever expected, so good shoes were a key to success. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center was over a kilometer long so switching between sessions required a step or two. In the following are my notes from this week.

My takeaways from TechEd NA 2013

  • USA in general, nice to be back, it’s been a while.
  • I guess the most important thing for me to attend these kind of event is the chance to take a step back and look at things from a different angle. You tend to get stuck in your ways of doing things. I think this applies to everything you do, you need a break from it every now and then. A lot of problems get solved just by thinking outside the box. TechEd provides a great opportunity for this by also giving you a chance to interact with ones alike.
  • The new releases and hype around them (Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, Windows 8.1, Visual Studio 2013 and SQL Server 2014)
  • The Surface lines, OMG! I think Microsoft didn’t think this one through. The prices were so awesome that the lines were at least 4 hours long on the first days. Instead attending sessions and the conference content that they came for (and their employers paid for), people spent half a day standing in line to get a device probably for themselves. What a waste of attendance fee! I was smart enough to wait until Wednesday afternoon and got mine in less than 30 minutes.
  • Note to self: don’t take an exam at an event like this. You’ll probably waste a day feeling anxious and nervous about it trying to do last-minute studying; focus on the conference instead.

Conference Content

  • Hands-on-labs – great way to explore stuff with a very well built and performing environment. No lines and open ’til late (9pm!).
  • I didn’t have a chance to attend the Instructor-led-labs, next time?
  • I didn’t discover too much from the TechExpo. For some reason the vendors were not so excited to speak to a foreigner? I’m not so good in the american small talk culture either so maybe that’s part of it too.
  • The hyped Certification Center with the study lab and whatnot. Seriously, there were like 6 books available. The practice tests would’ve been probably good, but they were all for the old versions (at least what it came to my 414). 🙁


I attended almost 20 sessions, here’s my top picks.

Overall the conference was a very pleasant experience, the atmosphere was very warm and welcoming. I’ll most certainly do it again if I get a chance. Maybe the TechEd North America 2014 @ Houston, Texas?

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