mix 07 day 1
So day 1 of MIX 07 is behind us. I'd speculated yesterday that MIX will have been the most impactful conference I will have attended during my time here at Microsoft. We made quite a few announcements yesterday, and Silverlight clearly stole the day.
One common theme between all the keynote presenters : the didn't use any slides. That must be hard - talking for a chunk of time without any slides to distract people.
Ray Ozzie made his first official public-facing keynote to a technical audience as a 'softie at a 'softie technical conference. He was articulate and precise. He appeared well-rehearsed. There were rumors that Ozzie was getting help with his public speaking and he'd openly claimed that he is a nervous public speaker (I can't remember where I'd read that). Frankly, I think he was just lowering everyone's expectations, because he did a great job yesterday. He set context really well by saying, "listen, I've been here, doing this... I know what I'm talking about", but he said that in an extremely polite-but-firm way.
Ray spoke about the "programmable web", and how he thinks the pendulum has swung from a pure platform/software world to a pure services world to somewhere in the middle, which is a nice "software+services" middle-ground.
I like Ray Ozzie. It just occurred to me the kind of experience Ray is bringing to MS and the difference he can make. Sign of great times ahead for us.
Scott Guthrie was just his fantastic self. Scott's no Steve Ballmer - he is not a public speaker by trade, but when a man with that much technical depth starts talking, he automatically gets everyone's attention. I liked how he just dove in and started doing Silverlight demos. Only Guthrie could pull that off because of his intimate technical knowledge with the .NET. Guthrie spoke about how .NET was popular on the server, it's popular on the desktop, and we're taking it to the browser with Silverlight.
Guthrie introduced folks from Netflix who showed us some demos of a video-on-demand prototype they've been working on with Silverlight and MLB.COM. There were some guys from CBS who'd worked on a prototype as well, but the speaker botched his demo. You can watch the video here, but the talk looked badly unrehearsed and unprofessional.
Silverlight demos : The first of the Silverlight breakouts I wanted to attend was amazingly packed. It was a combination of bad planning for capacity on our part combined with the amount of interest that'd been raised. The session was so crowded, that people were turned away.
The best, most comprehensive yet concise, unbiased writeup of what we showed yesterday that was Silverlight related during the keynote was done by Nik Cubrilovic over at TechCrunch : "The Web just got richer"
Q&A with Michael Arrington : The most disappointing portion of the keynote. I suppose its true that online personalities are just not impressive in person or on stage. Journalists should write, not speak. If I were Arrington, and I had the chance to sit down with Ray Ozzie and Scott Guthrie and ask them questions, trust me, I would've done things a whole lot differently. I was starting to zone out during the session, but at one point in time, Ozzie responded to a question by saying "I'm not Bill Gates, I'm not trying to be him". He wasn't screaming when he said that, just in case you were wondering. But that was an extremely powerful statement.
So, that's that. I'm sitting in on another Silverlight breakout session right now. More to come later...