Hi, My Name is Kirk... How May I Help You?

I am going to be as blunt as possible... what do you want me to do for you?

I am an Evangelist.  My job is to bring you the good news about Microsoft's technologies and show you what's possible.  How do you want me to do that? 

When I was a consultant about 6 years ago, I primarily read books and magazines to keep current on technologies.  Occasionally I would hear about a Microsoft seminar or event that I would try to attend.  I found those useful, but often a bit "sales-y".  I really wanted to go to training classes, but those were cost prohibitive (especially on the heels of the Dot Bomb and the wake of 9/11).  Most of what I learned, I learned from self study.

Fast forward to today, and I still use books as a major component of my continuing education, but my primary source of technical information is blogs.  I do a lot of searching on topics through Live.com (I have been Google free for almost a year now), and 90% of the hits that I end up clicking on are blogs.  If you are reading this, my hunch is that your habits are roughly the same.  Judging from my referrer logs, my blog gets a ton of hits from internet searches, indicating that most of my readers don't subscribe... they find my blog while looking for the answer to a problem they are facing.

Just because I spend a lot of time trying to write the right things for my blog doesn't mean that's the way you really want to learn.  You might prefer something in person, you might prefer going offline and reading on your own, or you might prefer doing something on your own with someone in the room that can help you.  What do you want me to do for you? 

How would you like to hear about stuff like Visual Studio 2008, WCF, and Silverlight?  Do you prefer cutting out of work one day, going to the local Microsoft office, and watching presentations on this stuff?  Do you prefer attending user groups at night after work, do you prefer Code Camps on Saturdays?  Would you prefer sitting down in an instructor-led lab and working through some examples with someone there to guide you through rough spots?  Do you prefer podcasts, do you prefer screencasts? 

What if there were a 2-day event like a Code Camp done in the middle of the week?  Would you attend that if there was no cost for registration?  What if there were a 2-day event like a Code Camp that focused solely on architectural concepts?  Is that something that would be interesting?

The thing is, my job (and this goes for the rest of the Evangelists at Microsoft as well) revolves around you.  We are here to help you.  We do a lot of the stuff that I mentioned above (user groups, Code Camps, blogs, etc), but honestly... I think we do a lot more talking than listening. 

How can I help you?

I am asking for comments.  I am asking for links.  I am pretty serious about this... I want to know what you think.