Mr. patterns & practices goes to Washington (sorta)

I spent last week in Reston, VA (just outside of Washington DC) at the patterns & practices Summit. This was the third and final one of the calendar year and the first that was a certified sell-out. It's definitely been a gratifying experience to see this go from an idea that Keith Pleas and I came up with last year to something that has really resonated with customers. It's a testament to the fact that (a) people are really using this stuff and (b) we've got some killer talent helping us out. Keith Pleas, Chris Kinsman, Rocky Lhotka, Billy Hollis, Fernando Guerrero, and Ted Neward are all great speakers and great guys to hang out with as well. From the p&p team, we had myself, Tom Hollander, Ron Jacobs, and Jim Newkirk. Not a bad lineup in and out of Microsoft, if I say so myself. :-> We officially announced the next one for March in Anaheim (keep an eye on pnpsummit.com for more details as they develop), so bring your kids (or the "kid in you") as we'll be hanging with the Disney gang. No word on whether Goofy will be doing the keynote...

My favortite part of these events is the interaction with customers. You gain a connection with them that you don't quite get at a TechEd or PDC (which often feel more like schmoozfests and all about the wow factor). Here, it's the tech equivalent of MTV Unplugged . More up close and personal, if you will. We had no green rooms or speaker lounges, so we were out in the open and available to answer a lot of questions. That provided lots of opportunities to have random individual conversations with people and get their take on what's going on with them and how we can help. I gave the keynote on the third day (which included a roadmap of our future deliverables and a glimpse into some of the community activities we are doing or proposing in the next year) and let the talk evolve into a Q&A, which was a nice dose of reality. The joke from a panel I was on a couple of nights earlier was that the goal was to "make Sandy cry" with brutal feedback. Fortunately, no one was that vicious but I did get some really good feedback. For example, I got some people asking us to stay consistent in our representations. We have been guilty of having graphics across our deliverables that are different despite showing the same thing. Others wanted us to provide more guidance on WHY we do what we do in our code deliverables. The design decisions are valuable for those who (a) want to write their own or (b) want to understand how to best modify. There were several other good suggestions, some of which I remember and some of which I unfortunately I don't. So for those of you who were there are heard something I don't mention below (or who have ideas of your own), please post feedback and add your ideas. Remember--we're always looking for feedback. I can't promise we will deliver on every request, but I can promise we are listening. As for the community ideas I shared, that's where I will REALLY want some feedback. I will be shedding more light on those in the upcoming weeks in this blog, so stay tuned...

{Soundtrack - Garden State }