Good news: the official registration site for the 2011 Exchange Maestro events is now open for business.
We have three upcoming events: San Diego on 3-5 May, London on 13-15 June, and Greenwich, CT on 26-28 October. (Tony answers the question "why Greenwich?", as well as some other notes, here.)
As someone who’s been presenting deeply technical multi-day events for a number of years, the second time is always the hardest. Fred Brooks called this the second-system effect: the first time you design something complex, you learn a great deal, and the things you learn often emerge the second time around… not always with positive results.
In this case, Tony, Brian, and I have a lot of solid feedback from our attendees, so we know what the Boston and Anaheim attendees would like to see changed in future events. We also have some ideas about where the larger Exchange community and marketplace are going; this helps us update the content so that it remains timely and relevant. We will have no problem updating and improving the content; I hope in particular to add some unified messaging-related labs to give attendees more hands-on time.
Speaking of hands-on, one of the most consistent pieces of feedback we got was there weren’t enough hours in the day to do the labs and cover the lecture material. This is by design; we want attendees to work on the labs on their own during breaks and at night, coming to us with questions when they arise, then take the labs back to their workplace where they can dig into them without having to divide their attention between the material we’re presenting and the labs. The whole point of these workshops is that they are richly technical, so it’s important that attendees be able to focus 100% on the new material.
A couple of eagle-eyed readers (hello, Mr. McBee) noted that the London Maestro event is co-located, and overlaps the schedule of, the new Connections Powered by Microsoft event. It was significantly less expensive for us to combine the logistics for the two shows; shipping, customs, food and beverage services, and so on, but I want to make clear that there’s no overlap of content between the two events.
Think of the Connections series like a visit to your local food court. You can shop around and have a little of this plus a little of that… a couple of sessions on Exchange, maybe a little Lync on the side, a smidgen of Windows, and SharePoint for dessert. Maestro is, by contrast, like a six-course dinner at a fine restaurant: a richer, deeper, more complex experience that, admittedly, takes more time and money. The two complement each other nicely, but both stand alone.
To abandon the restaurant analogy, the content that we’ll be presenting at Maestro is both broader and technically deeper than the sessions available at Connections. That’s because Tony and I are able to use our knowledge of Exchange and the broader industry to pick out the most useful, most interesting, and least-known aspects of Exchange 2010 design, deployment, and operations and present them to you on a platter, so to speak. (All right; I didn’t entirely abandon the analogy…)
Registration is open now for the San Diego and Greenwich events, and we expect it to open shortly for London as well. Stay tuned for future details, including a few neat new steps we’re taking to help those interested in the Maestro classes get the most out of their attendance…