Maybe saying Brad “talks TechEd future” is a bit of an exaggeration. it was just a single sentence. But I think it was an important sentence because it came directly from him.
There’s been a lot of speculation over the last several months about the future of TechEd. See “Are the Days of the Microsoft IT Pro Numbered” (Redmond Magazine) and “What’s on Microsoft’s conference calendar for 2014?” (ZDNet) for two examples of this topic. I don’t have the inside contacts that others have, so I can’t speak to what they’ve been told by insiders. I just know that I’ve always found it hard to believe that Microsoft would end such a major event like TechEd that, by all indications, seems to be quite successful and popular. It seems even more unlikely to me when you consider that Microsoft is consolidating the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) conference with TechEd. So when I see these rumors, I generally roll my eyes and carry on with my business.
Full disclosure: I’m a big supporter of TechEd. This year will be my 12th consecutive year as an attendee. I’ve built a great network of friends and professional contacts over the years, and every year I come away with new ideas and understanding that I can apply back at the office. Heck I even have a website that does nothing except countdown the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until TechEd. (If you’re wondering, that site is TechEdCountdown.com, and there’s a Twitter account too!) So I admit I’m a bit biased and predisposed to having difficulty imagining a world without TechEd. If I had to picture such a thing, the world of The Walking Dead comes to mind. I just wanted to make it clear I’m speaking as me, the IT Pro, and not as a neutral observer.
When I was in Houston for the TechEd Roundtable in December, the question of TechEd’s future came up during the discussion. I wasn’t taking notes at the time, so I can’t say exactly what was said or who it was who said it, but my recollection of the answer was a strong show of support for TechEd, and its place in the universe of Microsoft technical conferences. Other people who were there may remember it differently, but I’m sticking with my version.
Adding to that, today was Brad Anderson’s Reddit AMA. Brad is the Corporate Vice President, Windows Server & System Center, and our keynote speaker for TechEd again this year. I expected that someone would ask about the future of TechEd during the AMA, and Reddit user Eyensteyen was the one who asked the question. I was pleased to see that Brad answered the question, and answered in the positive indicating that TechEd’s importance is only growing. From Reddit:
- There’s been very strong rumors that TechEd could be ending within a couple years. Any truth to that?
- I have no idea where that’s coming from. Actually, brining TechEd and MMS together shows how much emphasis we’re putting on that event.
Typo aside (not sure how you would brine a conference), I take comfort in that statement. I didn’t expect him to come out and announce the dates and location of TechEd 2015, but I think this is the next best thing and as good as we’re going to get.
Obviously things can change, but I expect I’ll be at TechEd next year, wherever it may be. If you’re interested in reading more of Brad’s answers from the AMA, check out his blog, In the Cloud.