Home > Microsoft, MIX06, Web > Impressions from MIX06- What Happened, What Worked and What Didn’t

Impressions from MIX06- What Happened, What Worked and What Didn’t

Now that the conference has ended, I’ve been thinking about what I learned at MIX this week. As usual, the event wasn’t about the technical content as much as it was about connecting with people. In addition to the customers that I spent time with at the event, I had some great conversations with a number of people in the community over the three days:

  • Jim Minatel and I spoke about the book industry, current projects, and directions on MSFT technology in the coming year. I have a ton of respect for the work that Jim is doing and look forward to working with him further.
  • Harry Pierson and I talked about the convergence of Web 2.0 and more “traditional? SOA based on standards such as WS-*. Enterprises are going to learn a lot from the agility of the consumer-focused web companies and can likely leverage more lightweight techniques to empower their people and positively impact the business. Steve Loethen joined the conversation as well and talked about some of the phenomenal work with the community of non-Microsoft developers.
  • Steve Maine, Clemens Vasters and I discussed the nature of MIX as a conference and how to get the audience more involved. Ideas discussed included ad-hoc panels, whiteboard outlining of the session and even Clemens’ experience in doing a presentation on a Tablet PC (no slides). There is definitely an opportunity to do these types of creative things next time around.
  • Anil Dash and I talked for a while about corporate blogging. Specifically, I gave him my thoughts about what works and what doesn’t as companies are looking at these tools (e.g. corporate blogging works but enterprise aggregation doesn’t). Anil is practically a celebrity in the world of blogs, but was very down to earth and I enjoyed talking with him very much. Seems like a good guy to work with or to have as a friend.
  • Gary Cornell and I had a few chats about the direction of Apress (tremendous growth) and their direction with respect to new books. Gary was definitely focused on finding some great new ideas for book topics- hopefully he succeeded.
  • Marc Canter and I spent some time together talking about how to start new companies, the importance (or lack of importance) of geography and the right way to put your ideas out into the community. I told Marc he was a “professional shit disturber?- I think he took that as a compliment. A very nice guy really (I’ll probably ruin his reputation).
  • Adam Trachtenberg and I spoke briefly about Michael Arrington’s bogus “eBay is a Web 1.0 company? statement. I’m sure Michael is a nice guy but that felt a little over the topic. Adam was very gracious seems focused on helping eBay to get better rather than getting defensive. Bravo.
  • Joshua Allen was constantly in the hallway looking for feedback and engaging with people. We had a couple of short chats and as always Joshua was very thoughtful and open to feedback.
  • Scoble was Scoble- engaging and fun as always.

MIX was not the typical Microsoft conference (by design) and on that front the conference was wildly successful. Hats off to the organizers- the conference felt open and was a great reflection of the way that Microsoft has opened up over the past few years. It was a welcome change and was noticed by almost everyone I talked to.

While MIX was “open? in terms of ideas and didn’t feel like a Microsoft echo chamber, it did at times feel like a Web 2.0 echo chamber, with the presenters talking to each other rather than the audience. I think there was a missed opportunity to engage more deeply with the audience, allowing them to “join the conversation?.

The social networking tools didn’t really work in terms of facilitating interactions among people. I imagine that most people talked to the folks they already knew and didn’t really reach out to the extent that they could have. The way you fix that is by taking those conversations into the presentations and having full interaction in more of the sessions. The panel discussions were interesting but were still not very interactive for the most part. Lots of room for improvement here- hopefully next year MIX will feel a bit more like “conference 2.0? event.

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Categories: Microsoft, MIX06, Web
  1. Tim Toennies
    March 25, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    Dude, you got mentioned on Scoble’s site!! http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/

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