The 7th City for TechDays Canada 2009 – Halifax or Edmonton?

The 7th City for TechDays Canada 2009 – Halifax or Edmonton?

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Note: To be completely transparent – I am pulling for Halifax on this one. :-) I was born in Fredericton, grew up in Saint John and have a particular soft spot for “out east” or “down home” when it comes to this question.

A couple of weeks ago, my colleagues and I were swinging through the Atlantic Region with a whirlwind tour of 5 cities over 4 days as part of EnergizeIT. We took the opportunity to meet with as many people as possible during the structured events in the evenings, but we also went out of our way to hold informal/unstructured “meet and greet” events like ”CoffeeAndCode” in each location. 

The method to our Madness was really to get out, be accessible and make some new connections as well as keeping up the existing ones. We don’t get the opportunity to get out East as much as we’d like to – we have to take advantage of every trip down that way that we can.

Not surprisingly, one conversation topic that came up a lot was “Why doesn’t Microsoft care about <insert: Halifax, St. John’s, Moncton, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Atlantic Provinces> and why don’t you come down this way more often?”. You know what? We do care, but like everyone else – we have constraints on two resources: Resources and Money. If you’ve followed this blog or know my team – we’re 7 people that cover all of Canada and our mission is to make a difference in the Canadian ICT community by being the face to Microsoft – connecting and LISTENING to you – all of you. Remember those constraints? Well, 7 people have a budget we are able to allocate to travel and expenses – and it’s stretched pretty darn thin over the course of the year. This means we have to make choices whenever we plan “what we do” and “where we do it”.

This brings me to the title of this post - “7th City for TechDays 2009 – Halifax or Edmonton?”. A quick bit of review for those not familiar with what is TechDays in Canada. TechDays was our first “Paid For” event that my team produced in Canada last year. It’s goal was to provide Technical Training to multiple geographies in Canada based on the best of the best content pulled from TechEd, Mix’08, TechReady (internal technical training exclusive to MS) and PDC. It was delivered by Microsoft employees AS WELL AS local Technical Experts (76 of them across Canada) focusing on current technologies and current issues you are facing today in your work environments. This was about as FAR AWAY from marketing as you could get and was designed to hit the sweet-spot depth of content level for 80% of the technical audience who would be attending. I said “Paid for” event – but it was setup internally to be a cost recovery conference with a modest cost of $500 for 2 days of sessions (with an early bird price of 50% off). So in a nutshell, we were bringing the best 40 sessions of technical content to a city near you where you had an a-la-carte selection of 8 sessions over two days with 5 tracks of sessions to choose from. How was it received by last years attendees – phenomenally well, exceeding our expectations. There is no way we could not do this again this year – so we are, but with a slight twist.

techdays 2009 graphicWe’ve made all the cities 2 day cities and we’re going to most likely keep the price the same as last year ($500 for two days with a 50% savings in the form of an early bird rate). The full price and early bird discount is still not 100% official, but it is definitely looking like it is going to be in the same range as last year.

We’ve booked venues in 6 of the 7 cities. Vancouver (9/14&15/2009) and Toronto (9/29&30/2009) are up first for the month of September, with Montreal (12/2&3/2009), Ottawa (12/9&10/2009) and Winnipeg (12/15&16/2009) taking the month of December. Smack in the middle of November is Calgary (11/17&18/2009) and one UNKNOWN city on the 25th and 26th. 

The challenge – where should it be? The cool part – You decide! 

Your choice is either:

-> The Atlantic Region with it taking place in Halifax (11/25&26/2009)
-> Another Western Region city with it taking place in Edmonton (11/25&26/2009)

How are we measuring interest in either of these two choices? You have to send my colleague Damir Bersinic an email indicating how many people at your place of work are willing to commit to coming out and registering for one of these two cities? Remember – this is a Technical Training Conference that was designed from the ground up to give you the skills you need to be successful in your job. Either you, your boss or others on your team need to send in an email of support for either the Halifax OR Edmonton location of the November 25th&26th open slot. It has to be in by MAY 15th in order to count. The city that shows the most support by email by May 15th will become the 7th confirmed city for Techdays 2009.

<Atlantic region bias>

Hey Atlantic Canada – I’m talking to you. We’re BEHIND the level of support already expressed by Edmonton.
If Halifax is going to be an option – we need to get the vote out!

Click here to send Damir an email asking for the 7th city to be Halifax.

</Atlantic region bias>

I’m very excited to be part of the team that is putting TechDays on in Canada once again – it was an absolute blast last year. We’re getting more community involvement with content selection this year and we’re already deep in planning stages to make it a bigger success then last year. We are aiming to have the updated TechDays website up and online in June with a complete listing of tracks, sessions, dates, speakers and all sorts of resources live for you to see as well as registration for TechDays Canada 2009.

Rick
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  • <p>What no Regina...what gives! Come on boys!!!!</p>

  • <p>PingBack from <a rel="nofollow" target="_new" href="http://toronto.linkedz.info/2009/05/04/the-7th-city-for-techdays-canada-2009-%e2%80%93-halifax-or-edmonton/">http://toronto.linkedz.info/2009/05/04/the-7th-city-for-techdays-canada-2009-%e2%80%93-halifax-or-edmonton/</a></p>

  • <p>@will.craddock</p> <p>Dude - you live in Ireland now. Nice to see you are still fighting the fight for Regina from across the pond. </p> <p>Do you think we could get 300 attendees committed to attend from Regina?</p> <p>Rick</p>

  • <p>As an MCT I would like to see this event in HALIFAX, NS.</p> <p>We always get overlooked, and yet we have some of the best I.T. people around.</p> <p>Just because we didn't hop on the bus to go West doesn't mean we weren't good enough. &nbsp;We just made a lifestyle choice to stay home.</p> <p>Derek Lewis</p> <p>MCT/MCSE/... and all of that nonsense people need to write to make themselves important.</p>

  • <p>Edmonton for sure, since Saskatchewan is getting overlooked (as usual) we're used to making the drive to attend events. </p>

  • <p>Aren't there 8 people on your team? &nbsp;Did something happen to one of you? &nbsp;I hope you weren't impacted by layoffs or anything!</p> <p>Rob Dloing</p>

  • <P>It's like Atlantic Canada is always last on everyone's mind... </P> <P>Funny since in Fredericton,NB we were voted one of the most intllegent communities and one of the best places to live! &nbsp; </P> <P>Having the Event in Halifax would make sense.. However.. Moncton would be more central for everyone if that's at all possible!</P>

  • <p>@Derek Lewis and @Blake Heisler,</p> <p>Great comments guys. Make sure you have mailed them to damirb (at) Microsoft.com so that they count in the official tallies. </p> <p>Rick</p>

  • <p>@Shane Q. </p> <p>You make a great point. FreddyBeach (my home town) is more central to the Atlantic Region - or Moncton even more so. This time around, Halifax was chosen as the larger metropolitain area with the higher &quot;potential&quot; draw due to population. At this point, we've publically committed to Halifax for this one, so by fairness, we have to keep TechDays over there this time around. </p> <p>I bring up Moncton or Fredericton as alternates in planning, but my main concern is our lack of exposure in NB might lead to lower people attending. We also have the debate about Haligonians driving over the straight to hit Moncton/Fredericton would happen. Same can be said for NB'ers driving over to Halifax. </p> <p>You definetly raise a good point. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts as to the possible draw Fredericton / Moncton could have. Do you think we could get 300 people out?</p> <p>Rick</p>

  • <p>When is Tech Days 2009 going to start accepting registrations?</p> <p>Sept is just arround the corner for Vancouver.</p> <p>Larry</p>

  • <p>We are looking to have registration begin sometime in June. &nbsp;We will post more details here on the blog as well as in the TechNet and MSDN Flash once we have them. &nbsp;Stay tuned....</p>

  • <p>Looking forward to seeing what will be offered at tech days. &nbsp; BTW, will the slides/webcast from 2008 be up soon?</p>

  • <p>I am a Regina .NET UG leader.</p> <p>We are kicking off a PASS and SharePoint group in the fall.</p> <p>We already have a .NET and IT Pro group.</p> <p>When these new groups launch we will have a better idea if we can get 300 attendees.</p> <p>Put Saskatchewan in the books for 2010! 8)</p> <p>+1 for Atlantic Canada; Alberta already has a stop.</p>

  • <p>Just read the news re: TechDays in Halifax. I just have to convince management to send me now. ;)</p>