Today's affirmation: feedback is a gift.
This was my busiest day of the conference from a presentation standpoint, as I made two today: the second offering of Set-Based Thinking, and the first of Database Design for OLTP Developers.
The attendees here at TechEd constitute a tough room to work, and that's a good thing. Their primary feedback from the first Set-Based Thinking session was that the demonstrations offered, which rely heavily on the million-row-insert and prime number work we did on the blog last autumn, were interesting but too esoteric to be the primary focus of the demonstration. What was needed, the feedback suggested (suggested? screamed) was a real-world example.
Much to my good fortune, it just so happens I was working on a real-world implementation of these approaches last week, before I got on the airplane. I spent about 20 minutes in SQL Management Studio before the presentation and adapted that work-in-progress into a demo-able script.
Why is feedback a gift? Because taking this simple step seems to have dramatically improved the utility of the discussion for the attendees. This state of affairs is reflected in the review scores for the two sessions. The first offering scored below the averages for both the Database track and all Interactive sessions (certainly not where we want it to be!), while the second is far enough above the averages to currently be the sixth-highest-scored interactive session of the conference thus far.
This session was preceeded by this morning's initial offering of Data Modeling for OLTP Developers. This session scored pretty close to the Database track and Interactive session averages, and suffered from the fact that we ran out of things to discuss fifteen minutes before the session ended. While it might be tempting for me to regard this as an indication that people were reticent to interact during the first session of the day, my action item from this experience is to prepare two more contingency topics for discussion just in case the same pattern repeats tomorrow.
Between sessions, I spent some time at the SQL Server booth on the convention floor. There are always plenty of interesting conversations to be had at the booth, so it was an excellent way to spend mid-day.
Tomorrow I don't present until 5:30 in the afternoon, so I'm planning to morph into an attendee (they're called "delegates" at this event) and sample some of the other presentations before I repeat the Data Modeling offering.
Those details will appear tomorrow..