Russel Beattie Turned down an offer from MSFT to attend and influence a microsoft Mobius Conference on the claim that he is usually Anti-MSFT in life and work, but "thanks, i'm flattered". I do believe this is a grave mistake. If you intened to be anti-something, wouldnt you like to know it from within? Plus, it might seem a bit patronizing and silly to divert your looks from the so called "enemy". It's like your almost afraid youll learn something that will change your views about them. I think in a good argument you must give the opponent a chance to speak - and what better chance to hear him then that conference?
Also, I don't think you would have lost the credibility of your peers, plus if you would have kept it streight, telling pros and cons like the usual, there would be no reason to think that you drank the kool-aid . The ones that would think so would be totally wrong. As long as you keep it streight. Just because you go to a MSFT convention doasn't mean you are one with the b0rg. hell , some would call it "open minded".
Iv'e read what you answered to the comments on that post, and i do understand the "what would i look like if my trip was paid for my MSFT?" attitude. but look at this this way: there are plenty (of thousands) of indipendent newspapers and journalists that get invited to show opening, tech previews, movie openings, new car displays and so on - all at the expense of the one who invited them. These are usually well respected journalists who come to report on the new stuff they see, and still manage to keep their credibility even though they didnt pay for a dime. I think this is a big big loss, and a missed opertunity.