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Why did 2,000 people leave during Steve Sinoflsky's Tech-Ed Talk? Not Just Boredom


On the first day of Tech-Ed, on the assembly Talk (the one that takes two and a half hours), Steven Sinofsky, the new manager of the windows division, went up on the podium to talk. He was on after a couple of short films (which were funny) and a short introduction from Lior Tzoref (the official teched blogger who won't take comments). There was magic in the air as 3 thousand people watch Steve go up onto the podium to talk about his vision for a better windows.

This was the main assembly at the conference. Surely there were going to be some amazing demos of Windows Vista, XBox, or anything else that has the word "cool" as an alias these days.


Then Steve said something like "I'm pretty much new to Windows division, but I'm coming from Office, which I know much about". Silence.  I got the weird feeling that this talk was not going to be as great as I'd hoped.


Then Steve said something like "so let's talk about the new XML features in Office Server intropdkj standradslsdfjnsdfsc...". That was not a typo. There was so much noise in the great big tent where we were sitting that I couldn't hear what he was saying. People were moving their chairs backwards and started leaving the tent.


It was awful. From a full tent of 3000 folks, probably less than 1,000 stayed on to hear Steve Talk. I was not one of them - I left with a good excuse. I had a talk coming up later that day that I wanted to get ready for, and this was simply a big waste of time.  


So why did people leave?

  • The Israeli Crowd is a big mess of impolite rude people who don't have an ounce of patience to hear something they are not interested in. That said - their actions have reflected the awful truth - this was a very bad judgment call on Steve's part.
  • You *don't*, you just don't, talk about Office and XML features in a main Assembly of TechEd, where "cool" is supposed to be uttered every 3-4 minutes by the attendees.
  • You don't let people out during the main assembly.
  • You don't save the Vista demos for the end of a 2.5 hour talk.
  • You get more videos and "cool" stuff going.
  • You make sure there is good wireless reception in the tent, so that people will at least check their emails instead of leaving searching for a hotspot.
  • You expect a crowd of people, many of who are not that technical after all, to sit and listen to a talk about XML and office while there is a pool, hotspots and beautiful girls outside the tent?


For once, I agreed with the crowd and went on my way. Even so, that's 30 minutes out of my life I'll never get back.

Cross Posted from Blogs.Microsoft.Co.Il/Blogs/Royo

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