TechEd 2007 – Speaker Idol

Published on Author Rob WindsorLeave a comment

My TechEd experience has not been exactly what I expected, at least not since Tuesday afternoon. That’s when I found out that I had been selected to be a wild-card entry at Speaker Idol.

Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell from .NET Rocks! set up this contest where 16 attendees of TechEd had a chance to win a spot speaking at next year’s conference. There were four heats of four speakers, each doing a five minute[1] presentation in front of a panel of judges. The winners of each heat moved forward to the finals. Three of the people in each heat were individuals who submitted proposals for this year’s conference but didn’t make the cut. The other was a wild card, someone (like me) from the conference who thought they had what it takes to be a speaker[2].

In my heat there was a tie, so both Sarbjit Gill and I ended up advancing to the finals. I did a standard TechEd type talk on WCF while Sarbjit did an amazing talk about Split DNS using Paint. Since our talks both had merit but were so totally different, they had no real way to break the tie.

In the finals I tried to incorporate the judge’s feedback from my first session by taking a demo from the end of my talk and moving almost to the beginning. I also chose to do some of the code live instead of walking though a completed example. In the end, this may have been my downfall as I went close to eight minutes long. All the speakers did great presentations but in the end an awesome ASP.NET caching demo by Steven Smith won the day. Congratulations Steve and good luck with your talk next year. 

[1]- Trying to get a few slides and a demo that tell any kind of story in five minutes is freaking hard!  

[2]- I was offered the chance to submit proposals for sessions but I chose not to because I didn’t plan on attending.

Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell host Speaker Idol  All Canadian Speaker Idol judges panel  OK, it is possible to do a great talk just using Paint  Presenting at the Speaker Idol finals  Screen shot from my Speaker Idol talk   The crowd at the Speaker Idol finals

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