Well guys – it’s the end of an insane week this week. TechEd is finally over – well for me at least. I’ve been preparing for TechEd and the SMB PreDay now for a number of weeks and I think by and large it was successful. I know that there is a lot of great feedback and I’ll be going over this next week with Robbie to see what we can do better.
SMB PreDay – We had around 250 people at SMB PreDay and it was really great to see the turnout. Based on the show of hands, I thought that Melbourne people were almost as many in number as the Sydney people – well done!
Robbie took a lot of guidance from me as to the sessions and content for the day and I feel very responsible to ensure that we get out to the SMB community what they need to do business better and to do better business. I heard a few people saying that they felt the level of content was not level 300 that they were expecting. I also heard a number of people giving some very positive feedback about the level and content. Now it’s great to hear the positives, but it’s hard to improve on anything if you don’t hear the negatives and as such I’m really keen to hear more about what people want and need. In thinking about the negatives "we didn’t get level 300 content" I try to put that in context with a few things.
#1 – Microsoft Internally rate the content using a scale along the lines as below.
L 100 – Introductory / Overview
L 200 – Sales & Marketing
L 300 – Technical
L 400 – Advanced Technical
The slides used in the presentations that Lingan and I did were actually drawn from Level 300 and 400 slide decks and therefore it makes me a little surprised at the comments we got. I can certainly agree that if people are not aware of the way that Microsoft rate their content that they might feel that the level was not quite right so maybe we need to do a better job of clearing saying what level is what and what to expect.
Tell me though – what additional content would you have liked to see in these sessions? Specifically would you have liked to review the registry settings or XML files that go into the configuration of the wizards and scripts? Would you have liked me to show the PowerShell scripting that is used to move SBS data folders around? Give me some ideas here guys to help me understand.
#2 – Dean Calverts’ sessions on selling into the SBS and EBS market – a few people told me that they felt that this sales/business content had no real place at TechEd – and normally I would agree with them on this. However a few things that I think are relevant are that this was a PreDay to TechEd – not TechEd itself and therefore I wanted to provide content that was relevant to us the SMB Resellers and that needs to include the type of content that Dean presented. Also something to bear in mind is that we really are selling into different markets here and those that have dealt with both will realise that so very clearly. Those that have not sold into the M market before will not be so proficient with this and I was hoping that Dean’s talks would help make people more aware of the different angles that need to be taken to be able to sell better into those markets. Furthermore – I ask – if we didn’t do Dean’s talks when we did, then when would the average SMB reseller actually put some time aside to look at this type of information? I know myself that we are almost ALWAYS bouncing from problem to problem and often never get a chance to work ON the business. I hope that this explains a little more the background behind my thoughts in including Deans content and his presences in this event.
#3 – Did we do too good a job in the 5 city Australia wide SBS/EBS Deep Dives in June? Given that TechEd was just 8 weeks after Robbie and I did a 5 city tour on SBS and EBS, was it too close or did we give away too much information in that tour to make this event not as valuable as you would have liked?
#4 – Is there too much info out there already about SBS and EBS? There’s currently a series of Webcasts going on about SBS and EBS and is this a case of there being too much information or the wrong type of information already out there?
#5 – Too much content for one day? I’m reviewing right now a 3 day Hands On Lab for SBS and another 3 day on EBS – these are one of the training course that will be run around Australia. Separate to this is upcoming MOC training on SBS and EBS – again 3 days each. That gives you an idea of just how much content there really is on SBS and EBS – How could we fit that better into 1 day?
I’m heading to the US on 19th September and as part of that I am fortunate as an MVP to be sitting through the internal Microsoft CSS courses on SBS and EBS – these courses are 5 days each and I’m sure full of amazing content that will make my head spin. I’m not sure as to how we can redeliver this content – or even IF I can redeliver this content in the same way as it is given to us as there may be things I learn under NDA that I can’t share. One way or the other though, I will know a lot more about SBS and EBS when I return.
I know that Robbie and I are looking to be visiting each of the major capital cities before the end of November so it’s going to be one heck of a challenge to deliver even more content to you guys, but we will do our best to live up to that challenge.
If we were to do it again we would likely style the event differently. I would consider looking to have one session by Dean and combine the content he presented into a 45 minute session. I would look to have a different arrangement for the SBS/EBS tech sessions too.
One way or another, we will do better, but it’s only possible for us to do better if the community gives us feedback that we can use. Telling us that "this sucks" is one thing, but telling us "this sucks and I think you should have done this or that" is really constructive and helps us improve. Feel free to give me feedback anytime – you can get me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I do my best to respond quickly to all emails.
Thanks for all your support with the SMB PreDay and the TechEd sessions that we conducted on SBS and EBS.