A lot of people have been asking me on mail as well as on this blog why we are doing TechMela in just one city when traditionally we have done TechEd around the same timeframe in multiple cities. Well, here are the reasons:
1) We wanted to do a much bigger event this time by covering a much larger number of technology areas by combing content from TechEd, Mix, MEDC and ITPC:
a) The number of sessions we are doing this year is around 150, more than twice the number we have done usually. BTW, this does not include HOLs.
b) The number of tracks we have this year is 21, four times as much the number of tracks we usually do
c) The number of speakers we have is around 50; again more than twice the number we get usually. A big percentage of the speakers are coming from the product groups.
2) One of the consistent pieces of feedback has been around the need for our developers and IT Pros to hear directly from the Product teams in US and the the rest-of-the-world. This interaction is immensely helpful
a) to the Redmond teams, as they take back valuable input from our audience and that translates into better product
b) for the participants because they get a view from the guys who actually build the product and their deep insight into how the technology landscape is evolving
3) Its tough to maintain the same quality of experience when the venues change and the facilities don’t keep pace with the demands of our marketplace. To meet the diverse needs of the audience we need atleast 7 tracks (each day) and we need to have atleast 200 – 300 person capacity in each track. The hard part of the issue is that we don’t have that infrastructure in India!! Heard about public infrastructure lagging behind….well looks like that’s true for convention hall infra too!! Its improving but not fast enough.
There were a couple of other points I wanted to address:
1) Why Mumbai, why not Bangalore?
There were two reasons for choosing Mumbai:
• Venue: The scale at which we are doing the event this year was not possible at any venue in Bangalore. The only possible venues were either in Mumbai or Hyderabad. After considering connectivity options on domestic and international flight circuits, Mumbai won.
• No. of events: Almost all developer events, by Microsoft and by other companies, end up happening in Bangalore. This results in what our marketing team likes to call “audience fatigue” – an allusion to the fact that since the target audience is same, people get sick of getting initiations to events and are not able to take out time for “yet another event”
2) What about other countries? Don’t they also do TechEd in multiple cities?
India was unique in doing the events across so many cities. If you look at TechEd US, that happens in one city (this year in Orlando), the same with TechEd Europe (Barcelona), and most other countries. For details, check out http://www.microsoft.com/events/teched2007/worldwide.mspx. I do realize that by doing this in one city, there will be people in some cities who would be constrained in their travel, and would not be able to make it. The way we seek to address this is by rotating the cities where we do this event every year going forward.
So if you are not able to make it to Mumbai on the D-Day, what are your options? Well, frankly I do not know today. We do want to take some of the content from the event to other parts of the country, but as of now there are no plans for it. So your best bet would be to take out some time, get your company to invest some money in your skills and come over to TechMela. One thing that we can promise to you is that we will make this worth your time and money!