Well, I have about 3 hours until I leave this little city called Mexico City. Sarcasm of course, did you know there are roughly 25 million people in Mexico City. I didn’t. It is amazing. Traffic, however, is something to be desired. I’m told that a 3 mile trip at times could take 1hr, 30 minutes. Maybe I should stop complaining about my commute when I do it? No, it still sucks.
Anyway, on to business. Yesterday I attended and spoke at the MIX Essentials Mexico conference. These events are happening worldwide and if there is one coming up in your area, you should definitely check it out. I was fortunate enough to kick off the day with the keynote session talking about building RIAs in Silverlight 2 and demonstrating some of the new capabilities that have been talked about for beta 2. My second session was on accessing data within Silverlight 2 using web services, RSS/Atom, REST, etc. I had a great time and hope that the attendees for the day enjoyed the discussions as well. For myself it was quite interesting as myself and 3 others were the only ones who presented in English. We had translators (I forgot to tell them thank you as they did a great job) who were doing their best to translate our American and English (UK) slang and language flaws. Part of me felt a bit disconnected from the audience and it really motivated me to learn Spanish. I live in Arizona so I’m near the border and we holiday there quite a bit…there is no excuse for me not to start understanding a bit more than “Donde esta el bano?”
I made the mistake of trying to look like I knew what I was doing when in the ride from the airport to the hotel (8 miles, 1hr). I didn’t know how long it would be and asked the driver “Cuanto tiempo?” which roughly translates to “How long?” and he answered to me about 30 minutes (in Spanish of course, numbers I understand). I must have had a really good accent, because later he received a phone call, paused, turned around and started saying things I had no idea what he was saying :-) -- we chuckled.
After the keynote, Una Walsh of Conchango did a wonderful presentation talking about *what* user experience is and how it is all around us, not just in technology. She really knows here stuff and is one of the individuals directing the user experience group at her organization. Her presentation showed some interesting things that Virgin American has been doing to advertise differently as well as create a unique flight experience that is driving loyalty and enthusiasm. That’s right, loyalty and enthusiasm in an airline. They are doing some really unique things to differentiate themselves and at the same time building excitement in a brand in their industry almost to the same level of ‘fanboy’ status.
Next up was two others from Conchango, Rich Griffin and Felix Corke. Rich is a developer and Felix a designer. Together they presented ‘Beauty and the Geek’ discussing the workflow between a developer and a designer. Both of these guys are really talented and have been working with XAML for a while. We had some great discussions on what needs to be done to help bridge the gaps further. I think they were also excited to see some of the things I showed them that is coming. Rich also talked more in-depth later about XAML.
Fresh off a 10 hour plane ride from Argentina, Alex Souza talked about creating web experiences with Expression Studio 2. This was the first Spanish speaking session. I sat in for most of this one and Alex really engaged the crowd and although I have no idea what he was saying, I saw a lot of nodding heads. Alex really knows his stuff and was really confident about the platform. He demonstrated building an experience using the various tools available to web designers and developers.
Also fresh from Argentina, Gabriel Corvera Ortiz from the Windows Live team, talked about the Windows Live platform. He said this was the second time he’s been able to do this, but it didn’t show. This guy is very confident and was able to answer some of the hard questions posed by the attendees. He’s really smart and I was glad to have met him this weekend.
Arturo Vazquez wrapped up the final session talking about becoming a partner with Microsoft. I stepped into this one late and although it was in Spanish I could tell there were a lot of questions around what organizations should be doing to get the various levels of partnerships.
It was a really great day and I received a lot of good questions and met some great people. I had a chance to talk with Alfredo Ceballos and Christian Strevel which were both good conversations about doing fun and interesting things and hopefully soon with Silverlight 2!
For my sessions if you are interested in more, I recommend checking out the Learn section of the Silverlight community site. Most of what I covered is also available in videos and downloadable code for you to work with. We’ll be updating this site with examples and content for beta 2 once released so be sure to subscribe to my blog and keep your eyes on the Silverlight site for the best resources!
The event was over and we could all relax a bit. There were a lot of pictures taken so if you have any be sure to tag them with mixessentialsmx or something like that so we can all see or leave a comment here to the URLs. You can view my photos on Flickr.
Our gracious hosts for the event (in addition to the agency who helped put everything together…their staff was AWESOME—thank you Rossana and others!) were Eduardo Nava Malagon and Mauricio Angulo. These guys were the most gracious hosts we could have had. After the event they took us to Paxia, which was incredible. The service and food was amazing. I had a filet with chorizo that was oh so good. The highlight of the night however was learning all about tequila. While I don’t drink…the table sure did ;-). There were many La Loteria being ordered (which essentially is a sampler of 4 fine tequilas). Felix had to ask about worms, to then the mezcal started coming out. Mauricio was very much enjoying himself and was so kind to us the entire night. That was until he decided to let us try some ‘local’ cuisine. After an exchange with the restaurant host, a plate of guacamole and something else came out (that’s a picture of it here). Escamoles. Click the link, then come back. That’s right…we ate those. I’ve told myself I’ll try anything once, and I did. There will probably be no more esacmoles in my future. You can see a brief video of Felix and Una prepping their tortillas here.
About 15 or 20 la loterias later, we ended dinner and great conversation about culture, language and other things. I really enjoyed myself in Mexico City (the hotel I was at as well was phenominal, extremely comfortable and would every hotel should be) and am grateful to have been invited. I hope the attendees to MIX Essentials had fun, learned a little and are excited to create the next great experiences on the web.
Muchas gracias a mis nuevos amigos en la oficina de Microsoft en Mexico City.