Today was a lot of good sessions on ASP.NET 2.0 (where I find most of my passion). Scott Guthrie is certainly packing the house in every session. The technology is really slick and all the features in the framework as well as the VS2005 tools are incredible.
I also spent some time today with other Regional Directors across the US, trying to get ideas on how to better engage with the developer community through programs.
In the evening we had the “influentials” party. It was okay -- a lot of the same bar scene with finger foods...not exactly my 'thing' but we went and spent some time there...there was a lot of people and it was LOUD (typical bar scene). I decided to retire somewhat early for day 3 to get some rest -- too many late nights!
I've often been asked what defines an “influencer” in the community. Typically (but not always) an influencer will already be very involved and maybe recognized via the MVP or RD program. This is not always the case (in fact most of the MVPs in the area where I am at are not part of my influencer sphere). The best way to describe it (stealing a definition from a colleague of mine) is someone who has REACH and SWAY. I look for these people in the community who are respected champions of their chosen fields in technology. You would think that I only look for MS-related people, but that is not the case. Understanding the competitive landscape is very important...and we have influencers in the Java/Linux community as well.
In the earlier evening I helped out moderate a Birds of a Feather TechEd session on sharepoint and using it in the intranet and extranet. I actually thought we wouldn't have a lot of people, but there were about 20-30 people there. Lots of the typical deployment questions/challenges. JMauer was the facilitator and did a great job -- it is tough not having concrete answers to a lot of SharePoint related questions. It did start to turn into a tech support session a bit, but we switched that track right away -- you can tell people who may not have understood the full deployment scenario of even a typical installation as well as general networking guidelines. At any rate, it was good and I'm glad I went.