Microsoft 2014 Build Conference – Day 3

Today (Friday, April 4, 2014) was the third and final day of the 2014 Microsoft Build Conference. Build is Microsoft’s conference for software developers. There are a total of about 8,000 people here (which includes attendees, speakers, vendors, press, and so on).

Unlike the previous two days which started with incomprehensibly-long three-hour keynotes, today started immediately with session talks at 9:00 AM. I watched most of “The Future of C#” which really should have been titled “Overview of Roslyn, a C# API to the C# Compiler”. My immediate reaction to that talk was along the lines of, “I’m very happy to use the existing C# compiler, thank you very much. I don’t need an API into the compiler for what I do.”

I gave my talk from 10:30 to 11:30. Even though the conference organizers put my talk in a large room that held 500+ people, the room filled to capacity quickly and the doors had to be shut a full 10 minutes before my talk was scheduled to start. To be honest, I kind of expected this because my talk was clearly designed for developers, unlike too many of the Build talks that targeted managers and non-developers. Here’s my room before anyone was allowed in:


I think my talk went pretty well. I tried to keep things informal and not take myself too seriously — many of the talks and keynotes I’d seen were way too scripted and formal for my tastes. Before my actual talk, I gave a 5-minute intended-to-be-humorous PowerPoint where I showed some images of my impressions of the first few days of Build. Here’s one lasting image that got quite a few chuckles from the audience:


Interestingly, there were three guys in the audience who were college students of mine in the early 1990s. It was good to see them — I actually remembered after scanning my memory for a few minutes. After my talk I was pretty exhausted (psychologically) because public speaking is truly terrifying for me. But I watched two other Build talks in the afternoon, but they were both duds in my opinion — probably a combination of my mental fatigue plus the topics weren’t in my primary areas of interest.

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2 Responses to Microsoft 2014 Build Conference – Day 3

  1. I was in the room for the informal part of your talk and I have to say, nice comedic timing. It seems the folks editing the video didn’t include your other slide deck or any of the intro. I’d love to see that again because trying to explain how refreshing and entertaining that was to my boss doesn’t do it justice. It is very disappointing that was edited out of your session video. The content of your talk seemed approachable even though my math skills only ever advanced far enough to get my finance degree and then get a real job after college. It was nice to attend a session that was intellectually above the norm for conferences like this. Hopefully your bosses have a sense of humor and we’ll see you next year speaking about machine learning.

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