I spoke at the 2015 Visual Studio Live conference in San Francisco, from June 15-18. See http://www.vslive.com. Most of the attendees at VS Live were senior software developers who use Microsoft technologies like C# and SQL Server. Based on my conversations, I think most of the attendees worked at medium sized companies, such as banks, but there were people from very small and very large companies too.
I’d estimate there were somewhere between 250 and 350 people at VS Live. That’s a bit on the small side for a software conference. The primary downside to smaller conferences is that there are fewer talks. The upside is that the event is a bit more personal and it’s somewhat easier to talk to other people. All things considered however, I personally prefer larger conferences.
VS Live San Francisco had about 60 sessions. Major session topics included ASP.NET, mobile, data, the Cloud, and WPF. My talk was “Introduction to R for C# Programmers”. I think the talk went quite well. R is an open source (GNU) project. The use of, and interest in, R has increased greatly over the past few months and so my talk had good attendance.
When I speak at conferences, I get value in several ways. In addition to learning new things and meeting interesting people, I definitely get a sense of renewed energy and enthusiasm when I return to work. I had particularly interesting conversations with Andrew Brust, one of the conference co-chairs, and Walt Ritscher, a well-known speaker and trainer.
The conference was at the Fairmont Hotel, located on the top of the famous Nob Hill. It’s very fancy. When walking around the hotel it was pretty easy to tell who was a conference attendee and who was a regular guest of the hotel. San Francisco is a beautiful city, but I prefer Las Vegas for conferences because Vegas is very walking-friendly and can be very inexpensive if you know where to look.
Visual Studio Live San Francisco: Excellent conference and I’m looking forward to speaking there again.