Recap of the 2017 Visual Studio Live Conference

I spoke at the 2017 Visual Studio Live Conference. The event ran from March 13 – 17, in Las Vegas (Bally’s). VS Live is a conference for software developers who use Microsoft technologies, and it’s one of my favorite conferences.

I estimate there were about 400 attendees. A typical attendee was a senior developer at a large company or a state or federal agency. For example, I talked to people who worked at hospitals, financial companies, energy companies, and all kinds of government agencies. Attendees were overwhelmingly male (perhaps 95%) which is normal for developer conferences.

VS Live has been around for many years, and the event organizers, Danielle, Brent, Sara, and the rest, all do a great job with regards to logistics. Unlike most developer conferences which happen once a year, there are seven VS Live events every year — Austin, Washington DC, Redmond, Chicago, Anaheim, Orlando, and my favorite location, Las Vegas.

I gave two talks. My first talk was “Introduction to R and Microsoft R Server”. I explained what the R language is from the point of view of a software developer, and gave a few opinions about how R might be useful. My R talk went OK, but not great — I was a bit flat and so was the audience.

My second talk was “Introduction to Azure Machine Learning”. I walked through a complete end-to-end demo that showed how to use Azure ML to create a prediction model for the famous Iris Data set. That talk went very well. I was energized and the audience was engaged too. The attendee feedback was very good.

Conferences are exhausting. You get up early, concentrate all day, stay up late chatting, sleep for a couple of hours, then start again. But attendees (and me too) get exposed to all kinds of new ideas and technologies in a very short time frame.

For me, I feel it’s important for Microsoft’s clients to understand a bit about what Microsoft Research is doing with regards to things that will affect developers. I’ve been in software for decades and I’ve never seen a more exciting time. The advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence are accelerating and will likely change the world in ways that are hard to imagine.

This entry was posted in Conferences. Bookmark the permalink.