Wednesday, November 09, 2005

VS2005/SQL2005/BT2006 Launch: No Cheap Trick!

I may give away my age if I say that one of my favorite parts of the Microsoft Visual Studio/SQL Server/Biztalk Launch was that Cheap Trick played both the keynote session and the party. After 30 years, I have to say, they sound great. I've seen over-the-hill bands before, and this is not one of them: Cheap Trick still rocks. (Rob has some pictures of them here).

But there was so much else going on, it's hard to pick a favorite part. Steve Ballmer gave his customary high energy keynote (available here). There were tons of Microsoft partners there, and it was great to catch up with people from Softagon, Allin, and many others. All of the major hardware vendors were there.

The development communities were there in force, too. INETA, the International .NET Association, was there, as was its local affiliate Bay.NET. Oliver and Bennett from Bay.NET put together tons of great informational programs; I think that both Kim and Rob will be presenting for them soon.

But, as always, the best thing about a Microsoft event is the chance to meet with and talk to the Microsoftians themselves. No, Steve Ballmer didn't stop by the Digipede kiosk. But Kari Martin and the ISV Connect team was there (is it true, Kari, that you put the "kari" in "karaoke?"). Sam Ramji stopped by for a few minutes--we are very excited about the work he's doing; we think that Microsoft is building a great platform for SaaS, and we think we have an important piece of the puzzle for SaaS providers. Dan'l Lewin spent some time with our CEO, John Powers. And both Matt Pease and Diana Beckman from the partner program both came by at some point. Many Microsoftians made it a point to come by, say hi, and ask what they could do to help.

And at the party, I let Jason Mauer school me in air hockey ;-). I should have known better than to play against anyone who uses the word "pimpiest" in a blog entry.

So what did I take away from the show? Well, I already knew all about the great new technologies, and how fast SQL Server 2005 is, and how powerful Visual Studio 2005 is. But it's not what you know, it's who you know. Having spent a day where we got to talk to the folks in charge of Microsoft's partner programs, Emerging Business Team, and the ISV Connect team--oh, and got to show off our latest release to 3000 potential customers--was a darn good day.