Wow. What a great time!
My friend Jeremy and I headed to Livonia Monday night so we could avoid getting up at 5am and making the 2-hour drive. After checking into our hotel, we headed over to Docs Sports Retreat and met up with Keith Elder and some of his Quicken Loans buddies. Did I mention it was St. Patrick’s Day? We got to the bar around 9:30 or so and didn’t leave until 1:30. Good times, although getting into a deep technical discussion after a few drinks is not recommended. Even with the alcohol, Keith couldn’t stop talking about his love for NHibernate. Just kidding. Actually, we managed to carry on a pretty coherent conversation about CSLA, the 80/20 rule and scale of development.
Tuesday morning we were out the door by 8 and were in the Ren Cen and registered by 8:30. I spent the first hour or so hanging out at the Sogeti booth talking to my friend Mike. I also made the rounds checking out the vendors — it seems like at the 2005 launch event there were a lot more…who knows. After the keynote, I ran into Joe Wirtley and ended up hanging with him and Jeremy most of the day. Throughout the day, I ran into a bunch of people from my twitter/blog list including Jason Follas, Dustin Campbell, Jay Wren, Steven Harman, David Redding, Michael “the artist formerly known as MichaelDotNet” Letterle, Josh Holmes, Jeff Blankenburg, Jeff McWherter, Jim Holmes, James Bender…ummm….god, I’m sure there were more…sorry if I missed you. Did I mention that it’s always cool to have someone come up and say, “hey, I follow you on twitter!”
I ended up sitting through a couple of the developer sessions including one given by Brian Prince and Jeff Blankenburg which was pretty entertaining. I saw a couple of new things, but for the most part, I had heard it before. Keith Elder’s session at the end of the day was good, if not a touch too long, but since Brian and Jeff went long, that pushed everything back a few minutes. By the time Keith’s session ended, we were all ready to head out for the Geek Dinner, but it took about 30 minutes for a small group of us to finally get our act together and head out of the building.
50 geeks in a room, talking tech, eating pizza and drinking…it doesn’t get much more fun than that. I sat with MichaelDotNet (dude…you will *always* be known by that name no matter how hard you try), Corey Haines, Jeremy and one other guy….ugh….forgot his name – I know he drove up with Michael and Corey. While the food was good (oh, BTW, a HUGE thanks goes out to Microsoft for picking up the food tab!), the conversation was better. The brainpower in that room was staggering and that was just with Jay, Steven and Dustin. I got a chance to talk to Steven Harman and MichaelDotNet (see…I told you) about an idea I’m working on and finally scored some time (tough to do) with Josh Holmes to discuss the same idea (a follow-up from when I spoke at NWNUG). Look for more on that in a future post. Huge thanks go out to Keith for organizing the geek dinner!
After dinner, about a dozen of us headed over to the MGM for what we hoped would be a long night of winning, but no such luck. Keith, Dustin, Jason, Jeremy and I shared a cab…Keith in the front seat and the rest of us crammed in the back seat like sardines (or clowns). Our time at the casino was short-lived. The craps table was cold, I wasn’t about to sit at a $15 blackjack table and I don’t play slots. After about an hour or so, the group started dissolving as people hit their threshold for losing and hopped back in their cars to head home. The five of us grabbed a cab back to the Ren Cen — this time we scored a van, so it was much less cramped that our trip to the casino. Jeremy and I ended up getting home just after midnight
While the launch event itself was ok and I did score some free software (including Vista Ultimate), 99% of my reason for going was the people I knew I’d see. I was not disappointed. The cool thing is that I’ll probably see most, if not all, of those people on April 19th.