An interesting experiment from Microsoft tonight. They brought 8 or 9 bloggers/press people from around the country to Redmond for a 3 hours briefing/wine tasting. We were picked up from the airport, taken to a hotel in Bellevue and then shuttled to the Commons building on the Microsoft campus. It’s a rather amazing building, with the feel of an upscale mall food court inside where Microsofties can eat, get their hair done, and even do a little shopping.
We were meeting in a rather amazing set of private rooms at one end. It was called the Great Room, and reserved by appointment.
It had a receptionist, and we had to give her our names to get access, even though we were a groups escorted by Microsoft people. It seemed a little silly, but we did it and then stood in front of a great door, easily 4ft wide and 9-10ft tall. We stood, and stood, and finally it opened.
By sliding! In true Star Trek fashion, it slid into a pocket noiselessly and we entered to find a large lounge area, with couches, TVs on all walls, and a crew doing video and still photography. There was a separate room with two XBOXs, a Surface computer, and a lot of wine set up on a bar, complete with attendants. We also had a small alcove with food set out. All in all, a rather impressive gathering.
Lots of wood trim, as you can see above, and even a great picture that Andy Warren pointed out to me.
Don’t recognize it? Maybe this small caption in the lower right corner will help.
Silly, but we’re geeks, right? And it got me to take a few pictures.
We had some wine and Donald Farmer (@donalddotfarmer) started the type of presentation that I’d like to see more of. This was his first slide.
Not a great technical briefing, but it was a chance for him to summarize why they built R2 as they did, and give a nice overview of what was included. Dan Jones helped, and for the most part I think it provided a framework for us to talk about the product later, but with a slide like the one above every 2-3 slides, and a new wine appearing, we were joking and harassing each other more than we were talking seriously. There was one serious journalist there from Forrester, but for the most part we were geeks. Myself, Andy Warren, Denny Cherry, Jen and Sean McCown, Jorge Segerra, and Bill Graziano.
We tweeted quite a bit, and it was fun to see tweets pop up on the side large screens. A few people had laptops, and it was a fun group of Microsofties. Donald, Dan, Buck Woody, and a few other bloggers from the SQL team.
We had a hashtag, #sqlr2, and there was a fun stream, but not a lot of response outside of the room. I think that was one failing in that we didn’t schedule this to start at 10 or 11am PST so that people around the country could respond to our posts. Here’s a snippet of the stream from near the end of the night.
It was a fun time, I got to see some friends, and even Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp stopped by later on. The seven of us guests went out to dinner, chatted, and had fun. It was good to catch up, and debate a little on SQL Server, the community, PASS, and more.
I think this was a good event for me, I did a short video interview (not sure where that might appear). There are pictures on Facebook from the event, and I have a few things that I’ll be writing about here in the next few months as R2 launches and the SQL community becomes hungry for more information. As much as I am traveled out for the time being, this was a good event and I think it was worth two days of travel.