Arrived in Boston this morning for my 4th Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. The trip up was uneventful except for running into the Dad on one of Kendall’s classmates at school…who was piloting our plane! Headed to the Hotel (the very nice Westin Waterfront) and had a few conference calls to attend to. After those were done I walked over to the Boston Convention center and walked up to registration. There wasn’t a line and I had my pre-printed barcode so the whole process took about 5 mins. I grabbed some lunch and headed back to my hotel to "field-strip" the bad that was given to me at registration. Let’s just say that there wasn’t much left when I was done.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating that Microsoft spend money foolishly, but…when I first started coming to WWPC 4 years ago we all got nice backpacks and a shirt. 3 years ago it was a big (for the time) 256MB memory stick and a shirt. Last year it was a (crappy) wireless mouse that broke before I left WWPC. And this year it is just the bag. The one other "downgrade" I noticed was that there aren’t signs everywhere announcing the presence of WWPC. In New Orleans, Toronto and Minneapolis you couldn’t turn around without seeing an Microsoft logo. Again, not to say that that was money well spent in years past, but it does make it noticeable now that the organizing committee had a little less budget to work with this year.
I spent the afternoon at the Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 launch. There is some really interesting stuff going on there. It’s just too bad that the team running it still can’t seem to come to grips with the fact that they are now owned by Microsoft. Doug Burgum’s role was very limited and he gave a typical Microsoft speech, which is to say awful for his usual style. It was rushed and scripted and utterly unauthentic…utterly not Doug. Steve B followed up and gave his usual "motivate the troops" pitch. The last presenter (seen below) had a slide that I think was intended as a joke, but still it evokes what is wrong with a lot of these pitches: they’re pitches of features and not conversations.