Attending Build 2015 – What It Meant To Me

Originally posted on:


Being able to attend //build/ last week was a dream come true. In the 18 years that I have worked in the industry, this was the first time I was able to attend a major Microsoft conference. In the past, when working as a full time employee, I had never received approval from employers for this type of professional development. Being a consultant changed the playing field. I didn’t need to ask anyone for permission, or have someone else approve the cost. I didn’t have to beg, bargain and plea for the time off. I was the requester and approver all rolled into one. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass me by. I had a feeling this was THE year to be in San Francisco, instead of watching it from the comfort of my home. Within 45 minutes, registration to //build/ was at max capacity with myself being among the many that were lucky enough to have processed the registration in time.

“Why spend all that money to go in person when you can watch it online?”

This was a question I often heard when discussing the upcoming conference. Yes, the cost of the registration and travel expenses combined are not for the faint of heart, including the days of lost wages for a consultant. But for me, this was well worth the expense. This was all before I even knew what I was getting myself into. And now, after returning from a glorious week in sunny San Francisco, truth be told, how do I feel? Thankful, excited, and rejuvenated.

Thankful that I had the opportunity to go, and was able to cover my own expenses to do so. Life is short, and often throws you a curveball when you least expect it. Seeing as how this year the stars aligned perfectly in my favour, I grabbed the bull by the horns and registered without hesitation. Who knows if I’ll have the chance next year or the year after that? I wasn’t going to let this one pass me by.

Excited over the opportunities that are on the forefront for .NET Developers with Windows 10, Azure, and Office 365. Did your heart skip a beat when Joe Belfiore showed off Continuum for Windows Phone? Mine did. Did you drool at the HoloLens demo and wish you were the one walking around the stage, pinning virtual items to the wall, talking to a robot, and manipulating 3D holograms in real time? I sure did. Did you envision the potential opportunities for all Microsoft developers when seeing what Azure, Office 365, and the Windows 10 platform has to offer? Ditto for me.

Rejuvenated after having spent a week with other professionals that share the same passion and excitement for not only what we do now, but for the possibilities that are open to us in the very near future.

If I had decided to stay home, I wouldn’t have:

1) Met Charles Petzold and scored a signed hard copy of his new book

WP_20150428_014 WP_20150429_015

2) Tried on the HoloLens!!!!

3) Participated in a focus group to provide valuable feedback and make my voice heard

4) Met up with people I’ve only communicated with over Twitter prior to this conference – Jason Young (MS Dev Show), Omer Raviv (OzCode), Stephen Keefer (Accuweather), Mark MacDonnell (Sela Canada), Sid Gurjar (Accuweather)

5) Reconnected with some of my favourite MVPs who I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to talk to face-to-face otherwise – Laurent Bugnion, René Schulte, Ginny Caughey, Carl Schweitzer, Jan Hannemann, Sébastien Lachance, Brian Lagunas, Rob Irving, Oren Novotny, Mark Schramm, Paras Wadehra and the list goes on and on

WP_20150428_002  WP_20150428_005

WP_20150429_017 WP_20150428_008

6) Attended the many awesome parties that were put on by Xamarin, Infragistics, and MicrosoftWP_20150428_010

7)  Hung out with my local colleagues and friends, who I rarely get a chance to see in person because we are all crazy busy otherwise – Tom Walker (London .NET Dev Group), Richard Underwood (fellow ObjectSharpie), David Totzke (fellow ObjectSharpie and co-author)

8) Met and had lunch with an editor from O’Reilly (thanks Brian!)

9) Shared the experience with friends over which session to see next, being collectively enamored with the “ooh” and “ahh” moments over the new APIs we learned about in the deep dive sessions, and been part of our post-session discussions as we compared notes and speculated on what opportunities this could bring.

In short…

The //build/ conference isn’t just about the sessions you see on Channel 9. There is so much more to it than that. The ability to participate in focus groups, to voice your opinions on the marketing, direction or usability of a product – whether it be Visual Studio, Windows 10, and yes even HoloLens, is by far one of the most compelling reasons to attend. The networking opportunities to meet new people, who share the same interest and excitement as you do is always worthwhile. It’s refreshing to connect with others face-to-face rather than through the online medium we’ve become accustomed to. There’s no replacement for that, believe you me.

GuardiansMailerIf you live in the GTA…

…then pencil off May 13th in your calendar, and make a point to join me and my fellow ObjectSharp colleagues at this year’s At The Movies event at the Bell TIFF Lightbox in downtown Toronto, where we will recap the highlights from //build/. It’s free, fun, and highly informative. Don’t miss out on yet another awesome event! Visit to register today!

Source: GeekswithBlogs – Lori Lalonde