Microsoft, Do You Respect Me?

I’m writing this while I listen to the keynote at the PASS Summit, thinking about some of the things I’ve seen (and not seen) and thinking about my expectations and whether those expectations are fair.

Awesome. Smooth. Dramatic. Educational. Fun. That’s what I want from a keynote. I want to see that you worked for weeks to put on an hour show that shows me the work that you’re most proud of, and that shows me that you want to wow me. That you respect me enough to put on the very best you can. I’m ok with you showing me new directions you want to go – I need that, but don’t forget that change is slow in our organizations, it can take many years for the newest products and ideas to be adopted by a business.

The keynotes this week haven’t been bad. They are clearly, the decks are elegant, the presentations (mostly) well done. Yet, somehow, at times I feel like you’re talking down to me while simultaneously trying to convince me SQL Server is great. I’m sold already on the latter by the way.

Some things I’d suggest for next year (because I expect Dr Dewitt to nail it tomorrow):

  • Practice with someone in the back row, can they read it? Use Zoomit, or just change the font.
  • Don’t just show us servers, show us some details. Get us interested in HOW you build it so we don’t have to worry about drive failures.
  • Understand the audience. Clearly we’re not all DBA’s and SQL Server is a lot more than OLTP,but we are right now the core audience – don’t make us feel like we’re old news.
  • Great demos help us understand far faster than anything else. It’s fun to have the story,but don’t over do it. Keep it simple, quick.

I’m reading what I’ve written so far. How much difference do those little things make? I think they do matter. I think about how energized we feel after a good demo, that’s what I want, I think that’s what we all want. I enjoy ANY well done demo, even it’s about something I probably won’t use.

Microsoft, if you want to really, really win, you’ve got to look at this through our eyes. Get some bloggers, DBA’s, BI people in the room a week to two early, have them critique it from the back row. I think you might be surprised at the impact that kind of final polish might have on how I perceive your keynote.