Well, I just got back yesterday from my first MIX experience and wanted to write up a recap of the event. Everyone likely came to MIX from a slightly different place, with slightly different expectations, and left with there own feelings on the event. For me, it was a good overall event. It really comes down to 3 things for me. People, Passion, and Content.
I came to MIX knowing almost no one there. I can honestly say I saw only two people I had met before at MIX. One of them, Dave Laribee, I had met just the week before at the Philly ALT.NET meeting and the other was a man who had taught a college class I took many years ago. (I racked my brain trying to figure out who he was and by the time I figured it out, I never saw him again.) So other than talking with Dave again, everyone else I talked with was someone I was meeting for the first time during the event.
While knowing no one was tough, just about everyone I talked with was very nice and I appreciated meeting so many cool people at MIX. There were a few people I had hoped to meet and I ended up getting to talk with most of them. I also met a bunch of people I didn't expect to meet and really enjoyed getting to know them a little as well.
These outside of session conversations where really the best part of MIX. One could not help be feel the passion and energy of some people as they talked about software and what they were working on. It was cool to talk with people who are excited about what they were doing and just really into making great software and experiences. Sharing ideas, discussing issues, and getting insightful feedback with a bunch of people with varied background was awesome.
The Content was good overall. I went to a bunch of sessions and enjoyed most of them. I'm sure the keynotes have been covered, so I won't say too much other than they were cool and that Steve Ballmer was great.
Scott Hanselman's session was very good. He had the only session on ASP.NET MVC. I had hoped to hear more about it at MIX then I did, but this session was just excellent. Scott is an excellent presenter and I'm glad I was able to catch this talk.
I sat in on some of the Astoria (ADO Data Services) sessions and it is a lot cooler than I thought it was coming to the conference. I'm not sure I'll use this in my work, but it really has given me something to think about.
I really enjoyed some of the panel sessions as well. I attended 2 of them and both were interesting. I really enjoyed hearing different views on the same questions. The panelists were well chosen as far as I could see.
The best session I missed was the Story of the Ribbon. You might be wondering how I would know what the best session I missed was, but I'm pretty sure this was it. If you missed it at the conference, go and watch it. (It is only 72 minutes if you skip the Q&A.)
I was sitting at lunch with Jon Galloway who I had met earlier and some others when Miguel de Icaza joins the table. Miguel could not stop telling us how awesome the Ribbon presentation was so I decided I had to see it although I must admit I was still skeptical. Anyway, I watched it today and it rocks. It is all about UI research and the process used to in making the new Office UI. It is very informative and gave me a term to something I often think about when designing UI, Longitudinal Usability. Anyway, this session was so cool I'll likely take time to go back and watch some of the other User Experience track sessions.
If you missed the conference, you should really take the opportunity to watch some of the presentations which are all available over the web.
Well, that is my 2 cents on MIX 08. I'm glad I was able to attend. (and yes, I got to play around with the Surface, and it rocked as well.)