A few people have asked me how Teched NZ compares to Teched Aus. The two conferences share most of the big name session speakers. I thought I’d share my observations on the things that were most noticable to me:
- “The Bag”
- Venue Location
- Exhibition Hall
- The vibe
- The food
“The Bag” – In Aus it’s gotta be one of the most talked about items (other than the sessions). People like to compare each years bag in terms of what they could fit into it, how long it lasted, how it looks etc. There is much discussion and criticism (read whining) about the bag every year. I must say I would not want the job of being the “bag chooser” for Tech Ed. These bags are sponsored by Targus and are really nice laptop backpacks. In NZ, the bags aren’t sponsored so they are the lapsash bag kind. Interestingly I didn’t hear a single person complain about the bag in NZ. So for us Aussies – next year when you think about complaining about the bag remember you’re v. lucky!
TechEd Aus tends to be in a different city every year (or the last few years goes between the Gold Coast and Sydney). This has some nice benefits as it gives different local companies the opportunity to send their employees based on saving in T&E. It also means you potentially get to visit different cities and have different party opportunities. NZ is always in Auckland as it’s the only suitable venue. The venue is a lot smaller than the TechEd venues in Australia. I think the SkyCity venue in Auckland is in a nice location especially if you want a good view of the city.
Exhibition Hall – In Aus this is filled with exhibitors, the Dev Garden, MVP stand, computers with access to comnet to select and evaluate sessions and lots of space to hang out. NZ Market place is a lot smaller. There’s still a number of exhibitors but no room for Dev Garden, MVP stand, comnet access etc. Evals are all paper-based and prizes aren’t awarded for just filling in evals. I think the layout in NZ meant there were always people everywhere and felt very full. A few commented on the fact the paper evals gave them confidence to write what they really thought without someone knowing who they were. These guys have obviously never been speakers and read some of the comments…ppl don’t seem to hold back when it’s electronic either! I think the missing comnet etc. makes you go to more sessions or hang around and talk to people rather than hide on your computer.
HOLS in Aus are manned by many MCTs an d MVPs volunteers. NZ was completely run by Intergen who were very well organised and well staffed. You also couldn’t miss these guys…bright yellow shirts with yellow/black khaki pants.
NZ seemed to have a more friendly, chatty vibe. Maybe the smaller venue forced people into the same space or maybe this was because lots of what were complete strangers to me came up and starting chatting throughout the conference.
Aus has a locknote and exhibitor prizes are usually given away at lunch on the last day. There is no Locknote in NZ. Instead there are farewell drinks and this is where the exhibitors give out their prizes.