As most of you know, I tend to spend a little time on social networks like Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn. On one of those networks, Ken Simmons sent the following thought: “One hour sessions give you great ideas you can explore; full day sessions give you in depth knowledge you can use.” He was talking about the difference in a one-hour session and an all-day event at the Professional Association of SQL Server (PASS) summit.
He brings up a great point. Many sessions at a technical conference have a “level” associated with them – 100 for beginners through 400 for advanced topics. This can be challenging – if you give a 400-level presentation, you have to assume a great deal of knowledge on the part of the audience, and in one hour you can only cover something very specific at that level. For instance, you could cover in one hour the details of how the locking mechanism works, but only in specific circumstances.
An all-day (or at least more than a few hours) workshop, on the other hand, allows you to start with the basics and move all the way to some fairly advanced information. When you think about it, it’s where you spend the time, in-class or on your own. The issue is when you forget this, and believe that a speaker can get you from 100 to 400 level in one hour – it just doesn’t work like that.
I’ve got an article here on how to attend a technical conference. Might be worth a look.