This time next week, the Microsoft training community will converge on Houston Texas for the annual TechEd training event. Of course Telerik will be there, and we have some surprises for attendees who make it out to see us. Personally, this is my fifth TechEd event, and I've had a blast learning and meeting new friends at each one. Before you pack and get ready to go, I'd like to share some tips and tricks that I've learned over my time at this event.

Be Ready to Take Notes

When you register at the TechEd registration booths, you'll receive a backpack with all kinds of goodies inside. Among those contents will be a paper tablet. Be ready to fill that with notes about all kinds of things that you will see and learn at the event. I've gotten a sneak peek at the keynote, and you will DEFINITELY want to be taking notes. Microsoft has stepped it up, and you will learn about almost two dozen product announcements during this show.

Leave Space when Packing!

All attendees will be receiving the highly sought after TechEd backpack. Therefore, you're going to want to leave some space in your luggage for that backpack and any other goodies that you might collect while at this event. Monday night is the expo center reception, a prime time to collect some neat swag from the vendors at TechEd.

There are all kinds of crazy prizes given away at this event. Last year, I won an XBox 360 and had to figure out how to get it home. There are shipping services available, and that's how I got my XBox home from New Orleans.

Keep an eye out for the Telerik team at and around the event. We've got t-shirts, stickers, and other cool give aways that you'll want to get your hands on.

Pack comfortable shoes, and don't forget that Fitbit!

TechEd is a massive event, larger than any other technical training conference in the United States. You will be walking, and your feet will get sore. Don't take this advice lightly, make sure you have comfortable shoes. Ladies, if you have a killer pair of shoes you want to wear on the expo floor or during meetups later in the day, you may want to bring a bag to carry them to the convention center, and then check your bag at the event concierage. They're good people, and you can stop by for a quick change when you need it.

I'm a nut with the Fitbit, always watching and pushing how many paces I'm logging each day. If you're using any kind of fitness monitoring tech, be sure to bring it because you may set some records with the distances you will be covering. That also brings me to my next point of advice...

Chargers, AC Adapters, and Wiring for Success!

You're going to a technical conference, so be sure to bring your laptop or 2-in-1 tablet device. More than remembering to pack those devices, make sure you bring power adapters for everything. Several months ago, I traveled to a conference in Ohio and completely forgot my power adapters for my laptop and phone. Luckily, a friend in the area was able to help me out. In Houston, the Microsoft store should be able to help you out if you forget anything, but that's not how you should be spending your time at this event.

Dont' forget the power adapters for your phone, tablets, e-readers, fitness devices, headsets, medical devices, and any other toys that you decide to bring. Personally, I like to store my cables in a clear plastic bag and tie each cable together in a small bundle. Don't bring micro-USB cables for everything that you are bringing. Figure out how you can optimize that collection. For example: my phone, tablet, and bluetooth headsets all charge with the same micro-USB cables. I'm only bringing two, as I can only charge two items at a time.

To our international friends visiting the United States: make sure you get your hands on a proper AC converter for your tech gear so that you can use our silly American power outlets. Don't bring just one adapter either. When I'm traveling to Europe, I like to bring two: one for my laptop, one for my phone or tablet. I can charge the phone or tablet off of the laptop using my USB cables, so I'm good there.

Batteries... your life-blood at 5pm

You will be using your tech a lot during the conference. If you're like

 me, you'll be on Twitter and Facebook posting selfies with all of the cool folks you meet up with. Before you leave home, grab a Mophie or other battery backup that you can plug that phone or tablet into late in the afternoon or early evening. The worst thing that can happen to you at an event like this is to find yourself in an unfamiliar city and no access to GPS or directions to get you back to your hotel.

Charge early... and charge often.

Break Out of that Introvert Mindset and Meet People!

There are thousands of people at this event, and most of them have never met you before. Put your best foot forward and be ready to meet new friends. No one at TechEd is going to be angry or nasty to you, no matter how silly your haircut is. Trust me, I've been known for bad haircuts.

The Microsoft staff is there to meet you and share their accomplishments with you. Some of the people that you will meet in the Microsoft Solutions Experience area of the show are the people who built the tools that you love, or love to hate. They want to hear your feedback, look for the Microsoft staff identified by the blue shirts. As someone who works with these teams on a regular basis, I can tell you that they are all down to earth and really want to talk to you about your questions and experiences using their software.

There are parties every evening so that you can meet and network with other attendees, vendors, and Microsoft staff. Telerik is hosting an amazing bash on Tuesday night, and you'll want to get an invite to come check it out! Look for me in the Microsoft Solutions Experience booths, by the Azure and ASP.NET teams. I'll be wearing a purple speaker shirt and have one of my uber-cool black Telerik hats on. I'd like to meet YOU, and learn more about how you are using Telerik controls, our Platform, Azure, and ASP.NET to make your job easier.

Wednesday night, stop by the Visual Studio Mixology party at Lucky's and try a Telerik Ultimate Experience Gin & Tonic

Its a Social Media Extravaganza!

Twitter has become a huge second-stream of information at and around events like TechEd in the past few years. Make sure you are watching the #TechEd2014 and #TelerikTechEd hashtags on Twitter for details about sessions, side-events, and other happenings during the conference.

Don't be afraid to ask for a selfie with any of the Telerik crew you meet there. In fact, we're going to have a selfie contest during the show and the rules are dead simple:

  • Take a selfie with a Teleriker in attendance. We'll all be wearing some black Telerik gear in and around the show.
  • The Telerik logo must be visible in the photo
  • Post the photo to Twitter with the #TelerikTechEd hashtag

Our esteemed group of judges will review the photos and announce their pick as the best selfie of TechEd. The orignal twitter account that posted that photo will receive a complimentary DevCraft Complete license! That's every Telerik developer control, KendoUI widget, and Just productivity tool for your use -- FREE!

Watch our Telerik Twitter feed for about this and other cool events during the show.


TechEd is a huge event. There is plenty to see and do, and you don't want to be on the sidelines for any of it. Follow these hints and you'll have a great time at the show. At Telerik, we want you to leave a conference like TechEd with a renewed excitement and vigor about what you can accomplish.

About the Author

Jeffrey T. Fritz

Jeffrey T. Fritz is a Microsoft MVP in ASP.Net and an ASPInsider with more than a decade of experience writing and delivering large scale multi-tenant web applications. After building applications with ASP, ASP.NET and now ASP.NET MVC, he is crazy about building web sites for all sizes on any device. You can read more from Jeffrey on his personal blog or on Twitter at @csharpfritz. Google Profile


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