MIX09%20Logo Yes, I’m still alive, and no, the rumors about the PDC Hard Hat Challenges melting my brain are false (it was only a minor contusion). The good news is that I’ve fully recovered, and I’m now focused on our upcoming MIX09 event in Las Vegas! This time around, I play the role of MIX09 Keynote Owner. That basically means that I’m responsible for driving the process that we use to determine what our story is this year, who we’d like on stage, which customers and partners we want to feature, how we organize and tell our story, and the practical matters and logistics around making it happen. It’s a group effort, and I depend on a brilliant and passionate keynote team to get the job done.

But enough about me.

MIX09 is going to be an amazing event, and it’s our job to deliver a return on your investment to attend. We understand that the economy is forcing everyone to re-evaluate the benefits of taking time away from the office, let alone the travel and expense to fly to Las Vegas in the first place. Based on my years of experience working side-by-side with customers and partners in the field, I know that you may only be able to attend one event (period) each year. And for many of you, attending any event at all is often a benefit or perk. Not only is it in your best interest to attend the “correct” event given your role, but it’s also in our best interest to ensure that we attract an audience that aligns with the content we produce. To help you make the best decision, it may help to watch this 4-minute video where I quickly explain the benefits of the conference. To hear the benefits from one of our partners, watch this interview with Scott Stanfield, the CEO of Vertigo Software. Finally, if you register by February 13th, save $400 by using the “MIX09offer“ RSVP code.

There are a lot of exciting things going on at MIX09, and I’d like to list a few of my favorites here:

  • Scott Guthrie, a MIX veteran, is going to keynote again this year. Scott is a fantastic speaker, and he always receives amazing attendee feedback. Check out his keynote from MIX08, then use your spider-sense to extrapolate what he might announce or reveal this year. I’m not telling. At least not yet.
  • Bill Buxton was just announced as our second keynote speaker. I could try to summarize Bill in a sentence or two, but I can guarantee that it wouldn’t come close to doing him justice. Go grab a fresh cup of coffee, close the door to your office, and watch some of the videos on Bill’s site. He is a champion for user experience (among many other things) and is the author of the highly-regarded book, Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design.
  • The sessions. Not all of the sessions have been posted yet (we’ll end up with over 100), but a few that interest me are: What's New in Microsoft Silverlight 3 by Joe Stegman, The Future of Microsoft Expression Blend by Douglas Olson, Integrating Microsoft Expression Blend with Adobe Creative Suite by Joanna Mason (I’m an Adobe user too), and C# for Designers by Jennifer Smith and Fred Gerantabee. Honestly, there are too many great sessions to choose from. But I guess you’d expect me to say that, wouldn’t you? :-)
  • MIX 10K Smart Coding Challenge. I should have blogged this one earlier, since the entry deadline is January 30th, 2009. The grand prize winner receives a pass to MIX09, 3 nights at The Venetian Hotel and a $1,500 USD Visa gift card. Sweet. Even if you don’t enter, it’s fun looking through the gallery of submissions. Make sure you vote for your favorites and leave a comment or two. Since Genetic Algorithms hold a special place in my heart, I’m a big fan of Rick Barraza’s submission.

Also, by popular request, Jennifer Ritzinger and I are back with our weekly (or so) video series, Countdown to MIX09. I don’t have a single link to all of the episodes, but I’ll list a few of them here. They’re all around 10 minutes in length, and if you subscribe to the MIX news feed, you’ll hear about them when they’re published.

If you have suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us address on future episodes, send some e-mail to mix09 (at) microsoft.com. I promise that we’ll read everything you send, and we always try to reply.

Thanks for taking the time to read this long overdue post, and I hope to see you at the event!