Being at MIX 09 – Virtually

Well, although I didn’t manage to get to MIX09 which is a real shame for me, I managed to persuade the wonderful Betsy (the Blog Queen at Microsoft) to be my guest blogger today and so I could share the sights and sounds of MIX with others who didn’t get a chance to get to Las Vegas this year.  So here are her thoughts for Day 1 of the event.


I promised Eileen her own flavor of sights and sounds of MIX09 for this blog post. For the more “official” description of what I was up to, representing Live Search, you can see here ( But what I hoped to talk about here are the conversations and epiphanies that helped shaped MIX09 for me, especially as I had just come from South by South West (SxSW) which is known for its random, hallway conversations that make all the difference.


One conversation that meant a lot to me came about on Tuesday when I was hanging out with Joel Spolsky, Jeff Atwood, Geoff Dalgas, and Jarrod Dixon as they setup for the first podcast for Joel and Jeff. Geoff and Jarrod and I joked around as we tested the microphones and I waved my arms at the two podcasting presenters. Jeff Atwood (shown duct-taping) has a soft spot for the name Betsy, which is well and good, since I never find enough Betsys around (though I was able to find Betsy Weber of TechSmith at the Tao party).


I admired this blog post of Joel’s about program managers for nailing certain dynamics of software teams, but felt he let the developers off too easily in terms of what level of communication or role respect they should have. It’s true Microsoft sets up this dialectic which makes the program manager’s job one of leading without authority, and that discussion is usually better than “thou shalt make it MY way” for either party, but I worried that Joel really wanted to lay the burden on pms for all the idiosyncrasies of the devs, and, to my relief, I found out he didn’t. Anyway, he was kind enough to discuss it with me while he was winding up long cords to pack up from the podcast.


Readers of Eileen’s blog from the United Kingdom are of course no strangers to the BBC, but one of the highlights of my trip was being able to meet Rain Ashford and Ian Forrester of BBC Backstage. We spent an evening talking about the death of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, media advertising, and social media as well as the shortage of women in the technical fields. The drink in the photo is a Blue Azure, served at the party at Tao for attendees on Wednesday. Rain, Ian, and Betsy Weber and I drank these or some variant thereof at the beginning of the party.


Another great set of conversations (for which I have no pictures) took place Wed night with Molly Holzschlag of and Erica O’Grady at Peanut Butter Media. These two women are honestly powerhouses and it was a privilege to hear them talk about building community, being educators and connectors, and also, the joy of having an amazing waitress (which we did). I hadn’t realized it, but Erica instigated an impromptu party/flash mob at the Driskill Hotel I had attended at SxSW just a few days before. Interestingly, the gentleman sitting with us, William Marc Salsberry, was the photographer that night who had taken a photo of me and Mark Johnson of Powerset standing with Guy Kawasaki at the Driskill. I will be curious to see how his photos, Molly’s photos, and Erica’s photos turn out.

If you did not have the good fortune to attend MIX this year, there’s always next year…you really never know what conversations you will have till you join us!

Live it vivid!

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