Atlanta. Holy cow! Some basic stuff from the top of my fizzling mental processing stack:
- The Hyatt Regency was crap. Great staff. Nice employees. But the building and the rooms are in bad shape for a place of such high reputation. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say we envied the folks staying at the Hilton, Omni, and Sheraton. I could post a list of things that were bad but it's not even worth the effort.
- The Georgia Aquarium is the bomb. Awesome place. Whether you want to move around and see things or just sit and chill in front of an enormous wall of sea life moving in front of you, it's worth a trip to Atlanta just for that.
- The World of Coca Cola was "eh". Mostly a short narrative about the history and some milestones about the company, a lot of nostalgic stuff, then a goofy animation movie (2D, not 3D), and then they release you into an eclectic place with sampling machines of flavors from around the world and then they herd everyone through a giant gift shop with overpriced stuff. Interesting but not awe-inspiring. The Aquarium blows it away.
- Max Lagers is fantastic. Great place with some great beer and a cool old-brick Boston pub atmosphere. The staff is outstanding and friendly too.
- Georgia World Congress Center: interesting. BIG. Spread out. Confusing. A wide range of restrooms, from itty-bitty things to great big things. Overall, the restrooms were not very good and poorly designed and not built to handle a massive conference like Tech-Ed. However, the services staff was outstanding. Every morning we were greated with a line of cheers and greetings and smiling faces. All of their staff were helpful and friendly. That alone overcomes any structural complaints. The food was pretty decent as well.
- Microsoft's event planning was understated. How they managed to move 10,000 people from 84 countries from hotels to the GWCC, through breakfast and lunch and expo events is unbelievable. Nobody really mentioned that, but when you stop to think of what kind of logistical planning that took it is simply incredible. Everything went smoothly of course.
- Atlanta is a cool town. Confusing to navigate, but cool. I hope to revisit again and learn more about the place.
I plan on posting a follow-up on this with more of what I learned and what I did during the week at Tech-Ed 2011.