Category Archives: Announcements

PowerShell.org Free eBook Transition


Over the past few weeks, Matt Penny has been busy moving our free eBooks into their new home on Penflip. Code, when available, is located in our GitHub repo, and modules will soon be available in the PowerShell Gallery for downloading via Install-Module.

Penflip is a Markdown-based editing system backed by GitHub. This means anyone can contribute corrections, additional material, and so on – which will make it easier to maintain these great books over time. You can download ebooks directly from Penflip in a variety of e-book formats. We’re now focused on electronic formats, rather than traditional page-based layout, although PDF is still an available download option if you want to make a hardcopy.

The conversion from Word to Markdown was challenging and largely manual, so if you run across formatting problems (especially with code), we absolutely appreciate your help in fixing those. Simply “branch” the book, creating your own copy of the project. Make corrections, and then submit those back to the master branch. Approvals are manual, so give us a few days to review what you’ve done and merge it into the master.

Massive thanks to Matt for all the long hours making this conversion happen, and to the folks who’ve submitted cover art for the new books.

PowerShell Summit NA 2015 Agenda changes


We’ve had to make some minor changes to the Summit agenda – the revised schedule is shown on the event web site – http://eventmgr.azurewebsites.net/event/home/PSNA15

Announcing our 2015 PowerShell Heroes


The nominations are in, and the votes are tallied!

PowerShell Heroes is our way of recognizing the people who are making significant contributions to the PowerShell community, but who haven’t received any other formal recognition (such as Microsoft’s MVP Award). In many cases, these are the rising stars we hope to see receive an MVP someday, but in all cases they’re out there, working hard to make a difference. They were nominated by their peers, and selected by the 2014 PowerShell Hero honorees.

We’ve got nine PowerShell Heroes this year, so without further ado:

$heroes | Get-Random -Count $heroes.Count
  • Stéphane Van Gulick (@stephanevg):  Stéphane’s blog http://powershelldistrict.com got a lot of attention in this year’s nominations. He’s also organizing a PowerShell User Group, and has several useful PowerShell scripts that are freely available to download.
  • Adam Bertram (@adbertram):  Adam is also an extremely active blogger. His main site is http://www.adamtheautomator.com/ , but we’ve also seen articles from him on MCPMag. Aside from the general PowerShell love, Adam’s sharing a ton of knowledge about how to use PowerShell in tandem with System Center ConfigMgr, and he’s got some great career- and community-focused content as well.
  • Micky Balladelli got a ton of love from the French-speaking PowerShell community this year, receiving more nominations than any other individual. His blog can be found at https://balladelli.com , and in particular, his “First Steps” article (https://balladelli.com/premiers-pas/) has been praised for helping systems administrators to learn PowerShell, even those who are completely new to scripting / programming. Toujours PowerShell!
  • Mike Laughlin:  As far as we can tell, Mike is actually a robot, who needs no sleep and is dedicated to helping people out on the TechNet forums. Seriously, the man’s racked up over fifty thousand points in less than two years, with more than half of his posts being tagged as either answers or helpful by the community. However, it’s not just about the numbers. His posts are friendly and he follows up on them, and it’s extremely common to see posters making comments like this in his threads: “Sweet! This is EXACTLY what I’m looking for, Thank you so much!”  https://social.technet.microsoft.com/profile/mike%20laughlin/
  • Nickolaj Andersen (@NickolajA):  Like Adam, Nickolaj has a particular focus on System Center ConfigMgr (as you might have guessed from his blog URL: http://www.scconfigmgr.com/ .) However, that involves lots of PowerShell, and there’s plenty of it on his blog (including many free scripts for download.) What we saw in his nominations, though, was how much time Nickolaj puts into personal communication with the community: emails, Skype chats, you name it. He’s out there, helping people to get things done.
  • Matt Johnson (@mwjcomputing):  Matt is the founder of the Southeast Michigan PowerShell User Group, and the lead developer of the PoshSec security framework. He’s heavily involved in communities – speaking and volunteering at conferences, doing podcasts, etc. – for both Systems Administration and Infosec. (something which, frankly, we all need to learn more about. Been paying attention to the news for the last year or two?) His blog can be found at http://www.mwjcomputing.com/ .
  • Bob McCoy is constantly helping people to solve problems over at powershell.com and SpiceWorks. At any given time, you can fire up the http://community.spiceworks.com/programming/powershell or http://powershell.com/cs/forums/230.aspx forums, and we’d be very surprised if you didn’t see multiple threads with “Latest post by Bob McCoy” listed in both.
  • June Blender (@juneb_get_help):  If you use PowerShell, June has helped you, whether you know it or not! When she worked for Microsoft, she was responsible for much of the built-in documentation that we get by running the Get-Help command. She’s also always been active in blog posts and on Twitter, spreading the joy of PowerShell. These days, she’s a Technology Evangelist over at SAPIEN, where she continues to do so.
  • Craig Duff is extremely active in the PowerShell forums over at SpiceWorks, usually the first person to respond to questions there. His solutions have been praised as clean, efficient and easy to understand, and there are lots and lots of them! (437 posts marked as “Best Answer”, as of this writing). His blog can be found at http://switch.nfshost.com/.

Congratulations to our 2015 PowerShell Heroes!!

Our eBook Transition – and Your Chance to Contribute!


We’re in the process of migrating our free ebook collection over to Penflip, an online, Git-based collaborative authoring and publishing tool. Matt Penny has taken the lead in converting our Word documents to the Markdown syntax used by Penflip, and as you can see on our ebooks page, most of the titles now have an initial version in Penflip.

One neat thing about Penflip is that anyone can register for a free account, fork one of our projects, and make their own modifications. You can then submit your changes back to the master branch, so we can incorporate your changes into the ebook. This will make it easy for everyone in the community to suggest new content, offer corrections, and so on. I encourage you to help out – right now, you may simply notice some flaws from the semi-automated and fully hellish Markdown conversion, and we’d love your assistance in correcting those.

Penflip also supports on-demand downloads of each ebook in a variety of common formats, including EPUB, PDF, and more. That means you’ll always be able to grab the latest version of your favorite ebook. We’ve not yet migrated the source code that goes with some of the ebooks; the plan is to move those into our GitHub repo over the next week.

Penflip will be enabling the next generation of our ebooks, including a massive new DSC title I plan to begin working on in 2015.

Thanks for any help you can provide, and I hope you continue to find the ebooks helpful!

Final PowerShell Summit NA 2015 Inventory Available


An additional 35 seats have been opened for PowerShell Summit NA 2015, as of 10am PT 2015-01-11. This will be the final block of inventory available for the event, which will host around 140 total people.

If you click over and there are no registration options, it’s because it sold out.

Let’s Make a PowerShell Job Interview Quiz. C’mon and Help.


The folks at Smarterer have agreed to let us – that’s all of us, as in “The PowerShell Community” – build a sort of “exam” for people to prove their PowerShell Proficiency. And I need your help to do it!

Step 1, you need to be pretty decent with PowerShell yourself. Not Level 12 Guru Level, mind you, but you should be working with it daily. Most of this book should make sense to you.

Step 2, you need to download my Quiz Question Writing Guide (It’s all of 1 page) and Topic List. PowerShell Quiz Guidelines is the download. Go on, I’ll wait.

Step 3, you need to sign up, using your e-mail address, and let me know you’re interested in helping. What you’re volunteering to do is, over the course of February 2015, write at least 20 questions. That’s about 2 questions per category. You’re also agreeing to help peer-review the questions other folks write, so we can spot the stinkers. Signups are due by January 20th 2015.

<blink>Go here to register!</blink>

BTW, 20 questions total is only about 1 per day. You could totally do 5 per day if you made an effort. Think about PowerShell questions you’d ask during a job interview, to tell if someone knew their stuff or was merely a poser. We cannot have too many good questions. 

Now for the good news there are prizes! Pluralsight is offering a prizes to the top net question contributors (“net contributor” means the number of questions you write that survive peer review and are accepted by the Quiz Captain).

  • 1st place: $200 Amazon gift card and 6 months of access to the entire Pluralsight library
  • 2nd place: $100 Amazon gift card and 3 months of access to the entire Pluralsight library
  • 3rd place: $50 Amazon gift card and 1 month of access to the entire Pluralsight library

We’re also looking for a Quiz Captain, so when you register, indicate if you’re willing to take on that role. There’s only one, and you’re exempt from the prize (that’s what you get for stepping up). You’re in charge of final acceptance on all questions that go into the final pool – not so much for technical accuracy, but for being well-written.

Disclosures: You’ll be using an online authoring tool called Flock, which means your registration e-mail address (which you provide) will be provided to Smarterer, so they can load you into the tool and send you an access invite via e-mail. Your e-mail will also be used to contact you about the project, and regarding any prizes you may earn.

WHY? Well, the idea is that we’re all getting to a point where we’ll need to hire PowerShell sk1llz. Rather than us all concocting our own job interviews, this’ll act as a kind of central, crowdsourced job interview you could direct a job candidate to. Yes, some of you will also ask for a more in-depth interview, perhaps offering a coding challenge or something – that’s awesome. This is just the first stage you could use. The exam will be available free of charge to anyone who wants to take it, anytime, ever. And it can be updated and evolved as the technology, and our business needs, evolve.

PowerShell Summit Europe 2015–topic submissions


Topic submissions for the PowerShell Summit Europe are still open. If you want to be considered as a speaker please submit your topic very soon.

At the moment there aren’t enough submissions to enable us to put on a quality event. The 2014 European Summit was an excellent event with many good sessions – now is the time to submit your sessions. We need your sessions.

We have a policy of accepting sessions from new speakers as well as established experts. It’s not who you are but the quality of the session that counts.

Details on how to submit session proposals are available here

http://powershell.org/wp/2014/11/24/call-for-presentations-for-powershell-summit-europe-2015/

Please submit your proposals soon as we can’t run the European PowerShell Summit without them! As a note, we are confirmed for Stockholm (or within a a short subway ride of Stockholm) for the timeframe indicated, although we don’t have the exact venue yet. It’s important that we get sessions lined up soon, so that we can begin general registration.

VERIFIED EFFECTIVE Exams to be Held at PowerShell Summit NA 2015


Although we have decided to discontinue the online VERIFIED EFFECTIVE exams (as outlined previously), the organization has decided to offer the exams as a live, proctored event at the PowerShell Summit North America 2015. If all goes well, this could become a regular Summit offering.

Details:

  • You must be registered to attend the Summit.
  • There is no additional charge to sit the exam.
  • You may not already hold a valid VERIFIED EFFECTIVE certificate.
  • You will be given a written assignment and 45 minutes to complete it.
  • You must bring your own laptop running any version of PowerShell (v2+).
  • Your laptop must be capable of running on battery for the duration of the exam.
  • You may use the Internet and other online resources; you may not discuss anything with anyone else.
  • You must either bring a USB flash drive to turn in your work. The drive will be returned to you immediately.
  • Grading will happen overnight, and you will be notified via e-mail. If you pass, you will be able to use the VERIFIED EFFECTIVE website to download an e-certificate. We will plan to maintain the e-certificate website through at least the end of 2016.

This offering will be limited to 65 people. Although there is no charge, you will be required to pre-register to ensure we do not overcommit the room capacity. Registration information will be sent via e-mail to all registered attendees on April 1st, 2015. Registration for the exam will be first-come, first-served.

We will not be able to accommodate individuals who are not registered to attend the Summit. That policy may change in the future, but for now that’s the policy and there will be no exceptions. We have not yet made a decision about offering this for future Summit events – this is a trial, and we will gauge interest and results before making further decisions or commitments.

This exam will be the VERIFIED EFFECTIVE PowerShell Toolmaker program, in which you will be asked to write one or more advanced functions that comply with a set of specifications and exhibit a specified set of behaviors.

The day prior to the exam offering, a lunchtime briefing will be given for anyone taking the exam. During the briefing, you will receive specifics about the exam process, the grading criteria, and so on.

[UPDATED] PowerShell Summit N.A. 2015 – Additional Capacity


UPDATED: We’ve moved the date to January 11th in the below; we’ll need some additional time to get the capacity opened up, and moving a bit past the holidays was needed.

We will be opening approximately 35-40 additional spaces for PowerShell Summit N.A. 2015. This change will be made sometime in the evening of January 11th, 2015, and the additional spaces will be first-come, first-served. Registration will be via PayPal only at this stage. There will be no additional capacity released after these spaces are taken.

The Future of PowerShell.org’s VERIFIED EFFECTIVE Program


As many of you know, we’ve offered a VERIFIED EFFECTIVE exam program to help formally vet someone’s skills as a PowerShell “Toolmaker.” The exam focused on your ability to create advanced PowerShell tools that follow standard shell practices and patterns. We made the exam available to Association of Windows PowerShell Professionals members, meaning anyone who attended a PowerShell Summit could participate; you could also purchase exam credits a la carte.

We’ve unfortunately had very little uptake on the program. Fewer than 20% of those eligible to take the exam ever registered to do so, and of those who registered only 10% actually took the exam. We did have a pass rate in excess of 90%, but with such a small sampling we don’t feel it’s statistically significant.

The program takes real, monetary resources and human time to run, including a full Windows virtual machine that has to be spun up to grade the exams (scripts are graded using an automated process that actually runs them in a sandboxed environment), and including dedicated time from a small panel of experts who review each exam submission. Those resources could be better deployed to help provide benefit to a much larger portion of the community, and so we are announcing the phase-out of the VERIFIED EFFECTIVE program.

Effective February 1st 2015, all existing vouchers will be cancelled, and no new ones will be generated. That means, effective February 1st, there will be no new exams administered. If you have a voucher with applicability beyond that date, it will no longer be valid. If you paid for that voucher a la carte, please contact us for a refund.

The website allowing you to generate a completion certificate will remain online until January 1st, 2016. By that time, most existing certificates will have expired. If you completed the exam, you should download and archive your certificate prior to that date. On January 1st, 2016, the program will be completely removed.

We knew going into it that this program might not get significant uptake. Not being offered by Microsoft reduces its visibility and, to a large degree, its credibility with employers. Offering an exam of this nature is expensive and resource-intensive, and for a small organization like ours that means passing on a significant cost to candidates, which many cannot afford. Further, Microsoft has continued to blend PowerShell into all of its IT Pro-centric certification exams, so PowerShell does indeed have some domain-specific coverage in the certification space.

We are instead going to work with the folks at Smarterer.com to formalize, beef up, and publish their crowdsourced PowerShell exam. That exam is in its infancy, but PowerShell.org is already in communications with the Smarterer team to create a more reliable, formal exam that incorporates the community’s best ideas about how to verify someone’s PowerShell effectiveness.

Thanks very much for your support, and we look forward to serving you in new ways in 2015!

PowerShell Summit N.A. 2015 Status Update & Info


As of this post, PowerShell Summit North America 2015 is full, and registration has been cut off. We’re taking some time to confirm our numbers and venue capacity; if we’re able to open additional seats, that will happen in January 2015. We will allow any additional capacity to be registered until one month prior to the Summit, or until it sells out, whichever comes first. We do not maintain a waiting list; please check here and on the @PSHSummit Twitter feed for any announcements.

For those already registered, we do not have any official hotel recommendations. You’re welcome to use the Summit Forum to see where others are staying, or to arrange for carpooling or other stuff. We certainly encourage all attendees to check the Forum for Q&A and other discussion – it’s never too early to start getting involved. On the hotel front, just look for hotels in downtown Charlotte, or near Microsoft Charlotte, based on your preferences. The reason there’s no official hotel is that there are numerous business-class hotels nearby, and after a close call last year we didn’t want to take the financial risk of booking out a room block.

Our intent at this time is to book the venue to fire code capacity, which is why we may be able to open additional slots after we confirm everything. That means both venue rooms will be full at all times. You will not be permitted to stand or sit in the aisles, back of the room, or block the doorways. If the session you hoped to attend is full, you’ll need to go to the other one. Keep in mind we’re recording everything, so you won’t miss out entirely.

The last sessions on all three days will only have a single session. We’ll position the speaker in one of the two rooms, and we’ll live-stream to the other room. This is where we plan to put Jeffrey Snover’s talks, both to accommodate what has historically been high interest in his sessions, and to accommodate his total inability to do a session in only 45 minutes :). If you don’t get a chair in the “live” room, you’ll need to join from the “overflow” room.

The two rooms are actually in different buildings, separated from each other by a driveway/courtyard arrangement. We’re suggesting that you not bring your ginormous 21″ laptop, since it’ll just drag you down moving between sessions. Maybe stick with a Surface if you want to take notes and stuff. Although we’re recording everything, so… you know. Maybe just enjoy the session.

Lunches will be taken in the session rooms, with buffet setups in the hallways just outside each room.

Stay tuned for further details, and please use the Summit forum to ask questions.

JOB POSTING: Help us Run PowerShell.org


[UPDATE: We’ve gotten an outpouring of responses – I’m literally a bit teary-eyed right now – so I’ll work with the existing set of volunteers and post again should everyone realize what we’re asking and go running for the hills!]

We’re looking for a volunteer to take over regular maintenance of the PowerShell.org website. We may even have a small budget to make this a paid-contractor gig. Trick being, it’s gotta be done regularly. 

The specifics:

  • Set up new user groups with pages (as needed)
  • Approve/Delete forums posts that are held for moderation (daily – this doesn’t happen often, though)
  • Moderate blog comments (daily)
  • Approve community-submitted calendar events (weekly)
  • Assist TechLetter team with setting up Forums topics for discussing upcoming TechLetter articles (monthly)
  • Identify Forums posts that have gone unanswered; raise awareness and recruit answers (often via Twitter) (at least weekly)

We’re not looking for this person to do actual WordPress maintenance at this stage. However, if you’re interested and do have WordPress experience, we could potentially tack that on. It wouldn’t be much more than approving WordPress and plugin updates on a scheduled basis, although we do have one PHP code hack that has to be maintained after core WordPress updates.

If you’re interested, please e-mail Admin right here at PowerShell.org. We’re hoping to have someone start in January. We’d obviously love a volunteer to step in and be our hero; if it goes well, we can divert some budget to making it a permanent gig. We know that sometimes the family finds it easier to have you donate your time if you’re getting a bit back in return. We’re planning to make a similar offer to other key positions, including our TechLetter Editors and TechSession Manager, in 2015 if we can.

Call for Presentations for PowerShell Summit Europe 2015


The PowerShell Summit is the number one conference where PowerShell enthusiasts gather and learn from each other in fast-paced, knowledge packed presentations. PowerShell experts from all over the world including MVP’s, Guru’s, community leaders and PowerShell team members, will once again join together for a few days in Stockholm, Sweden to discuss and learn about maximizing PowerShell in the workplace. If you want to share your PowerShell expertise or story, then this is your official call to submit presentations for selection!

PowerShell Summit Europe 2015 will be held 14-16 September 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Topic Areas – What we are looking for

We are looking for 45-minute presentations covering a wide aspect of PowerShell expertise. We have two main topic areas that may assist you in building an abstract.

PowerShell Internals – A deep look into the inside workings of PowerShell and practical solutions that are built from them. These presentations are typically more directed to the PowerShell development community that is building extensions and solutions relating to PowerShell.

PowerShell Features Deep Dive – These presentations are a deep look into configuring and working with PowerShell features and capabilities such as Remoting, Desired State Configuration and more. These presentations tend to be more IT Pro focused.

We are open to presentations across the entire ecosystem that has been built around PowerShell; so don’t hesitate to send an abstract for your particular area of expertise. This includes Microsoft platforms and products that have PowerShell-based management tools as well as 3rd parties such as VMware. New topics will be preferred over recycling of older topics – look to see what’s new in PowerShell 5.0 and use the questions on PowerShell.org to spot areas of confusion that could supply a good session for the Summit.

 What kind of sessions get selected?

We’re looking for sessions that go beyond – often way beyond – “beginner.” If you want to see examples of the depth we’re looking for use the recordings on the PowerShell.org Youtube channel from the PowerShell Summit Europe 2014 as a guide. We look for an abstract that’s compelling and makes us salivate to see your session – so spend time writing a punchy abstract! We want sessions that offer real-world usability combined with “wow, nobody talks about THAT” awesomeness. If in doubt aim high. Remember, Summit sessions are recorded, so if you’ve previously presented a topic at a Summit, we’re less likely to choose it for another Summit. We want sessions that are challenging, and that ideally present things that simply aren’t explained or documented elsewhere. New modules, new techniques, and crazy approaches are all welcome. Discussion-format sessions are great, too, especially if you plan to turn them into a community deliverable (like a “best practices for writing DSC Resources” session that gets turned into a free e-guide later). Think community, deep dive, engaging, and amazing as keywords. We want attendees to finish each day with information leaking… just a little bit… out their eyeballs. Help us make it happen.

We do have some goals for speaker selection, too. We obviously have, and appreciate, the great involvement we get from the product team. We aim to have a certain number of sessions from well-known members of the community, simply because they’re well-known for a reason – they do a great job! But we also set aside slots for newcomers who’ve never presented before, or who’ve maybe only presented once or twice before – the audience will judge you on content not style. We want to create opportunities for more folks to become engaged and active in our community, and the Summit is a great way to do that.

We aren’t looking for soft-skills sessions, like “how to get a new user group running,” although contact us via email (summit@) if you’d like to do something like that as an extra evening thing after the main content wraps for the day.

Please note all sessions are to be delivered in English. Presenter will provide all equipment needed to deliver session(s), including a laptop or other computer. Presenter must be able to provide video by means of HDMI, DVI-D, or DisplayPort connectors – VGA is NOT supported. Presenter must be able to manually select an appropriate screen resolution for video output. Typically, 1024×768 or 1280×720 are preferred.

How to submit abstracts of presentations

Presentations will be 45-minutes in length and the submission should include the following:

Presentation Title

Presentation abstract – a description of the presentation and the topics covered. 250 words or less and suitable for marketing.

Go to http://eventmgr.azurewebsites.net/event/register/PSEU15/Europe%202015%20Member?preregister=1. This is the only valid URL for pre-registration. Provide your e-mail address, password, and full name. You’re creating a new account, even if you’ve attended past Summit events.

Do NOT attempt to register for the Summit as an attendee at this stage – we will be opening registration in late February 2015.

Click Abstracts

Click Submit Abstract

Provide a title and description; descriptions must be 50-250 words. Set the Status to “Ready to Review” when you are ready to send your session to us for consideration.

To return to the site at a later time, go to http://eventmgr.azurewebsites.net/event/login/PSEU15. Click Log In. You can then re-visit Abstracts.

Note that you must set your abstract status to Ready for Review or we won’t see it. If you leave it in Pending, it won’t be considered.

You can submit multiple presentations in the same topic area or for different ones. Be aware that even though the session length is 45 minutes we prefer to have at least 10 minutes set aside for questions. Summit presentations are intense and intimate often with plenty of audience interaction. You must expect questions and discussions. This is not a “lecture to the audience” event. Also because of the session length, generally co-presenters are unnecessary, but that is not a requirement.

Presentation submission deadline – When you should send it by

Start sending your presentation submissions immediately! The selection committee will start selecting presentations as soon as they arrive so you don’t want to miss out. The last day we will accept presentation submissions will be Sunday 11 January 2015. This is a hard deadline.

When you will know you’ve been selected

The selection committee will start reviewing submissions immediately and begin the selection process. You will be informed if one or more of your presentations have been selected and sent a contract on or before Sunday 18 January 2015. You will need to return the signed contract by Wednesday 28 January 2015 otherwise another speaker may be offered the opportunity.

Speakers, with accepted sessions, will be given free admission to the event, including attendance at all official Summit activities. However, AWPP membership is not included. Speakers may not bring guests to the day sessions or evening events. We have a limited budget, and the number of speakers selected will be partially governed by that budget. Speakers are responsible for their own travel expenses, including hotel, airfare, and ground transportation.

The final agenda will be announced and posted on PowerShell.Org on, or about, Monday 2 February 2015.

We look forward to your submissions and your help in making PowerShell Summit Europe 2015 the most valuable IT/Dev conference of the year building on and surpassing the Europe 2014 Summit!

How to Have the PowerShell Summit Come to You


We’re often asked if we’re planning to have a PowerShell Summit in (insert name of town/country/city). The answer is, “no,” because we’re usually not planning much in advance of whatever’s currently on the table. Keep in mind – we’re all volunteers. We don’t have a ton of free time to plan 3 years out! As you’ll see in a minute, it’s a lot of work.

That said, you can play a big role in bringing the Summit to your town. How? Simply write a proposal and submit it to us. Use the “Admin” e-mail alias at PowerShell.org. Here’s what to include:

  • When you’re proposing for. We typically need a proposal roughly 18 months out. The North America event is in April, and the Europe event in September, so you need to plan about a year and a half ahead of those dates.
  • A description of the local PowerShell audience. Helping us understand the local business environment, how many Microsoft IT pros are employes, and whether or not there’s a local user group, all helps. The more you can do to help us reach out to the locals, the more confident we’ll be in planning an event in your area.
  • A venue. This is the tough part, because we have a number of pretty strict requirements. Many commercial venues won’t talk to a smaller organization more than 6-9 months out, so in talking to a venue you’ll have to ask them to estimate pricing based on their current situation; we’ll nail down particulars closer-in if we select the venue. We don’t need you to guarantee dates; we just need an estimate of how much the venue wants to charge us.

Our venue requirements are detailed and pretty much non-negotiable.

  • The venue must be near an international airport – no more than a 30-minute drive. This must be accessible by a major air carrier, such that a flight from Seattle-Tacoma could make it to the venue’s airport with no more than one connection. We have to be considerate of the product team’s time!
  • The venue must be near a sufficient number of affordable, business-class hotels. We do not reserve room blocks or guarantee rooms, so if you’re talking to a hotel, they may not want to deal with you because of this.
  • The venue must offer parking – although we are okay if there are parking fees.
  • We must have 2 rooms capable of seating at least 50 people each. That seating can be “theater-style…”
  • …but we must also have a place for at least 100 people to eat lunch. Sometimes, that means a separate room. Other times, it may mean setting the session rooms “classroom style” so people can eat in the session rooms. Switching to “classroom style” still needs to afford seating for 50 people per room, minimum.
  • We prefer to buy “all-day” catering packages that include unlimited coffee, a continental breakfast (pastries), buffet lunch, and an afternoon snack. Pricing cannot exceed about $110 per person per day – and that must include taxes, service fees, gratuities, and so on.
  • We prefer not to guarantee a specific number of people until very close-in. However, most commercial venues require a commitment up front. In that case, we prefer to commit to no more than 50 people – even though we want the flexibility to have more than that.
  • If we’re paying top dollar for catering, we should get the venue itself for free. That’s traditional at most commercial venues. If we’re paying for the venue, then our per-person/per-day catering cost should be substantially under our limit.
  • We prefer to minimize A/V expenses, but do require an HD projector, screen, and wireless lav mic in each of the two rooms. We’d need pricing on that equipment if it isn’t included in the venue pricing.
  • The venue needs to have decent Internet. That doesn’t necessarily need to be included for free, but it needs to be available. We may purchase 2-4 connections for speakers to use when presenting, so knowing the pricing would be helpful.
  • The venue needs to be available for at least one evening event, where we’ll likely want a cash bar and some light snacks – we expect to pay extra for the evening food, but not for the venue itself.

As you can see, it’s a tough list, and it’s a lot of work for us to find venues. That’s one reason we tend to lean toward Microsoft facilities, when they’re available, because we get the venue cheaper, the food cheaper, and so on.

You’ll also see that our pricing doesn’t leave a ton of room for error. At $110/person/day, each attendee costs us $330. With 50 attendees, there’s another $130 per person in overhead to pay for speakers’ meals. We have about another $130 per person in hard costs like insurance, equipment shipping, and logistics planning. We carve off another $150 per person to help fund PowerShell.org itself, including this website. That’s $740 per person in costs – real close to the $800 we charge, which also has to cover VERIFIED EFFECTIVE exam costs and so on. We plan our numbers around a 50-person break-even point because we’re incredibly risk-averse – we don’t want to have to make up the difference on our personal credit cards, which has almost happened in the past. As you can see, we try to keep our numbers pretty tight – which means a lot of careful planning.

So… if you want to volunteer (it’s much appreciated!) and do some local legwork, you’re more than welcome to propose your favorite town. We understand that, working 18+ months out, some of the numbers will be estimates – that’s fine. Knowing that something is roughly in the right price range is a big start.

We do have other operational criteria that can come into play, so just because you propose someplace doesn’t mean we’re guaranteeing we’ll go there – but we’ll keep it in mind, even for future years.

PowerShell Summit Europe 2014 – All videos available


All of the recordings from the recent PowerShell Summit in Amsterdam are now available through the PowerShell.org channel on youtube. The playlist for the Summit is https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfeA8kIs7Coehjg9cB6foPjBojLHYQGb_

Thank you again to the speakers, and attendees, who made for a wonderful first Summit in Europe and more thanks to the people who donated to our appeal to raise funds for the recording equipment.