Tech.Ed 06 kicked off at the Sydney Convention Centre in Darling Harbour this morning and was opened by Microsoft’s developer evangelist, Frank Arrigo. Frank told the audience that the theme to this year’s event was listening.

After a short introduction he handed proceedings over to Anne Kirah, Microsoft’s Senior Design Anthropologist who opened her address by saying “I’m no techno expert” and told the audience of developers that she didn’t know what software was before starting at Microsoft.

Anne gave an interesting and thought provoking keynote address on her job at Microsoft which involves studying real people in their everyday lives from all over the world. Information gathered on the way people live and work is feed back through to the developers and designers of software at Microsoft.

The keynote was a welcome change to the direct “sell” many companies use, however, I did wonder whether the research findings was convenient PR for the company as they move into a new advertising model for revenue.

Anne told the delegates at the conference that people around the world were frustrated and would not work for employers who didn’t allow them to use the Internet or have their instant messenger installed. As Microsoft slowly moves towards an advertising model for the Office Live services and the more people they get on board using their new products the more revenue Microsoft might get if they are successful in their execution.

We’ll have the video of the keynote to stream in the next day so I won’t spoil what else she said but the following pieces of advice for developers was worth writing down:

  • Innovation comes from taking the blinkers off and seeing the whole picture.
  • Observe everyday people and be willing to build with these people
  • Be humble and practice humility to non-technical people

Be sure to check back soon for the keynote address on Builder AU. In the meantime, below is a video of the new paradigm shift to make money from advertising on their Internet services as said by Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer.