The largest event we ran at Microsoft, Design day (500-600 people), saw the introduction of several different formats to break up the monotony of lectures and panels. Using an idea I’d seen elsewhere, we created a session called 99 second presentations. We had open submissions (which we selected from) for people to speak at the conference on any topic for, you guessed it, 99 seconds. This had three effects. First, it drew people in. They’d never heard of this, and since it sounded like a potential disaster, many people came to watch. Second, there are lots of smart knowledgeable people who don’t have the interest or time to make 45 minute presentations. But a 99 second presentation everyone has time for. So many voices at Microsoft that hadn’t been heard before were encouraged to surface.