You don't get to go to conferences. It really sucks, I would love to go to these things (though when I worked at a previous company which did send me to the Wrox conference in Amsterdam I umm... remember very little of it!). So, the choice is, blow almost £2000 of my own money going to a conference (so conference or holiday in the Bahamas would be my choice :-|) or just don't go..guess which is more likely. Incidnetally, if there is some Microsoft person who wants a gofer during the Teched Europe - or just someone to point at and laugh at and is willing to pay for me to go that would be just lovely :-) (not very likely is it -  but you have to try!)