Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Conference day-dreaming

I've been lucky enough to attend a few 1-day conferences recently (last year was a no-conference heads-down year). While I find the hit rate for a good presentation is about 50%, what I value most is taking the opportunity to lift my head out of the day-to-day and think openly about future technology plans.

While the conference content is typically valuable, that's not where I get the most benefit. When a speaker is interesting but not completely engaging (typically good content and poor presentation), I find my mind wondering to my own ideas and plans. Are we planning SOA? Where does Agile fit? What about virtualization? I'll convert what the speaker is saying into my own thoughts, teams and plans. Sometimes it's completely unrelated to the speaker's topic, but triggered by it. I come up with more ideas at conferences than at any other time.

My team gets a lot of spam email from me at conferences, "what about this...". What I am trying to do is engage them in my new thinking. Frankly, a better way to do that is to take them to the conference with you. If you can't do that, then write up your conference notes and share them with your team.

Give yourself a "safe" place away from your day-to-day responsibilities to day-dream about your technology plans.

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