Daily Archives: May 30, 2008

What I Learned From Conference Season III

In my last post I shared with you the top three lessons I learned from Conference Season. Today I have one more to add:

  • Apparently, Conference Season Was a Bust!

It seems that only a few of us bloggers learned anything from conference season this year. With the exception of Jason Busch of Spend Matters, Vinnie Mirchandani of Deal Architect, Brian Sommer of Services Safari, who offered up more of his learnings in Ready to Drink the Kool-Aid?, David Bush of e-Sourcing Forum and Justin Fogarty of Supply Execellence who offered us some tidbits from reSource 2008 and Ariba LIVE, respectively, all the bloggers and guest bloggers have been eerily quiet on this one. That’s not good news.

Considering that these events seem to require more time, money, and effort every year, I find this unacceptable – especially in a time when we’re facing skyrocketing commodity prices across the board, recessions, and stagflation. Now is the time we all need to be taking more away from conferences than ever, and if only a few of us are managing to take away a few tidbits of useful information, that says something – and what it says ain’t good. I know the number one benefit of most events is networking, but when you consider you’re paying thousands of dollars for the benefit (when you add up airfare, hotel, and steadily rising registration fees), there are more cost effective ways to get the same result. For example, most professional societies put on regular member networking events that are much cheaper than your average conference. Now, it’s true that most of these are only going to attract locals, but if you’re a member of a national (or international organization), there’s nothing to stop you from keeping track of what other sections are doing and going to their events when you’re in town on business trips (or vacations, if you should be so lucky). It might take four (or five) of these to connect up with the same number of individuals as you would at one national (or international) conference, but, as you’re not dashing around like a recent escapee from a mental health institution, you actually have time to sit down and talk to them. You could call that a net win!

Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe most people learned so much from this year’s conference season that they just don’t know where to begin (and that’s why they haven’t posted yet), but after talking with a few regular guest-bloggers who, up until now, have always had something to add to the discussion, I’m starting to think I’m right. And it’s unfortunate. Maybe us bloggers are going to have to get together and reshape the conference world as well. What do you think?