Well, the spring conference season has officially jumped off.
You and I have already put in some good road time and SxSW (a favorite of mine) is now taking over my tweetstream. We get to attend a lot of conferences. Our primary role at these conferences is to contribute to the agenda by sharing a message, but beyond that, these events can be valuable in a lot of other ways as well.
We get to meet a lot of new folks at these events and usually reconnect with some good friends. Sometimes we sell some books, sometimes we get to spend time in a great city or get to see some new sights, sometimes the food is awesome.
What I am curious about though, is learning. You are a smart guy and a pretty curious guy, you read a lot and talk to a lot of folks about the issues related to your work. Are conferences good learning experiences for you? Do you get introduced to new ideas, new approaches, new tools?
Obviously, not all conferences are created equally, does the size matter? The format? The space? Have there been one or two conferences that were really valuable to you for learning?
There is a whole bunch of talk about how the traditional conference is dead or dying. Not sure I believe that, but I do think that what conferences did in the past to be valuable to attendees is no longer of much value.
As an attendee, as a learner, what makes a conference valuable to you?