It’s time to put some of my random thoughts to paper or in a blogpost anyway. I was never accused of having coherent thoughts, so beware of the dog.
I’ve been to a few conferences in the past year or so. The last one being about Agile and .net. Most of these conferences seem to me about learning and hero worshiping.
No, not open hero worshiping were people will fall to their knees for a certain person but more the introverted kind. The kind where you want to be in the same room with a person. The kind where you listen to whatever that person has to say. The kind where you become less critical.
People don’t choose a conference for it’s content but for the speakers. The bigger hero you get for your conference, the more attendees you will get. The other speakers will enjoy from the fallout, of course. And your conference will thrive.
So, would a conference that only lists the content and titles of the sessions and not list the name of the speakers at all have any success? Most likely not.
I know I base my judgment on the speaker and less on the content. Of course some speakers are less able than others. You as an individual should however be capable of independent and critical thought. If the speaker counts than it seems you as a listener are less able to think for yourself. You are just a follower or at least you are more a follower than you think.
And yes I seem to be guilty of this myself.
The question is do you learn more from the well known names or do you learn most from the lesser known names. Are you not going to miss gems of sessions because the speaker has chosen the wrong title for his session.
I think I should try in the future to pick as many different speakers as possible when choosing my sessions and pick as many brains as possible. Everybody thinks in a different way. And only picking those speakers that we know is not going to help you progress. Because we know our hero thinks like us. You don’t learn from people that think like you. You learn from people that think differently from you. You learn why and why not.
And isn’t learning the biggest reason why we go to these conferences?