Thursday, February 28, 2013

Taking Things Out of Conferences

An animated discussion at Philz Coffee, San Jose CA, with Brian Dusablon and Craig Wiggins.
Whatever I was talking about must have been fascinating.
It was probably about breakfast burritos....

The Data Whisperer walked into my office for one of our Friday Conversations.

How was the conference?

Good. I think the folks in my sessions got what they needed out of it.

The Data Whisperer looked at me quizzically.  This is not an unfamiliar expression.

What about you?

I probably looked at him with that same quizzical expression.

Going into the conference - my whole goal was that people got what they needed out of my sessions.  I wasn't particularly expecting to get "anything out of it" other than the experience of presenting and participating in a panel discussion, a quick look-see at the state of the vendors, a Psycho donut and a nice meal with Aaron Silvers and Megan Bowe.

I got that out of the conference. 

After a significant amount of processing time - I realized that the most "value" I got out of ASTD TechKnowledge was in the serendipitous side conversations away from the conference rooms and vendor hall.

I'm headed to Austin for Up to All of Us this weekend.

Despite Brian, Aaron and Megan's attempts to explain it to me - this is one of those "you'll understand when you get there" situations.

I'll be the first to admit, I am a little nervous. And I am at a bit of a loss for what to "prepare."

There are some topics I hope to get some insight on:
- Building communities of practice
- Learning analytics and data
- Feedback on the Learning Ecosystem I'm attempting to build.
- Best approach to building a flaming marshmallow trebuchet

If we talk about NONE of those, that will be fine too.

From what I'm hearing and seeing from last year's participants, however, the takeaways were deeply personal - not just professional.

I suspect that if I keep my expectations open - what I come away with will be richer than anything I can "plan" for.

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