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Making the Most of Attending a Tech Conference

As we wrap up the New York part of the Velocity Conference series, we reflect on the value of attending meetups and conferences.

Whatever your preferred method of consumption is, you can get your information quick fix by connecting, researching, sharing, and updating instantly with Twitter, Slack, blog posts, or any other method. Is there any need to leave your office and attend professional events anymore?

Yes.

So what is the benefit for you – or your team – attending a tech conference?

Revive your passion about what you do

Coming to a conference and hearing what it is that excites your peers, and heroes, will undoubtedly reignite your enthusiasm. You will find that you do pretty much the same thing as they do, only that some do it differently, and that’s important. At every conference we have been to we have met people from the same industry as we are, and they’ve all been incredibly passionate about what they do. They inspire new ways of tackling challenges you have with your work.

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Meet friends, competitors, and heroes face to face

Whether it’s the Velocity Conference in New York, Monitorama in Portland, AWS re:Invent, or any other conference, our most memorable moments have always been meeting people. There’s something powerful and very positive about meeting our customers and users face to face – something that serves us well when we communicate online once we get home.

A tip is to reach out to the people you’d like to meet ahead of time to book a meeting at the conference. Shoot them an email them in advance and ask them to lunch or even just a coffee.

In New York we had the good fortune of meeting with the good people from DataDog, BigPanda, StatusPage, PagerDuty, ThousandEyes, and many more. Truly inspiring for geeks like ourselves. The conversations we had over coffee was worth the trip alone.

Oh, and if you suffer a major outage during the night, it can be a little nerve wrecking to walk into a room of your users the following morning 😉 Thank you everyone for being so cool about it.

The industry trends

The best conferences will arguably find the very best speakers, and a compelling variety of subjects that the conference should cover. At Velocity in New York we certainly enjoyed hearing Dynatrace give an incredibly fun talk on Chat-Ops and VoiceOps. You should definitely check them out.

chatops

Speakers from Fastly, Netflix, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google followed and regardless if it was a shorter or longer talk we found plenty to bring home.

"Switching from Hipchat to Slack and Docker Docker Docker will not fix your culture."
“Switching from Hipchat to Slack and Docker will not fix your culture.” — @beerops
“The most unfortunate source of data” – photo by Bridget Kromhout
“The most unfortunate source of data” – photo by Bridget Kromhout

Attending events and learning about the latest trends and how they’re being used in your industry augments your knowledge base and gives you something valuable to bring back to your own work.

The fun factor

Think of the fun factor as an investment in your own health and well-being. There’s a lot to be said for getting away from your day-to-day work life and having fun. Possibly the most memorable and fun part of a conference is the chats you have between sessions, whilst getting coffee, or just outside the restrooms. It’s these hangouts, the late night talks and random meetings with strangers that will stick with you.

Or at the very least you will have a fun time because the presenters are funny.

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So yes. There are tremendous benefits to leaving your workplace and attending events. We hope we see you at the next tech conference!

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