Jul 212008

I love going to conferences, not so much for the content, but more for meeting people, those I’ve met and those I’ve yet to meet. What I’m discovering, as a relational-oriented guy, and not a task- or goal-oriented guy, I look for people connections more than trying to find personal applications or takeaways. More responder than initiator — that doesn’t make me a bad person.

One thing I’ve done this season is to wear orange at conferences, lotta orange- on my phone cover, shoes, headphones, mouse, water bottle, t-shirt, Bible… Great color to spot in a crowd, like I’m a human traffic cone. Aside: my orange Crocs stand out, attracting eyes that glance down, but most people refrain from commenting. I’ll smirk back at ‘em. [photo courtesy dankimball]

When I meet new people, I’m starting to hear: “aren’t you the conference guy?” I think to myself, no, I’m not. I’m attending more of them than I used to, but I’ve never been to notable conferences like Willow Creek‘s Leadership Summit, Catalyst, Exponential - the mother of all church planting conferences, Buzz, Granger‘s Innovate, Desiring God, C3, Soularize, Resurgence, Off the Map, National Outreach Convention [w/ free webinars leading up to Nov 08]. Ohhhhh, and, there’s one called the Orange conference! All of these are church/ faith related. Too much worky-ness.

By the way, save the dates January 27-28, 2009, for a BIG conference Innovation3 in Dallas, hosted by Leadership Network.
Innovation 3

For my own fun, I’d go to conference for my vacations– on my short list: TED, SXSW, Gnomedex, International CES, podcamp/ unconference, MacWorld Expo. Family probably wouldn’t enjoy ‘em like I would.

I think conferences are great for motivational inspiration and a shared experience with a leadership team, not so much for content or information. Great for connections too. I wonder when Christian conferences will live-stream their sessions, give it away for free, instead of keeping it as an exclusive for attenders. Some conferences do give their content away for free post-event (eg resurgence, Desiring God). Conferences can be more about connections and conversations than content and control.

I’d like to see more rethinking and more innovation on the conference economic engine / business model. Pagitt, how about reimagining conferences?

Cf. I wonder if conferences [as we know it] have a future as travel costs escalate? Jeff Shinabarger on what makes a good event; Seth Godin on the new standard for meetings and conferences

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