Conference Junkie

It's been a 3-day work week for me this week. Tuesday and Thursday were spent at conferences / events in Cape Town - a definite change of scene.

First up was the introduction of Neotel Enterprise to a select group. It was short and sweet, pertinent info handed over, then lunch for those who stuck around. And the obligatory Goodie Bag! :-) Yup, we all love our loot. This one had pen/pencil, paper pad and a memory stick with the day's presentation on it - the latter being something I've been wanting for a while but never invested in. Now I've got 1GB to play with and I know exactly what I'll be using it for! Also made a few contacts and got to hand out a business card or two.

Thursday's event was a full-on conference - the Africa Rise Internetix 2008 one. I overheard an organizer saying there were 450 people there, so it was pretty much crowded. There were three keynote speakers (including the fascinating Riaan Manser, currently underway with his next adventure) and 8 workshops/presentations to choose from (two at a time). I picked exactly the right combo for the info I needed and learnt a heck of a lot. And the Goodie Bag? This time it was notepad, pen, moleskin (branded by a sponsor), two magazines, CD with the presentations on, a bit of promotional stuff and a mini Maglite. There was much milling about, but I did manage to speak to someone about equipment I'm looking for and make a few other connections. Mostly I came home with loads of notes and ideas - including some definites for a little project I'll be getting going on today (watch this space - depending on if it works or not), and a few updates to Virgin Earth's method of operation.

There's another women-only event coming up next month, courtesy my employer - and yes, it involves both useful info and a Goodie Bag.

I was pondering the conference-attendance phenomenon on the way home last night. I've been in a rut of work/home for a very long time. I barely get out to do anything different or new. I've been mentally stuck in viewing things as they relate to the rut, and the only learning I've really done, the only connections I've made - have been random ones online.

This week's experiences gave me a different perspective on a few things. It was like raising my head and seeing a new view. I learnt a lot about what was officially on offer - yes. But I also learnt some stuff about me, and got to stretch my brain to imagine the "what if".

I could easily become a conference junkie, provided they don't happen so often I get sick of them. Of course not all conferences are created equal, and the quality ones need to be snatched up as they come around. But I think I'll be on the lookout for others to attend. And not just for the Goodie Bags.. :-)