Hey, the economy sucks and everybody's scared. What better time to work on your education, up your web skills and earn a little extra job security? There are several upcoming conference opportunities I want to bring to your attention — as well as reasons you might want to do it at all. If you're smart about it, you can streamline costs and make it an affordable trip.
Are conferences really worth it?
For my business, conferences have been invaluable — and I'm referring to the time before I spoke at them. Not only do you have the ability to learn about many different subjects all in one place, but the networking can also be a key reason to attend. I can trace most of the original opportunities I've had in this industry back to the very first conference I attended — TODCon (which sadly isn't happening this year). I recently ran into some old pictures from that conference and it occurred to me just how much of my web beginnings started there. At TODCon, I met Matt Brown who was then the Community Manager at Macromedia. Matt bugged, errr, I mean encouraged me until I agreed to write an article for the DevNet Center (yes, my first, and I was petrified). I also met Angela Buraligia, Dan Short and Massimo Foti — and those relationships led to my first paper publishing experience (Chapter One of Dreamweaver MX 2004 Magic by New Riders). Most importantly, I met Ray West who encouraged me to join the team who was starting Community MX, prodded me into my first speaking gig (a later TODCon) and has been one of my best friends and supporters. In fact, those are just the high notes of that conference. I also met people there that have remained close friends and business contacts. People who have introduced me in turn to other people who became sub-contractors and go-to folks for various solutions in my business. In my opinion, unless you know it all (haha), you can't afford not to go. You can't afford not to give yourself the opportunity for growth and connection “in this economy.”
I see the value, but I can't afford it right now.
- Economize by finding a conference close enough to drive to or one where the flight costs are lower.
- Save money by finding a roommate to share hotel costs.
- Take advantage of early bird and discount pricing.
- If your boss won't pay for the whole excursion this year, perhaps she'll split the cost with you. Negotiate. Show her the value you can bring back to your job.
(And remember, everything associated with the conference you choose is likely tax-deductible.)
OK, I'm convinced. What's coming up?
Glad you asked! There are several conferences coming up in the next couple months that are not to be missed (and yes, I'll be at all of them ). In chronological order, here they are:
Voices that Matter (VTM) is a conference put on by Pearson (parent company of Peachpit and New Riders among other imprints) in San Fransisco. It's next week – April 27-29, so you need to act on this one quickly! The two tracks in this conference pull together many of your favorite authors. The sessions allow for question time, but one of the beauties of this intimate conference is it's very easy to have lunch with one of the speaker/authors or to catch them in the hall to talk. Take advantage of these speakers — in a good way — they don't just write your books. Many are designers, developers and Web consultants just like you. Tap their brains while they're available to you in person!
No, I won't be at this one. My son has finals this week and I couldn't chance being on the road while he didn't get out of bed. LOL But Greg and many others will be there. I was at WebDU last year and it's a really well-run conference with great speakers. If you're on that Southern continent, make a dash for it. May 21-22 in Sydney. Lovely, not too cold, good speakers.
InControl is put on by AIGA Cincinnati in, you guessed it, Cincinnati, OH on June 11 & 12. There's one track each day and I have to say, they've really gone all out to pull together a great speaker line up. If you register before April 23, you'll be entered into a drawing for Adobe CS4 Master Collection. That alone could make your trip worthwhile. Early bird pricing is available until May 11th, saving you $100, with even more savings for AIGA members.
Web Design World brings a great group of speakers together for three days in what we hope will be a sunny time in Seattle. Sign up by June 3 for a $200 discount. If you use my code – S9W12 – you'll save $395 off the standard price of the three-day Web Design World Passport – and I'll donate $100 to Habitat for Humanity. Everyone wins there.
So there you are. Four chances for you to bring some mad web skillz back to your business or our boss. And “in this economy” how can you afford not to?