Tips on 2007 Conference Attendance
It's hard to decide what to spend one's training dollars on. It's hard to justify spending US$2000 or more on a conference. If a conference is nearby, or hosted in your town you can save money. I also use my frequent flyer miles a lot to get where I need to go for conferences. Using your own frequent flyer miles and doubling-up/sharing hotel rooms with friends in the Blogosphere are good ways to justify the financial part of your trip to your boss.
Many feel that it's the company's responsibility to pay for everything, travel, attendance, hotel, etc, but if you want to get as broad a view as possible, and maybe attend multiple conferences, being flexible on how you get there, eat, and sleep can make a difference. Also, trying to go to conferences that happen on the weekend, and making sure your boss knows that he/she's not going to lose you for an entire week - perhaps just a few days - can make a difference.
I'm also careful not to think of conferences as vacations, as you're being paid to absorb as much as you can, so I tend to fly in, attend, and fly out, fairly aggressively, unless my wife and son are along and we have explicitly turned it into a Vacation.
- I'll be at RailsConf, partially because it's here in Portland, partially because my Boss is a RailsHead, and partially because I think that the mantra of Convention over Configuration is an important one that can be applied regardless of language or environment.
- Cleverly, this conference is a Thurs-Sun deal, so while it takes up a weekend, it only takes up two work days. Again, a way to get virtually a week's content while only encroaching on work for two days.
- This year, I'll be going to MIX - a User Experience conference in Vegas. There's an early bird discount if you register before March 15th, so the conference itself is $995. If you're going to Mix, let's meet and have a Diet Soda, eh?
- Mix is a short conference, but very dense in content, and because it's in Vegas the flights are cheap. Plus, because it's a three-day conference you could go and still work 2 days, or possible that following Saturday and get a good work week in as well.
- Here's some gravy - every conference attendee gets a free copy of Windows Vista Ultimate (this qualifies for the Vista Family Discount, so you can get two more Home Premiums for $49 each, so that's potentially three copies of Vista for $100, or just keep the Ultimate for free).
- I'll also be at TechEd 2007 giving a pre-conference with Ron Jacobs (of ARC Cast fame) on Architecture. This is the same pre-con we did in Europe last year. I may also do a session on Mobile applications and AJAX support in PocketIE, but that's still up in the air.
Hopefully I'll see you at one of these conferences!