Get new perspectives. Get lots of them.
Or, why attending conferences is actually a good idea.
The ironic true story, I hate conferences. Before I started working for Media Evolution and became the Program Director for The Conference I was a frequent visitor of music conferences. In 100% of the cases it was panels occupied by too many men complaining too much about the state of the industry and how the consumers/pirates were the ones to blame.
I still think that most conference organizers are lazy, happy with getting a bunch of ”cool” blokes over to sit and ponder in a sofa. But still I would recommend you to attend at least one conference a year.
Two big reasons to attend a conference
Excuse not to be at the office
In the stressed out working environment we all face it’s more important than ever to get our asses out of the office chair during work hours. To get time to think about something else than the problems you have to solve right now.
Really. I think this is the biggest reason to buy a ticket to a conference. It gives you a fully acceptable excuse not to be at the office for a day or two.
And honestly, the speakers and topics might be what you base your decision to attend on. But the content of conferences is only one part of the reason to go. It’s really about the people that’s there. The more you engage in the experience you’re taking part of, the more you’re likely to get out of it.
Take the opportunity to free your mind and reload with energy to bring back at the office.
Meet and see Mr and Ms different
We live in the era of the filter bubble. We are catered with search replies and news feeds by algorithms. Meaning a machine has calculated what we’re most likely to appreciate, we don’t get any objective results. If you think about who you talk to on a weekly basis, it’s likely you find yourself in a another bubble, this time created by yourself.
If you stop for a moment and analyze this. How are you supposed to get new impulses and revolve your vision for what you do when you talk with the same people every week? It’s called an echo chamber and it will make you old and behind.
Does it have to be a conference?
Absolutely not. Conferences are good because it’s a recognized excuse for not being at the office and there’s a line in your budget for it ;-). But you could just as well buy a ticket to a foreign country to meet new people and drink a different blend of coffee.
It’s all about changing the setting for a while, to break out of the daily routines, to gain perspective on your work life and to be able to see how you can do things differently.
Conferences I recommend
If your boss says no to your urge to attend a conference, ask her to give me a call and I would happily argue why it’s always good to change context for a couple of days and that conferences are a good reason to make it happen.
Especially if you’re arguing to go to The Conference or any of these:
Do lectures, countryside around the world
The real countryside experience. Started in Wales. Now in the US and Australia as well. The delegates apply to participate.
99u, New York (April 30-May 1)
Where the creative class in New York meet.
Republica, Berlin (May 5–7)
The big german internet meetup.
040x040, Hamburg + Malmö (May 20–22 + August 20–21)
Super promising format. It’s an exchange/worcation between 25 people from Hamburg and 25 persons from Malmö. The first episode happens in May.
XOXO, Portland (September 10–13)
Started as a Kickstarter campaign, has evolved to the place to go to meet the real creative class.
Nordic Js, Stockholm (September 10–11)
A developers’ conference you want to go to even if you don’t know how to code. Their communication has the best tone in the world!
Poptech, Maine (October 22–24)
With its 19th edition coming up, a real classic for thinkers in the digital sphere.
Internet Age Media Weekend, Barcelona
New gathering for creatives in tech and design.
Always an intriguing line-up of designers, developers and other experts in making sense of the web. I hear they’re treating you with their own ice cream! And the setting, Wellington!
The mighty beast. 30 000 people. More about the people than the content. And, it’s warm in March (Yes, I’m from Sweden, therefore I care about the weather)! If you’re traveling from Europe it’s ideal to make a two-day layover on your way back. Bonus, my favorite Austin spots.
This Thursday, March 26th, is the last day to buy tickets to The Conference at the cheapest rate -> 4 900 SEK (€530/$560) = buy now to save 1 000 SEK (€110/$115).