Conference for evil. Or good?

    Hello everyone, good and warm tea.

    By virtue of my professional activity (the main one is an engineer, I am engaged in marketing as a hobby), by will, not by will, but you will follow all conferences, meetings, forums and other clever words describing a one-time pile of people.

    It seemed like a conference, so what? And there is such a tendency that there are so many different professional events that may be of interest to a developer / marketer / team leader, etc., that there is no visible weekend. And in consequence there is a natural question: who needs it, who needs it? Let's figure it out.

    The following is personal empirical, but not lengthy, research that I wanted to share with you for further discussion. An article on a similar topic on Habré was already eight years ago (, but very concisely, so I consider it important to raise it again. If I miss something, it will not be revealed somewhere - I ask in the comment. Of course, I will still refer more to technical and marketing conferences, but all of the above can be easily extrapolated to any other directions.

    First of all, you need to make a distinction between activities. They are divided into professional (highly specialized) and populist (different levels of entry).
    Everything seems clear here:

    1. We have mitapas for developers in Python, conferences devoted to the development of AI, as well as a bunch of other events where the path is not dedicated to the region ordered - the context of the speakers is filled with jargon and only people “in the subject” will understand the grandeur of the speaker. Here, it is the professionals of their field that act, and this mostly entails a problem in the presentation of context, because you can be an arbitrarily great high-load developer, but at the same time a little embarrassing, and consider the scene to be your enemy. Therefore, at such conferences you can find useful material, but much less often - an interesting presentation.
    2. Various conferences on general topics, where people of all directions flock to listen to the same speeches on general topics, without harsh specifics, without any formulas, everything is told very popularly. In this regard, as a rule, people are savvy, able to retain the audience. Such events can immediately include meetings of developers of all stripes, any exhibition conferences a la CES, E3, as well as the conference blockchain.

    For a second, since when is the blockchain a public topic? It's simple, she collects a lot of completely diverse people, such as marketers, PR managers, software and hardware developers, regulators and gods who know more. Thus, for the most part, all the content at such events is either terribly superficial, or divided into thematic branches, where a specific focus in the area is described in more detail (but not much so as not to scare away bystanders).

    Let's make an interim result: there are events for professionals, there is for anyone who wants it. What do these conferences give to each of us?

    • Oddly enough - knowledge . Profile conferences provide a baggage of new information that you already knew, but now you know more. New frameworks and SDKs, new algorithms and techniques, cases from top companies, leaders of opinions, it is at such conferences that the vector of development of the entire industry is determined, it is precisely at them that new solutions are presented to the mass professional public.
    • The ground for reflection . All your life you thought that there are no other approaches to solving the problems that you solve on the machine, but it turns out that someone has found a more effective or non-standard approach. And let you not use this method in the future, but when a new task appears, the subconscious will remind you itself that there are more interesting solutions than you use most often.
    • Basis . There are many seemingly simple things. But how many people don't know them! There are still people who do not know that sites have front and back components, and the front is mostly a pack of html5 + css3 + js. Think I'm kidding? Never, have I seen such a thing in 2k18 among circumtechnical specialists. And here the question is not so much that it is a skill necessary for existence, but there are things without which it is simply impossible to consider yourself technically literate. And of course, the majority of general conferences are, first of all, an accelerated introduction to the topic. What will come of this: whether a person will continue to develop in this direction, or he prefers to score a bolt, it does not matter, because the basics have been given to him, he has become more literate in this area.
    • Networking . Yes, not only with speeches rich conference. Around you at each event, opinion leaders, experts, five minutes to partners and members of your startup team. Business, advertising, developers, every sphere is present, so use it! Meet, share contacts, your opinion. Most of the speakers go to the contact after the speeches, are happy to discuss any ideas and thoughts. Maybe one of them will be your mentor, will offer you a job, and if everything goes even further, you will divide a pint for the future partnership.

    Recently a blockchain conference was held in Kiev, which was attended by one of my partners. Look at this happy face party.

    All of the above, of course, great. One may get the impression that I am directly praising the conferences, the souls in them are not tea. But let's go down to earth and fix the flaws of such events:

    • Templates . There are not many speakers, the case material is monotonous. For the most part, this is about business and marketing conferences, but also technical, to be honest, this is also a sin. Either we get the same material from the same speaker with minor modifications to his every appearance on the stage, or the material of the majority of speakers is so similar, differing in absolutely insignificant details, that the exceptional question arises: “What have I forgotten here? "
    • Submission . It is already mentioned at the beginning that work on the stage is a task too difficult for some speakers. From this, the most interesting material can be lost by sleepy attention.
    • Duration . The conference is a day of tireless work of many people whose task: to create comfortable conditions for the audience. It sounds nice, but when you wipe Jeans all day, even at the most comfortable of the possible seats in the conference room, you will unwittingly hate the whole world, and in the evening your attention will be focused not on the speaker, but on that point on the chair in front, and in general something at home shirt is not washed off ... Well, the essence of you caught, I think.

    What is the bottom line? It is possible, of course, according to the classics, to begin to rub in, that here, there are pros and cons, let's make decisions on the fact, then complete it yourself. Of course, to give a universal answer is very difficult, there is a lot of subjective judgment here. Let's try without controversy to solve everything by popular polling at the end of the article.

    My opinion is that, weighing all the pros and cons that you have to go to the conference. They have a positive effect on your development as a specialist, regardless of whether this is a core conference or not. You just need to stick to a couple of rules:

    1. Select wisely events . You need to clearly understand where you want to go and for what purpose. Idle curiosity is fine, but it is of no practical use.
    2. Get ready . Even if you go as a listener, it does not mean that you can just come, as if nothing had happened. More precisely, of course, you can, but, returning to the first point, you just lose time without being able to take advantage of the opportunity.

    As an additional material, let's analyze what you should always have with you at the conference, trying to cover all directions to the maximum. Create a universal check list:

    • Notepad and pen . Yes, this is archaism, but they definitely will not let you down during the day at a conference. Record interesting ideas, thoughts, contacts of speakers.
    • Powerbank . If the notebook is your enemy - a smartphone to help. And do not neglect the opportunity to keep it fully charged.
    • Water . If you have been to events, you probably know what problem can be to get at least something edible during the coffee break, not to mention the thirst during the next speaker's speech. A bottle of water - Mast Hev.
    • Speech . What? What for? Strange questions, in fact. If you attend conferences, it means that you have a goal: to find a team, an investor, a partner. And for this purpose you need to be ready, calculate in advance possible dialogues and know what to say, offer to whom.
    • Printouts of developments . We return to the possibilities. Always carry copies of technical documents, cases, your own presentations. The speaker may have little time for dialogue, or not be at all, but the print in the hands with charts / calculations / descriptions plus a business card will surely attract his glance after leaving the irritable zone of increased attention. Speaking of business cards ...
    • Business cards . That is, another archaism, which still should not be neglected. Today, business cards serve for short-term memory in order to remind the interlocutor on returning home that this person needs to throw an invite to friends on Facebook, write hi to the post office, and then you can throw it away. Just ask, do not be superbanal with simple one-sided business cards, where your full name and postal address. Leave any identification marks, text, so that the person understands who you are, not from memory, but from this little crust.

    So do not need to

    Summarize the final result of the foregoing. Conferences are an important part of specialist development. The choice of events should be approached carefully to combine business with pleasure. If the speaker or his material is not interesting - it is better to spend time communicating with companies in the stand area. And, if you have a cool project (idea), feel free to tell others about it. Perhaps it is this interlocutor will become a key member of your team.

    Below, as promised, a poll for the democratization of the article.

    Thank you for reading to the end!

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