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Marco Rogers @polotek
, 7 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
I have a long rant about this. Conferences are highly valuable for many reasons. But being able to extract that value is sometimes difficult and no one teaches you how to do it.
Conference talks aren't education. They don't pinpoint the information you need. They are valuable because they tell you what is out there and how other people are thinking about similar problems. The question is whether you recognize the similarities to your own work.
The conference environment is also helpful for getting an understanding of what the community cares about. You can find the people who care about your problem set. Once you find those people, there's huge value in following up and having those targeted conversations.
You may go to a conference and find that nobody talked about the stuff you care about. That's a bummer, but it's also a signal. Maybe you or your company are doing something novel or innovative. Maybe you should be leading the conversation about it.
You may also find that you went to the wrong conference. It's hard to evaluate whether you are the target audience for a particular conference. There are actually a lot of them, and most people attend maybe 1 or 2 a year. That's not a strong sample set.
I have one strong piece of advice in response to the question from @tcburning. A great way to pick a conference is to meet people *first*. Then go to whatever conference they are planning to go to. Conferences are great for networking when you already have a network. Not before.
Before you meet the right people and make a connection with them, conferences can feel really shitty and isolating. It's a social anxiety akin to trying to find a date. It's best if you already found a date and you just gotta show up to it.
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