Conference Catatonia

Aug 12, 2018 by Barc Category: Business 0 comments Tags: agile, conferences

The conference web site beckons with the promise of education, new thinking, and inspiration.

‘Confer,’ of course, means to exchange ideas.

But we attend conferences for the exact opposite.

We come to shut down.

We seek out speakers who say what we already knew, friends who tell us the same story they told us last year, and experts who remind us we know everything we’ll ever need to know.

We’re no different than the bikers who flood Sturgis every year in jean vests and jackboots. But we’re in logo’d polo shirts and topsiders.

I recently attended Agile Alliance in San Diego, a conference with the purpose of increasing agility in business, management, and technology practices. Instead, it has become (or maybe always was) 5 days of buzzwords, bad audio, and second-year associates practicing their public speaking skills.

I attended one long session that added up to “Listen to feedback.” I couldn’t stop wondering why I should listen to feedback from someone I don’t respect, including the speaker.

But I stayed and listened–between Instagram memes and texts from pals heading out early to the Water Grill–because I was on mental vacation. I didn’t really want any feedback.

I didn’t come here for education, new thinking, or inspiration.

I get enough of that back at work.