So another conference has come and gone. As in the past, I can’t help but create a post conference wrap-up of lessons learned. Unfortunately, this one will be a bit different as it’s now from the perspective of someone that has joined the Dark Side. And yes, not only does the Dark Side have cookies but also you get to wear a cool costume that includes a black mask and cape. I’m still not sure why some old guy that looks like the (former) pope wanted me to wear it. Anyway, on to the list…
- Life is hard as a vendor: I always suspected this was the case (as I would always thank vendors for their sponsorship), but now that I went through the gauntlet of manning a booth, I can confirm that yes, it’s exhausting. Not only is there physical exhaustion of standing for hours on end, there’s the emotional toll of FOMO that comes from missing some very interesting and fantastic content (which seemed to make the requirement to “man” the booth during specific hours as being pointless since no one was around anyway). And also, let me recap my personality trait; I’m not an outgoing, jolly-go-lucky extrovert of a salesman. Please don’t get me wrong – I can talk with the best of the neurotic Jews out there and I had a great time making conversation with many attendees, but it is tiring. Once again, my hats off to the exhibitors (including me).
- Don’t ignore the obvious signs of a failing business model: This doesn’t necessarily have a direct connection to the conference, but I couldn’t resist pointing out an “I was right moment.” A particular vendor I humorously made fun of during my Post Pink Post for handing out CD’s wasn’t here at Pink 13. I’m not sure what happened, but my guess is if you have marketing techniques reminiscent of IT organizations from the 90′s, then you probably don’t belong in this decade.
- Make sure you network vertically, horizontally and diagonally: I was making idle chitchat with an attendee and I brought-up the topic of having fun in Vegas (it’s an obvious conversation piece). The attendee commented that they didn’t have anyone to accompany them on any nightly Vegas activities and that things were pretty boring. I’ll admit, I could of easily extended an invitation (and I should have), but I didn’t. On the other hand, they could have as well. My point is that while attending conferences with a coworker can make the ad-hoc post-conference activities fun, it can also force you to miss out on opportunities to network with other vertical levels, a.k.a., the vendors and speakers. I’ve been fortunate to meet and socialize with some great people at all levels; attendee, exhibitor and speaker, and I can tell you I’m always able to find some kind of social activity that goes into the morning hours, along with getting to personally know the great minds of ITSM during such activities. Besides, vendors will often pay for the drinks, especially if you’re a customer.
- Don’t upgrade your phone’s software before the conference: I screwed-up and upgraded my iPhone to 6.1.1 this past Sunday. Wouldn’t you know it, partway through the conference my battery started draining at an alarmingly fast rate and I became “plug bound.” As a tip, plan a blackout period for changes to your mobile devices for at least a week before the conference and don’t touch anything during the event. Your battery will thank you and you’ll have an easier time texting, tweeting, Facebooking, LinkedInning, blogging and generally communicating during the few days when mobility matters.
- Jedi Mind Tricks do not work: Either that, or most of the attendees are strong-minded and can resist my powers of the Dark Side. Needless to say, I did try on multiple times. If you are reading this post and can recall a slight memory of a compulsion to visit me during the conference, please let me know…I love ego boosts.
- What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…until people remind you about it at the next conference: I think this is self-explanatory, and it’s not always good. Funny, yes. Good, no.
- The best content does not always draw the best crowds: I was a bit disappointed to experience this first-hand, and I can’t quite explain it. I was sitting in Mark Kawasaki’s presentation (http://www.twitter.com/windupbird) and was fascinated by his experience with unplugging for 6 months and really living in his environment at Emory. At the same time, I couldn’t believe the room wasn’t packed. I’m not sure if the content went outside of the normal, conservative pattern of ITSM practitioners, or maybe not everyone knew of the significance. Either way, it was awesome and I think a lot of people missed out.
- My archetype is that of the Royal Guard: My primary trigger is Mystique and my secondary trigger is Prestige. I am disappointed there was no personality type of the Rebel Smart-Ass. I’d really be interested of how close I could get to that personality description.
- Irish folk dancers do not have facial muscles: While they sure move their feet pretty damn fast, I did not see one facial twitch that indicated neurological activity.
- Just when I think I have a cool technology prediction that Chris Dancy (http://www.twitter.com/servicesphere) hasn’t considered, he still manages to top it: Another self-explanatory item.
There you have it, a wrap-up on what I learned while representing the Dark Side at Pink 13. Did I have fun? Absolutely (it’s Vegas after all). Did I learn many new things in ITSM…that’s still open to debate. While interacting with colleagues in ITSM is the best part of conference, the content I saw was interesting, and some even fascinating (I’m heavily using the word “fascinate” since it was part of a keynote). As I couldn’t see as much as I wanted, I can’t quite criticize the content as I used to in past blog posts. Who knows, one day I may even be a speaker at an up and coming conference, and then you’ll know for sure I’ve mastered the art of the Jedi mind-trick. Until then, you don’t need to see any identification, this is not the ITSM you’re looking for…