The Conferences of the Future

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 720094

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Conferences of the Future

  • David.Poole

    SSC Guru

    Points: 75368

    Very much with you on the lack of focus thing.

    I'm finding that this is also an issue for me with online meetings.  Unless I am presenting I prefer to take a notepad and pen rather than my laptop.  I never take my phone into a physical meeting.  In both cases it is because I want to stay focussed.

    I also find it appallingly rude for someone to be using their phone during a meeting.

    I have a problem with online courses as well.  A lot of my role is to unblock other people.  I feel guilty taking time for myself and time for myself includes sitting down and going through a Pluralsight course or two.  Intellectually I know this is ridiculous but in my heart there's always the nagging guilt.

     

  • Brent Ozar

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2423

    About this line:

    If you can choose Paul Randal, Denny Cherry, Andy Leonard, and Brent Ozar to present at your event, would you pick me?

    I thought about this a lot last month, and I'm not submitting for any more online events in 2020.

    I already have free channels to reach folks whenever I want, and if folks want to see me present - assuming that they're looking for me specifically - then they already know where to find me. I don't want to be greedy and take up space that other folks really need right now, especially consultants, contractors, and folks who need to grow their brand in case they need to look for work in the future.

    In-person SQL Saturdays were different: I spoke at those because I could bring it to where folks lived, and I could help folks who didn't have the budget to travel to national conferences. I loved in-person SQL Saturdays, and I look forward to doing those again once it's safe to do so.

    I don't wanna make a wider call to say, "Established presenters, you should all step aside this year." Just because someone's an established presenter doesn't mean they have a channel, or that they're interested in growing their channel's audiences. There's still room for those folks at online events.

    But the rest of us with established free online channels should step aside this year and make room.

  • Aaron N. Cutshall

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8802

    As a presenter, I absolutely HATE doing online presentations! There is no opportunity for audience feedback or questions. Similar to lectures or speeches, it's just me doing all the talking without knowing how well I'm reaching my audience. I much prefer the interactivity that an in-person session provides. No matter how many times I give a particular presentation, each live session is different because of the audience. Smaller sessions also tend to be more dynamic because people feel more comfortable interjecting questions and providing answers.

    I really love the way that I can involve attendees in my session. It reminds me of when I taught college classes because I encouraged the class to be a place of learning, asking questions, and looking at things differently. You really can't do that so easily in webinars or recorded presentations.

    That's not to say that webinars don't have their uses. When I'm looking for a specific answer I can pull up a recorded webinar, fast forward, reverse, pause, etc. Mainly that's needed because I can't ask questions, but it can be a time saver. Short, focused videos can be really useful and that's why they're so popular on YouTube.

    But, when it really comes down to it, I like to see my friends in person. While I enjoy sessions by Grant, Steve, Brent, Kendra, etc., I really enjoy sessions by new speakers who are finding their comfort range and personally growing in giving presentations. In those cases, the subject itself is often secondary. I had a lot of mentors when I first started speaking, and I love being able to pay it forward by mentoring others. It's wonderful to see a new speaker's comfort level increase because they have seasoned presenters in their audience to support them.

  • xsevensinzx

    One Orange Chip

    Points: 25558

    I mean, to be honest, I have never had a company send me to a tech event outside of my state yet. Most of my current and former co-workers never can get the justification for the business to just drop 3k or more on them to do these things. Now, more than ever, so many, at least the big ones locally I've been to, have turned into straight sales conferences than actual learning conferences. Almost not worth the effort unless you're thinking seriously on investing in a piece of tech that is showing at these events. But that's not all of them, just most of the ones I've followed up on and have attended.

    I feel so many are reserved for the minority of the workforce that it really won't be a huge hit to the industry outside of the locals who are near these events who don't have to fly or snag a hotel, just buy a ticket.

    In my prior jobs, I worked in the video game industry on the PR side. I've been to every major game conference all over the world. So, I know how hard it is to stay focused when you have so many things going on around you plus having some of the leading industry people there with you who you want to pick their brains. Making them virtual would likely kill that feel completely.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  xsevensinzx.
    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  xsevensinzx.
  • Brent Ozar

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2423

    Aaron N. Cutshall wrote:

    As a presenter, I absolutely HATE doing online presentations! There is no opportunity for audience feedback or questions.

    I used to feel the same way, but you just have to learn to adapt, and it's more work initially. I use Slack for my audience to chat, ask questions, post reaction gifs, share their code, etc.

    Now that I'm using Slack & Twitch chats, it feels like my online sessions actually have MORE interactivity than the in-person ones. People are more comfortable asking more questions, and the attendees even answer each others' questions.

  • Brent Ozar

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2423

    xsevensinzx wrote:

    Now, more than ever, so many, at least the big ones locally I've been to, have turned into straight sales conferences than actual learning conferences.

    Yeah, agreed. Conferences were tempted by the easy money of vendor sessions: vendors are willing to pay money to get sessions that *look* like regular conference sessions, but they didn't actually go through the abstract submission process, and they're really just sales pitches. Conferences are selling out their attendees' time, not respecting it.

    It's a shame, but when those conferences die off because the attendees aren't willing to pay money to see sales pitches, the conferences themselves will fail, and they'll only have themselves to blame.

  • Aaron N. Cutshall

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8802

    Brent Ozar wrote:

    Now that I'm using Slack & Twitch chats, it feels like my online sessions actually have MORE interactivity than the in-person ones. People are more comfortable asking more questions, and the attendees even answer each others' questions.

    Hmm, that would make a difference. My experiences were where I gave my session then a moderator would read the questions to me at the end. Not as much fun. Now, if I could get everyone on a Zoom session, that might work too!

  • Doctor Who 2

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 7870

    Excellent questions, Steve. Last year I went to Microsoft Ignite. I was thrilled to go and I believe I was the first developer the large state department I work for, has ever let a developer attend. I had hoped that the trend would continue this year, that I and others would be able to attend Ignite.

    I find in-person events to be incredibly valuable. The chance to be at an event, that you can focus upon without the distractions of someone walking into your office to talk to you about one thing or another, are fantastic. I don't have young children to bother me, as some do, so even if I were to attend a virtual event, I'm not likely to be bothered. But the experience and the opportunities aren't the same. For example, at least year's Ignite I had lunch with a couple of guys who also work for a state agency. They are using Azure, and we were just beginning to look into Azure. I had a chance to talk with them, learn what they had learned and so on. There's no way I believe a chance encounter like that can take place in a virtual event. Virtual events have their place, but at the end of the day virtual events always have a artificial quality about them. And I am sure that my upper management won't allow me or any of my colleagues to attend a virtual event.

    I really hope that Microsoft Ignite, Build, etc. return to normal next year.

    Rod

  • Brent Ozar

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2423

    Doctor Who 2 wrote:

    They are using Azure, and we were just beginning to look into Azure. I had a chance to talk with them, learn what they had learned and so on. There's no way I believe a chance encounter like that can take place in a virtual event.

    Just to make sure I understand what you're saying:

    You're saying that you can't have chance encounters here online with people who share something in common with you?

    Like, uh, this interaction we're having right here, right now?

    I see. 😉

  • jonathan.crawford

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6577

    Brent Ozar wrote:

    Doctor Who 2 wrote:

    They are using Azure, and we were just beginning to look into Azure. I had a chance to talk with them, learn what they had learned and so on. There's no way I believe a chance encounter like that can take place in a virtual event.

    Just to make sure I understand what you're saying:

    You're saying that you can't have chance encounters here online with people who share something in common with you?

    Like, uh, this interaction we're having right here, right now?

    I see. 😉

    He's looking for a QUALITY interaction Brent, that's the difference.....

    </snark>

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  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 720094

    Brent Ozar wrote:

    About this line:

    If you can choose Paul Randal, Denny Cherry, Andy Leonard, and Brent Ozar to present at your event, would you pick me?

    I thought about this a lot last month, and I'm not submitting for any more online events in 2020.

    ...

    But the rest of us with established free online channels should step aside this year and make room.

    Good thoughts. I'll do a few, but I'm going to do less online. I already don't really like online presenting.

  • Brent Ozar

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2423

    jonathan.crawford wrote:

    He's looking for a QUALITY interaction Brent, that's the difference.....

    </snark>

    HAHAHA, zing.

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 996689

    I don't mind giving online presentations at all because I don't do much differently.  During in person presentations, I actually tell people not to look at me but, rather, to look at the screen because that's where all the action is going to be.  Just like for online presentations, I occasionally stop and ask a moderator if there are any questions.  If I've actually done my job as a presenter correctly, there should be almost none.

    Shifting gears a bit, I do like attending SQL Saturdays.  While meeting someone online or on forums or whatever is fine, there is nothing like talking with people in person.  It's always really cool to have lunch with folks and meet at the "After Parties".

    By the same token, I don't want to drive 3-5 hours to present for a PASS Chapter meeting.  Being there in person is awesome but I just can't justify driving 6-10 hours round trip.

    I've been to the summit twice.  That was both awesome and painful at the same time.  Just too many people all in the same place for me.  I'm not spooked by large crowds or anything like that.  I just like smaller events more.

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "If "pre-optimization" is the root of all evil, then what does the resulting no optimization lead to?"

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Doctor Who 2

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 7870

    Brent Ozar wrote:

    Doctor Who 2 wrote:

    They are using Azure, and we were just beginning to look into Azure. I had a chance to talk with them, learn what they had learned and so on. There's no way I believe a chance encounter like that can take place in a virtual event.

    Just to make sure I understand what you're saying:

    You're saying that you can't have chance encounters here online with people who share something in common with you?

    Like, uh, this interaction we're having right here, right now?

    I see. 😉

    Hmmm, not sure how to explain better what I'm trying to convey. In fact, I suspect anything I say will be inadequate to convey what I'm trying to express. So, here's an imperfect example. I can post messages here on SSC. And someone can, and often does, answer. However, at Ignite, or I'm sure PASS (which I've never been privileged to attend), of Build (also have never attended) I cannot sit down with some people, virtually, and talk. You know, in the way in which you might just be discussing work, or life, or nothing in general for 10 to 15 minutes, then suddenly realize there's something you can ask the person/people you're having a meal with, which hadn't occurred to you when you first sat down with them. That's the way it was with me and those two dudes. It was during a lunch break, I had my lunch, sat down with them, and just started talking about nothing in particular. After 10 minutes I realized they were both working for a state government agency, not in my state. Then after another 5 minutes or so I realized they had been working in Azure for quite a while, at least compared to where we are. Finally I asked them questions about how they used Azure, what difficulties they had run into, what advice they could give me, etc. In all we talked for about 45 minutes. You're not going to get that when you post a question virtually. At least, I'm not.

    Rod

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