So in case anyone didn’t know, I got to speak at Interop Las Vegas 2016 last week. It was an amazing experience, and I think it changed my professional outlook on a lot of things. I had never attended a large conference like this before, and it was slightly daunting in that respect, to say the least. I knew that some of the folks in the thought leader community would be there, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been worried. All of them were easily approachable, and some were even familiar with my small body of work. That was cool and all, but nowhere near the most exciting part.
It was the exchange of ideas that blew my mind. Just sitting in a group, joking around, we engaged each other in talks about the IT world, how it was changing, and how it was staying the same. It was just incredibly awesome to me. The fact that I was an outsider to their group (most of these guys know each other in some shape or fashion) and yet was allowed “in” still boggles my mind.
Now you might think that because we were in Vegas, there were probably a lot of shenanigans taking place. Well, sorta not really. While we did endeavor to have fun, the majority of the conversations had were about what problems we were seeing or could potentially be facing in the future. Whether it be people-centric (lots of problems there) or techno-centric (not as many as you would think, but still some).
I’ve realized now why attendance at these kinds of events is important, though. It’s this exchange of ideas, thereby fostering each other and refining our viewpoints. I walked away with a firmer sense of my direction in this IT community of ours.
You can only get so much out of reading blog posts or listening to podcasts. Don’t get me wrong; there’s a ton of useful information out there, but if you want to get a sense of what this is all about, though, you need to attend Interop or a conference like it. The sheer amount of people from all walks of the IT world you run into and interact with will help you refine your point of view on things.
We do have a people problem in the IT culture today. Engineers need to rethink their position and their role across their organizations. They need to gather good ideas and bring them back with them. A conference is a perfect place to do just that.
They say who you choose to hang out with affects you personally. The better the person you hang out with, the better a person you become, and vice versa. The same holds true in the IT world. The better the engineers you hang out with, the better you become. I firmly believe that I’m a better engineer coming out of Interop than I was going in. I hope one day you can experience that for yourself.