Learning to Think


I could go on an on about how great BarCamp was, but I’d rather sum up the value I received from it than get mired in the details.

Conferences are great opportunities to learn, network, and to challenge yourself. Most conferences have a general theme or purpose and activities to educate you about it. You will meet like minded people who you can interact with to share experience, knowledge, and wisdom. You can meet vendors and visionaries, employers and employees, and people just like yourself. You can make great contacts and friends by just talking with people. You can give as much as you get as well. Participating in group discussion is a great way to share your knowledge. Given the opportunity to lead a talk, do a presentation, or sit on a panel, you can push yourself to greater levels in your areas of expertise.

Earlier this week, I set several goals for this conference:

  • Meet some specific people at companies I have been observing
  • Look for local talent that I can tap
  • Meet other people who are starting new things
  • Do a talk and get feedback on both content and presentation skills
  • Share my knowledge and be a mentor

I believe I accomplished all of these goals in grand fashion. I met a couple different people who were starting up companies or working for themselves. We shared some ideas and exchanged some knowledge of local resources that could help all of us out. I met the CEO of one company and two leaders of other companies and picked their brains about their products and services. I met a college student who did an excellent presentation on a project he had done. He did everything from research to a business plan and came up with a really great idea that I think has lots of potential. He seemed really bright and really understood the industry well. We had a great conversation afterwards and once I have some solid ground to stand on, I’d like to get in touch with him to see if there is an opportunity to utilize his skills. I did a lightning talk on a time management method and got a lot of great unsolicited compliments about my presentation skills. Several people asked me questions afterwards and I shared some additional experience with them and gave them some follow up resources. One person stood out. We talked about the technique for a little while but quickly moved on to some of the details of what we were both working on. He was a younger guy in the process of starting up a business with his brother. I happened to have some expertise in one of the areas they were having challenges with, so I was able to help him out. It felt really nice to be able to give something back to the community in general.

Being around a large group of caffeinated, like minded people really brought a lot of energy. I was constantly making notes, talking with people, sharing the event on Twitter, and coming up with ideas for some of the great things to come.

In one word: Inspiring