Weekly review: March 31 to April 6

Good morning! I’m writing this from the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida. I’m here for the IBM Technical Leadership Exchange, which is a fantastic invitation-only conference of IBM’s best and brightest (and the occasional newbie like me who manages to sneak in). ;) I figured I’d do my weekly review before heading over to the convention center, as my evening’s probably going to be too full to write properly. Besides, morning pages are fun.

The last week had been a blast. I attended the IBM Best Practices conference in Palisades, NY, and I presented on “How to Blog Your Way Out of a Job… and Into a Career.” I really enjoyed sharing my experiences with blogging with the thirty or so people who showed up. Everyone was so open and friendly! And I’m glad that people enjoyed my presentation, too. I ended up winning Best Paper at the conference, and the organizers said I’d received over twice as many first-place votes as the next in line did! So I’m really happy that I managed to pass on so much value at my first proper conference as an IBMer.

Even more awesome than winning Best Paper, though, was having the opportunity to learn from more than a hundred people who were passionate about their work and about improving the way they work. One of the terrific things about conferences like this is that you can get so much energy and enthusiasm and encouragement from all these extraordinary people.

I’m also really glad that I had to attend sessions I ordinarily wouldn’t have chosen and joined conversations I never would have started over e-mail. For example, the keynote speeches from the Rational folks got me thinking about measuring value and measuring adoption. I think that’s one of the key benefits of face-to-face conferences. With a virtual conference, it’s just too easy to let “real work” take you away from sessions you’re not sure about. With a virtual conference, you don’t have an excuse to chat over food with people you might not otherwise have met, and you don’t have as many opportunities to form new friendships and renew the ones you had.

Good stuff. That was my last week – jam-packed with conversations and lessons learned from both the formal sessions and the informal chats. Very good stuff.

This week promises to be even better. The Technical Leadership Exchange is an even bigger conference, and I have a full schedule of sessions I would love to learn from. Although I need to revise my presentation extensively because I learned so much last week, I’m looking forward to starting conversations, too. Whee!