Conferences and Missed Opportunities

Spring conference season is upon us. Planning for COLLABORATE16 in April has gotten me to thinking about conferences and missed opportunities. 

Do you remember the first time you didn't attend an industry conference? That's a strange question, isn't it? I don't remember my first time not attending an event, but I do remember one event in particular as a forever-missed opportunity. The event was the International Community for Auditory Display's (ICAD's) 1998 conference in Glasgow, Scotland. 

Now a trip to Glasgow might have been out of my reach at the time. But the 2000 event was held in Georgia, and I missed that one too. I didn't just miss it. I chose to miss it. Because I was cheap. Because I did not comprehend the benefits. Because no one had ever clued me in to why I should spend on myself like that. I missed the event, because I missed seeing its value.

I've missed other events over the years that I wish I had made the effort to attend. Interbike last year is an example. The Interbike International Bicycle Exposition is the largest bicycle industry event in North America, and the opportunity to attend as an industry insider was before me. But I missed the opportunity—not because of money this time, but because I let short-term work pressures get in the way of my long-term interests and personal growth.

So COLLABORATE16 is upon us. Now is the time to ante up if you're interested in attending. Or if not that event, maybe it's some other conference this year that is a better fit. Whatever the case, whatever event is the best fit, consider investing in yourself and your career by attending and meeting people and becoming involved in a larger community.

Because it's kind of a bummer to look back at missed opportunities and wonder what other course life might be taking right now had you chosen to attend an event rather than to miss it.

Because investing in your career pays in the long run.

Because sometimes we need to indulge our dreams.