Why I Travel To Conferences Last Minute

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radian6-event1So, as I scramble around my room this morning to throw a few items in a suitcase for the #Blogher conference in Chicago this weekend (big thanks to Whrrl for giving me a free ticket), I am starting to see a pattern.

I have been to 4 conferences this year, Blogher being number 5, where I decided to actually attend the event the week before it was held. Meaning no conference registration, hotel, or flight was booked.

Seems like poor planning, but for the most part these events were not must attends for me. The most recent was the Enterprise 2.0 event in Boston. I went because there were dozens of people that I have met at other conferences that I just wanted to see.

I Invest In People

If you know me, you know I love to travel and I don’t go to conferences for the content. I go purely to see the people. Occasionally I wander into a session or keynote when I have to, but it is reluctantly.

Do not get me wrong, there is plenty of great content out there, though I would argue at most events it is pretty hit and miss. And I am sure I am missing out on some of it. But I much smaller intimate conversations with the smart people and people that I call friends at these events. I go to connect with them, to learn from them, to challenge and be challenged by them.

This connecting and challenging happens less for me when I sit and listen to an unorganized panel or a speaker talk about how to improve my blog.

Events Get Louder As They Get Closer

So considering my focus on people, I rarely see a conference announced and KNOW right away that I want to be there. What typically happens is I hear a little bit about it from one person, and then another, and so on. As events get closer, these little teasers get more frequent and louder.

And while I love meeting new people, the more friends I know will be at an event, the more likely I am to attend. It seems this usually builds to a crescendo the week before the conference. I eventually see too many cool cats are going, and I have to give in and share in the fun.

So if you see me at a conference, please say hello, and let’s skip a session or two and talk shop.