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Why I go to Conference

Conference changed my life. That is not an exaggeration or bloated truth. It is a simple fact. NetVu conference changed my life. It impacted my life professionally and personally more than I ever could have known or hoped for.

As a fresh faced newbie I was a little nervous going to conference for the first time in 2005. I was the only attendee from our agency and was tasked with finding some tangible solutions to some technical problems we were facing. The first time you go it’s a head trip. There are so many people and so many things going on and that it is a little overwhelming. There are these amazingly brilliant people that really stand out. Folks that I wanted to be like and that inspired me and showed me what a true professional was.

The first super hero I ever met at conference was Johnmichael P. Monteith. He is this whirlwind of intelligence, innovation and ingenuity with a healthy dose of approachability and business acumen mixed in. When I first heard him speak at a session I thought, “Oh my god I am in so over my head.” These technical gurus had already found and dealt with problems that I was just beginning to understand.

I didn’t know how I was supposed to get up to speed with these great minds and contribute or even really how to speak with out sounding like a dumbass. I was in awe.

Ultimately I mustered up the courage to say a little something to JP and we had a conversation. I explained my problems and what my technical concerns were. Patiently he helped me find the right folks to ask if he didn’t know the answers and answered the ones he did thoroughly and completely. It rocked. And it set my perception for the rest of Conference.

That was my first day at my first conference. I knew I had come to the right place. These were folks that are in the trenches, that deal with the day to day tactical issues that can slowly erode any efficiencies that technology is supposed to bring. And they were approachable and helpful and friendly and fun.

That first conference was so important because that’s where I met the people that I am closest to in my life outside of my family. That first conference I made relationships that have turned out to be life long friendships. Over the next 5 years we forged a bond that superseded the insurance industry or any occupation. These are folks that I have on speed dial that I talk to weekly if not daily to ask for advice in all aspects of life.

They are my sounding board and I am theirs. When we first hit a problem its those folks that I contact to see if they have seen it, heard of it or knew of a way to deal with it. They are the ones I call to see how they liked this system or that product. And those relationships all started at conference.

Each year each we push each other to take broad steps in application of new technologies. We as a group virtualized, went to terminal servers/citrix, thin clients, sans, upgraded exchange and dealt with eforms and slew a multitude of other technically complex dragons. It’s a wonderful feeling to be in the middle of an install and something go sideways and you can call and chat with a trusted pal that has been through the same thing already.  And conference was the genesis of all this goodness.

I cant quantify the costs that I have saved because of conference. I can’t tell what the exact ROI is. What I can say is the relationships that I have made at conference have bettered my ability to deal with all kinds of problems my agency faces. Conference has given me agility that I wouldn’t have had other wise. I can absolutely state that we would not be where we are today if it were not for NetVu conferences. I would not be near as good as a tech if I didn’t know these people that are now dear to me.

I know times are tight and things are tough all over but if there is any way possible, you need to come to conference. I don’t say that as a spokesperson for NetVu or as anyone with anything to gain. I say it because I know this is true. We are stronger together than we are apart. And NetVu conferences bring us together. They allow us to meet each other, laugh together and bond in a way that can not be replicated by any other means. The people there deal with the stuff that drives you crazy every day, they can commiserate and offer advice. You will be a better stronger tech by going. And hopefully you will have success in making enduring relationships that will change and improve your life.  Come to conference, it will be worth it.

I really hope to see you there.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 1, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    These words are so well written. Thank you, Ryan. I think nearly everyone who attends the NetVU conferences gets to know a new extended family of brilliant people because they seem to pop up everywhere. It cannot be underscored enough the amount of knowledge and growth that is generated at every one of these gatherings – not just in the sessions but walking in the hallways or drinking a cup of coffee or adult libation afterwards. My “super hero” list is seemingly endless. Ryan, Tod, Cyndy, Collin, Gray, Allyne, Tina, Kathie, Darlene, Tim, Todd, Deb, Bill, Bruce .. It could go on forever and you all deserve honorary NetVU capes.

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