I was in Detroit Monday afternoon and yesterday for the Visual Studio 2005 / SQL Server 2005 Launch Event. 2500 geeks invaded the Rennaisance Convention Center for the event. I was there manning the INETA / Heartland User Group booth and ended up having such a good time chatting with various folks (scheming for world domination and all that) that I didn’t get to any of the sessions.
I wasn’t all that concerned about the sessions, since my main reason for travelling to Detroit was networking and putting faces to names I’d been corresponding over the last six or eight months since starting our Dayton .NET Developers Group. The folks I got to finally meet face to face included Greg Huber, Alex Lowe (both instrumental in getting our group started), Jason Follas, Joe Kunk, and Bill Wagner.
I met a few new folks including Paul Kimmel and Rodney Sloan (Microsoft’s .NET Development Manager for the Great Lakes Region), and connected up with lots of old friends including Josh Holmes, John Hopkins, Drew Robbins, and Brian Prince.
Am I just writing about these folks to be a name dropper? No (OK, not completely), rather I’m trying to make the point that events like this are terrific networking opportunities. I lined up new speakers for our group, got great ideas on publicizing the group, helped get nearly 200 folks signed up for various user groups, spent a lot of time gabbing on technical topics with industry leaders like Brian Prince and Bill Wagner, got involved with an effort to build a new speakers bureau for the Heartland/Great Lakes region, and got some very helpful career feedback from folks who were kind enough to spend a few minutes talking with me.
I also find such events terrifically motivating and energizing. My “high” from SD West back in 2003 lasted a year — and that event was life-changing in that it really pushed me into redirecting my career into more interesting things. I don’t get to go to such events very often at all, but hopefully that will change!
Now Playing: Interpol — Turn on The Bright Lights. Cool indie rock/punk/whatever. Maybe I blogged about them already, but so what. Good stuff.