Re: Conferences in the early 21st Century

Subject: Re: Conferences in the early 21st Century
From: "Chuck Martin" <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: techwr-l
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 14:01:32 -0700

"Goober Writer" <gooberwriter -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote in message
news:210744 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> What's important to you in a conference? Location? Or
> knowledge?
> I could give 2 toots about the location and the
> surrounding attractions. I'm there to learn. Funny
> thing, that's the same viewpoint my employer has.
80% of the latter. But 20% of the former.

With a couple of exceptions, my conference experience has been limited to
WinWriters. I always take the 2 days afterward as vacation days--which are
in large part recovery days. Between volunteering, producing the daily
newsletter, occasionally presenting, and soaking up 4 days of sessions, I
need the extra couple of days to recharge.

But I'm unhappy that the WinWriters conference is moving form Seattle
(again). I used to live there, and I graduated from the University of
Washington. So by staying there until Sunday, I get to (a) shop for new
Husky clothes, (b) stop by campus and visit some former instructors and see
what's new in the program there, (c) visit old friends, (d) eat at some
favorite restaurants (such as Piecora's, yummy fresh pizza, and Shultzy's
Sausage, made fresh and spicy), and (e) load up on the best chocolate in the
world at the Dilettante outlet store.

What the heck am I going to do in Hollywood if I stay over? I'm not
starry-eyed. I've lost touch with the few friends I had in the area. The
West Hollywood nightlife hasn't changed much. I may as well just drive back
on Thursday.

I pay for extra hotel days, although I've had work agree to pay for a week
of a rental car instead of just the conference days. But even with the
conference rate at the official hotel, I've always been able to find a much
better deal. I don't really care if I have to walk a block or two.

I went to a TW conference in Paris(!) this spring, a two-dda conference that
was held on a Thursday and Friday. While it was exciting to see the
profession in a somewhat different cultural standpoint (one of the
presenters was from Russia!), it was actually less expensive overall to
return on Sunday (vs. Saturday, by a couple hundred dollars), so I got a
free day of sightseeing (and I bought a small supply of French chocolate as

A few years ago I went to one of those short focused mini-conferenecs that
WinWriters puts on, this one in August in Cambridge. (I grew up in
Massachusetts.) Turns out the Red Sox were in town, and at the end of the
conference, I decided to walk over to Fenway Park. I discovered that
firefighers were selling donated tickets to benefit the Jimmy Fund. I got a
seating diagram and bought one that I thought was a decent seat up the third
base line. Turns out I was about 6 rows up directly behind home plate.

Last August I did another one of those Boston-area WinWriters gigs. Because
it was my 40th birthday, I planned the trip so I could spend the weekend on
the Cape with my family, then head up to Boston for the 2-day conference. I
ended up getting a room at the Airport Hilton for $55/night through
Priceline, and I could do that because I know Boston has a great subway

The point of these stories is, I guess, that during the actual conference
days, the location matters not a whit. If I plan to spend extra days, then
the location does become an issue. (I'd love to have an excuse to go back to
Sydney; there was someone there I met last fall I'd love to see again.)

Chuck Martin

P.S. Speaking of company ethics, my company was paying for the trip, the
hotel and airfare and food (as I didn't have to pay the confernce fee). But
the day before I left--on my 40th birthday no less--they laid me off (along
with several others). They made it quite clear, though, that because they
had committed to paying my way, that they would still honor that commitment.
Needless to say, I did *not* take advantage of their generosity and gorge
myself on the finest gourmet restaurants. I kepyto my usual routine, whether
I'm buying or my company's buying: good deals, cheap, easy and satisfying

Previous by Author: Re: interviews and ethics
Next by Author: Re: extra words: unnecessary or educational?
Previous by Thread: RE: Conferences in the early 21st Century
Next by Thread: RE: Re: Conferences in the early 21st Century

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads