There are many, many conferences throughout the year. As you probably realize, it’s not possible to attend them all. As such, there are specific conferences I attend and I’ll tell you why I’ve selected these.
I attend Pittcon when it’s in Chicago because I combine this with visiting my family in the area. It’s a great place for me to catch-up with people in the industry. I always give a talk when I go, not because I’ve ever gotten any business from it but, as one of the largest volunteer-run events, I feel it’s important to volunteer a little of my time to it, as well: http://www.pittcon.org/
I was invited to speak at the SmartLabs Exchange for the first time, last year. I’m now on their advisory board, helping them find speakers and direction, and I can’t wait to go back to speak, again! They were super-organized and it was a high-powered event. The level of people there are more of the decision-makers and there were not only many great presentations to see, but talking to the people during the breaks was a true learning experience for everyone involved. There was a lot of strategic-level conversation that took place. This was definitely a place to find out what’s really going on in our laboratory informatics world: http://www.smartlab.co.uk/
IQPC LI (Laboratory Informatics) Forum
Last year was the first time I was invited to speak at the LI Forum, as well. This year, I’m on their advisory board, too, to give ideas on topics and speakers, for example. I wasn’t able to stay for the entire event, but the speakers I shared the workshop period with were good. Although I can’t attend the October 2009 event, I plan to speak again at the March event: http://www.iqpc.com/Event.aspx?id=205646
ICCA National Conference
One conference I attend every year, and have done since I started my own business, is the Independent Computer Consultants Association (ICCA) National Conference. Most of us who go off to start our own business are good at what we do, but don’t know a lot about how to truly run our business. This organization is entirely devoted to that. It promotes professionalism and ethics, both of which those of you who know me know that I believe to be important. Keep in-mind that “independent” means “not directly involved” not “small” where people often confuse various special areas’ meanings, such as those for the tax code. Most of the consulting companies in our business are eligible to join and send their people, as long as they provide independent services. This is the best thing I do for my business every year and I credit them for the rave reviews I often get from my customers: http://www.icca.org/