In my last blog entry on the conference, I started telling you about the conference I just returned from and how much it has and will affect myself and my business. I mentioned some of the technology we heard about. In this post, I will focus on the speakers. Here is the link for the previous post on this topic: https://outonalims.com/2009/11/19/conference-return-some-tidbits/
Several of the Key-Note Speakers:
We started our sessions with a keynote speaker who has consulted on leadership with several US Presidents. She spoke about the qualities we need to develop in order to be a leader in the 21st century. It was inspiring.
One key-note speaker had written a recent book on Grace Hopper’s life and her impact on us. He read us specific excerpts and spoke of the ongoing work she did in the industry past merely helping coin the term “debugging.” If you don’t know who she was, you’re missing out on knowing about someone who made a massive difference in the way we use computers and write programs for them.
We heard from Craig Newmark, the “Craig” of “Craig’s List.” He told us the story of how he built it and some of his continuing plans for “Craig’s List.” He made the point that “Craig’s List” is built on trust. By basing it on trust but with some selective management, this is part of what Craig claims has made it all so successful.
Side note: I e-mailed Craig to thank him for speaking to us and he wrote right back to thank me for my comments. Can you believe he took the time to do that, considering all the people that must write to him? He’s seems like a “regular” person.
There were a variety of other sessions. One of my favorites was a session on interviewing people. This was meant to help you interview people to drive needs assessments and requirements analyses, mainly. The presenters did a great job illustrating some of the mistakes we make when we do this. For example, they would ask a question then ask the audience to tell them what was wrong with the question. Or, there were times they’d ask us to evaluate a vague answer by the interviewee. All of us who do these types of activities could benefit from watching and evaluating these types of discourses, regardless our experience. Watching from the outside and critiquing is a much different and is an educational experience.