Around this time of year, people in the laboratory informatics industry seem to start talking quite a lot about the conferences. It’s around this time that people begin asking me if I’m attending things like Pittcon, SmartLabs Exchange and similar conferences.
For yet another year, I’ve decided to use the money I spend on these conferences and use that money for conferences that have nothing to do with work. I think I’ve hit a kind of “stop and smell the roses” point in my life where I’m starting to ask what I’m getting for the money I spend to travel and, sadly, when it’s for my business I’m not always convinced I get much from it.
My criteria isn’t even that I have to get business leads from conferences, and I usually don’t, but if I don’t come away both learning something new and hopefully feeling as if I taught something to others, then it’s hard to justify the trip. In the past, it’s been enough to get a chance to see the people I don’t see very often — a chance to reconnect with them, but there’s just no guarantee any particular person or group will be at any of these conferences, either, and even the opportunity to personally touch base with anyone is kind of chancy As the big vendors continue to cut back on the number of conferences they attend, and getting yet even more strategic with their conference budgets, I can’t even count on seeing any of those people we think of as having deep pockets.
Thus, it’s unlikely I’ll be attending any of the industry conferences in the Fall, either, as I think I already allocated most of my travel budget to personal conferences. As I’ve said in the past, if Pittcon goes back to Chicago, I’ll attend it in the year it does that because I just love the brisk March Chicago weather. 😉 As some of you know, I’m kidding (a little) — I have family and friends, there, and look forward to the extra visit. But you can tell I’m originally from that area by the very fact that I refer to their March weather merely as “brisk” which I think is a telltale sign.