I attended last week’s IDC Directions09 conference in San Jose, courtesy of IDC in light of my role as an industry analyst watcher and blogger. It was one of the best that I can remember, and I’ve been to a few over the years. The theme, content and speakers were good — but that’s not why I’m giving it 2 thumbs up.
For me, the highest value was professional networking. To a great extent, I credit the relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. That’s not easy to achieve with an audience of 1,000+. The hallway conversations were non-stop. Analyst 1-on-1s were a central attraction, yet there wasn’t hustle for the sake of hustle — no people-to-see-places-to-go pretensions in the air. You could pick out — and get to — faces in the crowd with ease, yet the crowd was large enough to fill the space, even during Nicholas Carr’s closing keynote.
I can’t stress enough the importance of this aspect of any analyst conference for this year and beyond. None of us — well, few of us here in San Jose — see ourselves as Mohammed going to the mountain when we attend these analyst conferences.
Today, we don’t go to these events just to hear analysts present. We don’t want to play powerpoint roulette with our brains. This is an attention economy. We go to mingle with analysts, look them in the eye and take the measure of their company. We go to meet and have intelligent conversations with other attendees. We go to become better informed, and therefore more powerful influencers in our own right. And if there’s some juicy industry gossip sprinkled in, all the better.
IDC understands that.
I’ll be posting more about the event over the next day. Meanwhile, if you can, attend IDC Directions 2009 in Boston next week. Or, catch it in Singapore, India, China, Japan, Australia or New Zealand.