I spent the last 2 days in San Diego at O'Reilly's ETech conference. Last year I spoke about the then recently launched Yahoo! Search Developer Network (not YDN), but this year I was just there to hang out. No talk. No booth duty. No agenda. I took no pictures.

And you know what? I liked it that way.

It was nice to wander around and meet up with people I donít see that often. Even better was meeting up with folks who I've known in some capacity but never actually met in person--people like Dylan Tweney.

Some of my coworkers got a chance to show off their latest project: CheckMates, a mobile friend finder prototype that uses Yahoo! Maps. For more details, see: Chad Dickerson, Jonathon Trevor, Ed Ho, and The Unofficial Yahoo Weblog.

I enjoyed my time at the conference, despite it being cold in the hotel, the rooms too small, and the wifi sucking major wind. Sadly, I've come to expect those things at conferences over the years. The sessions I attended were generally quite good and informative. The sessions I did not attend were fairly well documented on the web within minutes (blogging is useful for something after all), so I don't feel like I missed much.

That makes me wonder a bit. If I was even more anti-social that I am, would it be worth going? Or could I get all the good information from the comfort of my own couch?

Posted by jzawodn at March 10, 2006 08:11 AM

Reader Comments
# ct said:


You've still got to meet the people, which, in most cases, won't happen on your couch. ;-)

It's been said that the interesting things at conferences usually happen _between_ the presentations. Would you agree?

on March 10, 2006 09:54 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


on March 10, 2006 09:57 AM
# said:

Best you decided not to drag your glider down. Looks like it'll be snowing at Warner Springs this weekend.

on March 10, 2006 10:21 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Yeah, this winter storm sure is a cold one!

on March 10, 2006 10:54 AM
# Will said:

You're kidding - right? The entire reason to go to conferences is to meet people. It's a much better way to learn useful things, share info, and build contacts.

What you learn at workshop sessions is incidental. (or at least much less significant). I feel happy at a conference if I present a session, listen to 3 or 4 good ones and have substantial conversations with 2 or 3 dozen people.


on March 10, 2006 12:51 PM
# Joe Hunkins said:

As much as I enjoy the conferences I don't think I could prove that the 40+ waking hours one usually invests if you include travel and prep would not be better spent concentrating on projects or tasks I've let slide.

"Honey, have you revamped the ads on the home page, mowed the lawn, and fixed the water heater?

"NO! Gotta get to WebmasterWorld PubCon!

on March 10, 2006 02:26 PM
# Matt Yanik said:

So Jeremy, is Dylan Tweney the infamous older brother of Christopher Tweney, our classmate from S.J. in Toledo? His background from the blog looks like he could be.

on March 10, 2006 05:31 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Yup, that's him.

on March 10, 2006 05:32 PM
# Mike Kruckenberg said:

The thing I love about a conference where I'm not speaking is that I don't have that constant nagging thought in the back of my mind that I should be polishing the presentation. Nicer to just enjoy everyone else. Makes me wonder why I put in proposals.

on March 10, 2006 07:56 PM
# Serge Lescouarnec said:

I spent a few hours last week at SEOS in New York and I was glad I took the time. It allowed me to discuss in person a few questions I had regarding Google Ads, Yahoo Publisher Network and more. I also connected with a couple of services that I will use to advertise my business. Not so long ago, I also attended the Small Business Technology Summit in New York. I had the luck of being interviewed by a business reporter from a New Jersey paper and this landed me on the front page of their business section a few days later.
At this point, I think It would be positive for me to attend other events focused on blogs and content distribution and the like, any suggestions?
Have a good week-end

Sunny day in New Jersey


on March 11, 2006 10:22 AM
# Phil Wilson said:

Off topic: Google for "61 F in C" to solve your temperature conversion woes. Google calculator rules.

on March 11, 2006 03:57 PM
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