Back from LCA, and I had a great time. The conference is very well run, captures just the right spirit and has a good range of things to do and people to talk to. Hats off to the organisers. Well, literally hats off, I lost my damn hat while at LCA… 😛

One of the fun things about my job is visiting conferences. I love getting out to new places, meeting old friends and new and generally doing the conference thang. Conference life has been particularly good recently as I don’t really need to report or photograph conference stuff as much – you just know that some dude with a ridiculously large camera will be pumping up Flickr and bloggers will be filling up planets. This leaves me to concentrate on having a good time and getting the most out of the conference…oh, and having the odd tipple here and there. 😉

Some conferences I love and some I don’t, and I have been thinking about what criteria defines it. Personality. That’s the key ingredient. Some conferences have a pulse and some don’t. The conferences I particularly enjoy not only have interesting and fun events planned, but also attract a certain subset of people. Personality has always been the key ingredient we have tried to plough into LUGRadio Live – good conferences don’t feel sterile and overly-formal, they feel vibrant and interesting.

The real deal though is that conferences really are just building blocks that get cool people together to talk about and collaborate on cool things. There are lots and lots of different groups of people who make an appearance at certain shows, and it is their individual and combined personalities that make a conference what it is. This was in abundance at LCA, and as a speaker, the organisers really treated all of us like rockstars. It was above and beyond the call duty – particular thanks to Lindsey.

While at LCA I got to meet some incredible people, and it was particularly cool to meet so many new people – I knew a bunch of the speakers and attendees already, but its always nice to meet and greet new folks, so thanks to everyone who came over and said hi. Also, thanks in particular to Miguel Ruiz who brought me a few excellent little gifts from Chile – a small wooden boat and a small statue which has a hidden surprise. 😛

Some of you have mailed in to ask how the talk (How To Herd Cats And Influence People) went – it went pretty well for its first airing and I got some great questions, discussion and feedback after the session. The video for it should be online soon when the organisers have got it encoded and uploading. Making talks is always an iterative process, and I always try to mature and improve them based on feedback, and thanks in particular to Nat Torkington for some particularly excellent thoughts that are sure to add some more kick to the talk. I can’t wait to get the talk out to the other conferences that I have lined up, and to future ones.

Despite 22 hours of bleak misery on a plane, I will be back to LCA next year, hopefully speaking again and most certainly being a part of this excellent event. 🙂

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