How To Defrag Your Brain and Tech Career In November
I spend the year going from city to city, attending conferences, meet-ups and hackathons--speakng, networking and doing the things that makes my world go around. Every November I find myself a little spun out from the year and need to Defrag my brain, re-organize what I know and re-enforce the most meaningful relationships across my professional career. This is is done in Broomfield Colorado each November at the Defrag Conference.
I arrive the evening before the conference at the Omni Interlocken Resort. It is late at night, the lobby is empty and I walk up to the counter and quickly get my room from the young lady running the desk. I turn around to head to the elevators and notice Brad Feld(@bfeld) sitting on the couch, lost in his phone. I spend some time engaging him about the latest trends in technology and investing and the current political climate in the country before I head off to bed. Where else do you get casual focus time with folks like Brad, then at Defrag?
In the morning I wake up, grab some coffee and pastries and head for the main stage. As I walk in I feel like I've walked into a 1980's rock concert as I'm blasted a classic rock soundtrack from Tom Petty to AC/DC. I grab a seat in the dark and as I'm waiting for keynotes to start I notice I've accidently joined a table of the cloud computing mafia ranging from Alex Williams(@alexwilliams) of TechCrunch to cloud pundit Ben Kepes (@benkepes) of Diversity.net.nz.
The morning moves by fast with a engaging array of talks from Amber Case of Esri, to Paul Kedrosky of Bloomber and Kauffman Foundation. After they are done, I roll out of the main stage and get in line for some lunch, which is the only conference lunch I will actually eat, as the Omni Interlocken catering is not the normal fare.
As soon as I'm done I weave in and out of the session stages absorbing talks ranging from business and tech investing, to developer marketing as well as deep dives into data architecture, but I notice one growing trend this year--APIs. Defag's sister event GlueCon was the OG(Original Gangster) API event, but as APIs move from the future of technology into reality across all aspects of the business world, APIs become part of every session at Defrag as well.
After the sessions I go back to main stage for another mind blowing assortment of talks around identity, security, privacy and of course some more APIs, and a very important talk on imperative of women in technology. Just at the point where I feel like my brain can't absorb any more, the doors open and Eric Norlin, our host, let's us go for the evening.
Before the official reception begins, I need to get some nourishment, so I run over to the Tap Room and devour an assortment of sliders and enjoy an IPA to wash down the enormous amount of API knowledge I had to absorb today. Alright, now I'm ready for some networking at the reception.
I quickly realize the Defrag reception is just an appetizer for a long evening of meaningful conversations with the who's who in the technology space. I spend the next 7 hours bouncing from table to table, toasting with the likes of Mike Maney(@the_spinmd) the Spin Dr himself, Andy Thurai of Intel and Uri Sarid of Mulesoft, to name just a few. Drink after drink I re-enforce existing relationships and make numerous other new connections with faces I might know from their Twitter photos, but haven't actually had the chance to meet in person and take the connection to the next level.
Its 2 AM. With a head full of IPAs and APIs I head off to bed, knowing I have another full two days of this! When I'm done I know I can head home for the holidays, finish off the year properly with the one event I will never miss, because I know my year will not be complete and properly closed out if I miss it.
I hope to see you at Defrag, and have a chance to buy you a beer!