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Notes on a Conference

Posted by Meg Bear on September 25, 2008

 Wanted to post some thoughts, while they were still fresh, about my experiences at Openworld this year.  This was a year for listening, being the first in awhile where I was not speaking (or so I thought).  Here are some of the random observations and experiences I had in my short visit to Mascone.

  • This was my first year observing and participating OOW on Twitter.  Overall I found that a total hoot, a bit like passing notes in class.  I even attempted to “live tweet” the Fusion sessions which scared me, not only for the opportunity to be taken out of context, but also for the fact that my iPhone “word recognition” often makes what I type even more nonsensical then normal.


  • There is such energy talking to customers and partners.  Not the manufactured kind of discussion you do internally, when you attempt to develop composite examples, the real world kind, where truth is far stranger then fiction.  The stories ground me and sustain me.  I was reminded again, that while technology innovation is important, helping customers create a business case is even more critical.  Without a business case, innovation cannot be realized.


  • Once again, I came back with great stories of how having a plan at a conference can go terribly wrong.  At least this year I was armed with a GPS which was a huge relief.  My fun discovery that there are two different Intercontinential hotels in San Francisco, did a lot to expand my appreciation for the city and grow my self-esteem.  My cluelessness sometimes even amazes me.


  • I learned first hand, that walking from Nob hill to Mascone is not really fun, especially in boots that are past their useful life.  I think that I should consider a business of selling shoe inserts and blister tape at conferences and trade shows.  I would have gladly paid a huge markup for easy access to such products.


  •  Got an opportunity to speak on a panel.  My role was to stand in for Josh Bersin, who had a last minute change in plans.  It was a great opportunity to talk about trends in Learning.  I did my best Josh, to represent your views on the trends of Cost Reduction and Corporate Universities.  I am sure I was picked for this panel due to my vast experience in the subject matter and not at all for the fact I happened to be available.


  • Read a lot of theories and thoughts about Fusion.  These spanned a very broad range of tenors and emotions.  After recovering from my own personal emotional reaction, I decided to remember that, in the end it’s about doing the right thing.  Building the best products we can, to provide value to our customers.  This is the only part I personally can participate in, the rest will have to work itself out in time.


  • Managed to get ditched at a party by my good friend Amy.  In fairness, we were leaving, so why should she wait while I was getting her coat?  In the end the priceless text message of “I accidentially ended up in a cab” is going to provide years of fun for me and I do look great in the coat, so I got that going for me (which is nice).


  • Missed an opportunity to meet Mr. ORCLville in person.  This was a huge error on my part.  It wasn’t that I accidentially ended up in a cab, just didn’t want to rush the stage after Steve’s session as I figured I would be in the way.

Of course, I also managed to see a lot of friends and colleagues (past and present), and do a little dancing too.  Had a good lead on a pass for the concert but didn’t sufficiently follow up, when an early night somehow sounded like a better plan. 

And so ends another year at OOW, I am already kicking around ideas for next year.  Now off to some R&R before I return to my day job.

2 Responses to “Notes on a Conference”

  1. Pete Ryan said

    Enjoyed reading your story, Meg. There was a nugget in there that I should have etched in my mind…

    “After recovering from my own personal emotional reaction, I decided to remember that, in the end it’s about doing the right thing.”

    Very wise words… and sometimes so hard to remember in the heat of battle.

  2. Amy Wilson said

    Those cabs are tricky … very crafty with tentacles everywhere!
    Hope you are enjoying the jacket!

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