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Why Speakers Love QCon London

Speakers reveal why they attend QCon London, and offer some tips to get the best out of the conference.

QCon hits London on March 9th. We go to conferences to learn about subjects from the expert speakers. But why do the expert speakers go? The speakers give up their own time to prepare and present their sessions. Few are paid, so why do they give up their time to attend Conferences where they often already know the material. We asked them why.

InfoQ : What is the best thing about QCon?

Steve Freeman “the quality of the audience”.

Karl Scotland “Short, focused tracks pulling together diverse, quality speakers on interesting subjects. e.g. as host of the Lean and Kanban track I was able to create what I hope will be an engaging day of talks around the topics of Systems Thinking and Learning.

Kevlin Henney “As with all good conferences, many of the best bits are to be found in the spaces between the sessions. The coffee drunk and conversations and contact information exchanged over shared interests and triggered by talks.”

Liz Keogh “Conferences help us find out how much we don't know. London IT communities have always taught me a lot about that. I'm glad there's lots of time between sessions to discuss our exciting new ignorance.”

InfoQ: What's the best session to attend (and why of course)?

Steve Freeman “Mine, especially our tutorial.”

Jon Jagger “Mine of course! It's on deliberate practice. Why? Because the aim of any conference is for those attending not only to have a great time during the conference but also, if they choose, to put some of the things they learn into practice after the conference.”

Karl Scotland “Err. Mine. Duh. Actually, I'm really looking forward to hearing Benjamin Mitchell talk about Agyriss and how might apply his thinking to avoid Kanban becoming another Management Fad. Possibly slightly controversial, but hopefully thought provoking and insightful.”

Kevlin Henney “If you're on a mission from work, and have been tasked with finding certain things out, the best session you will attend will be the one that surprises you the most. It won't be one of the sessions you are expected to attend, it will be one you attend for personal interest, or to fill the gap between other sessions you planned to attend, or because there was not enough space (or oxygen) at the session you wanted to attend.”

Elizabeth Keogh “I'll be looking for sessions which are on the borders of the things I already know about, or which explain things from a different perspective. Wacky and weird is good.”

InfoQ: What's your best tip to get the most out of the conference?

Steve Freeman “Go to stuff you don't know about, with an emphasis on experience reports.”

Jon Jagger “Choose which sessions you go to using your heart as well as your head.”

Elizabeth Keogh “Get plenty of sleep in the nights before the conference and don't eat sugary food for breakfast!”

A general trend from the speakers is that some of the best quality conversations and insights occur between the sessions and in the evening. There is more depth to Kevlin Henney’s final advice than is initially apparent. “Go with the flow. Especially of coffee.”

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