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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

BrainShare... End of an Era or Time to Change?

Just moments ago I heard the final decision - BrainShare 2009 is cancelled. A wave of sadness passed through me... I thought back to the early days at the University of Utah, the Port 'o Call, speaking in the keynote room (just once), Meet the Experts partying, the concerts, the many friends I'd meet just one a year in Salt Lake City, Utah.  

Novell's cancellation of BrainShare 2009 definitely marks the end of an era for me - I've presented at every BrainShare since 1998 - since before my kids were born and my hair went grey and I lived in a packet-driven world of analysis. Back in 1998 I was a young whippersnapper skulking around Novell's hallways looking for the secrets behind this networking geek lab. Ray Norda was shuffling his way down the hallway keeping an eye on things and LANalyzer was still a hardware solution owned by Excelan Corporation (which Novell would soon purchase). I was the only girl hanging around the technical support guys (for professional reasons) and truly enamored with the SuperSet guys. 

Novell's announcement (and Apple pulling out of MacWorld in 2010) are indicative of our need to accept and move to a virtual world in more facets of our lives. 

If you got my most recent 
newsletter, you saw our survey regarding virtual conferences. Times have changed, folks... no training budgets, no travel budgets and likely absolutely no conference budgets in 2009. 

Can virtual conferences replace physical ones? Can we replace the human interaction and still walk away (albeit only a couple of feet) to feel satisfied that we've learned a lot in our time 'away' from the office? Can we replace the human networking aspect with something just as satisfying personally and professionally? Time will tell. 

Yes... it's the end of an era... or maybe the beginning of something new and exciting... regardless, I want to thank Novell for putting on one hell of a classy show each year - one that I looked forward to participating in swore I would be at until the day they said 'don't come.'