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Why Speaking? Traveling to Conferences so much?!

It is a question that everyone asking me; why you are traveling so much? Why are you going to all these conferences? it is especially much more strange for them that they find out I don’t get paid for these conference speakings (except when I’m doing a pre-con). I’ve been answering these questions every day in my life and thought better to write about it. I believe this helps many people to understand what I see in these travels and conferences and may help them too.

I’m a consultant, and that basically means if I am not doing unbillable work, then I will make no money! very simple. I’ve been doing consulting and training many years in my life, and I’m still doing it and enjoying this life. You have some clients already and you do billable work for them, more you work in this space, they will know you more, and you get more clients and more billable work. It is a simple flow of consulting business. However, consultancy is a GOOD state, that will persuade you not to go to the GREAT state.

From my point of view; everyone in every business, in every industry, or every job; should invest in their career path. Investing in career path is not basically just paying for certificates, attending university programs and so on. Those are important, but the main point of investing is investing TIME. Not the Money, not anything else. For every person; time is the most valuable thing in life (especially if you are a consultant, you can realize that easier 😉 ). Time is the most valuable asset you have, and it is important to use it wisely. We have just limited number of time. 24 hours a day! not more!

Why I’m saying these? because when you think of time as the most valuable asset of your life, then you can think of all best things you can do with that. Here are some examples;

  • Is it better to spend 5 hours fixing that issue right away, or study 2 hours first, and then probably fix it in 1 hour?
  • Is it better to drive to work every day and spending 2×45 minutes at least, or catch the train even if it takes 2×1 hours sessions, and listen to a podcast, read a book, or study something 2 hours a day?
  • Is it better to consult all your working hours in chargeable work? or INVEST some of that in learning and then earn more?

This question list can go on an on. you will find many scenarios like this that you can improve the way that your time spent.

Why Conferences? traveling?

Consultant’s mind comes to calculating the hourly rate for almost everything. When you think of going to an overseas conference, seating in airplane for 10+ hours, the time spent in airports and transits, the days spent in the conference itself (which is obviously all unpaid), and many other times spent around; it comes with the big question that; “How on earth going to an overseas conference is so much useful?”

Well, the answer to that from my opinion is that; It is all investing your time. When you go to a conference you spend a lot of time (and money of course), but this is an investment. You gain many things instead; learnings, social gathering, knowing peers in your fields, knowing people with your mindset, and many other things. Obviously, this investment doesn’t work directly. It is never like this that when you return from the conference, your payslip doubles up! I have never seen anything like that. But it will affect in long term.

I am going to two or three conferences every year in the United States (which is at least 12+ hours flight for me), and one or two conferences every year in Europe (which is 24+ hours flight for me), and many in New Zealand and Australia. In fact, if you see my calendar schedule; every month, I’m traveling somewhere for a conference. When I am in a conference, I feel I’m doing something out of the ordinary schedule of my life. Instead of going to work 9 am to 5 pm for a client or two, working with technical challenges, I’m attending a conference full of geeks and networking with them. This will give me a feeling of having an adventure in my career. So it is not just the investment in time, it is also an exciting part of my life.

Leila and I here in last PASS Summit blogger’s table:

Why do I speak?

I like to teach people, I am a trainer, and I like to share my knowledge with the world. When you read my blog posts, you can realize how much I enjoy writing and sharing my knowledge, Same rules apply when I’m speaking. I speak to share my knowledge, and I learn from many other speakers too.

I’ve spoken in many conferences in my life and enjoyed every single one of them. However, there are some conferences that I always have on my list;

  • PASS Summit; The world’s largest gathering of Microsoft Data Platform professionals. I’ve been honored to speak at PASS Summit for the past 5 years. This conference gathers thousands of data professionals from all around the world to Seattle every year. If you are a data professional, this is a conference MUST GO. You’ll get 200 or more speakers from all around the world, Microsoft product groups and many other learning and networking opportunities.
  • Microsoft Data Insight Summit; Considering the evolve of Power BI these recent years, there is no better conference than Data Insight Summit, which happens once a year in Seattle. Last Year, more than 2000 people attended. All Power BI product managers were on the speaker’s list. many MVPs from all around the world attended. I’ve been honored to speak there as well.
  • Microsoft Ignite/TechEd: The new generation of TechEd is named Ignite. Microsoft Ignite is a premier conference that runs every year in the USA and some other countries. I’ve been honored to speak in some Ignites so far. This conference gathered more than 20 thousand attendees last year.
  • Data&BI Summit in Dublin; This is a conference that is running for the first time in Dublin, but it is based on the previous Power BI World Tour events running by Dynamic Communities, I believe this is going to be a very powerful conference for Power BI and must attend for every Power BI professional in Europe to attend to.
  • Difinity; I can’t talk about all other conferences in the world, and don’t mention the conference we have in New Zealand. Difinity is the largest Data Platform and Microsoft BI conference in New Zealand. This year is the second time running it. We are glad that we have 40 speakers from all around the world for this conference.
  • SQLNexus: A Nordic conference of data professionals. I’ve been honored to speak there twice, and the last time I did a full day workshop there too. This is a very well organized event, the new generation of this event is going to be Nexus Camp which seems to be more workshop-style conference. I highly recommend everyone in Nordic and Europe to attend.
  • SQL Saturdays: SQL Saturdays are free 1-day events, You will see those in almost every major city in the world. These are focusing on anything about Microsoft Data Platform.
  • Power BI World Tour: Last year Power BI user group community ran world tour in 7 cities in the world. it was a 2-days conference focusing only on Power BI. A well worth event, with Microsoft speakers and local MVPs.

If you would like to speak; watch these conference’s websites, they always have an announcement for speakers. If you like to attend don’t hesitate to register for the conference. From my point of view, the investment that you put for your learning is always the best investment. let me know what your thoughts are in the comment area 🙂

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