While there were some great presentations at the conference, the higher benefit is meeting people.
I was able to reconnect with some people, but also got to meet some very nice new friends. While people often talk about the benefits of networking at these events, I am really more interested in the friendship part.
I tend to approach these things by wanting nothing more than good conversations that go til 1:30 in the morning, and good times where it seems to take longer to gather people, figure out what direction to walk, and decide on where to eat than it does to actually have dinner.
I could approach it in such a way that I look at the company name listed on the conference badge more than the name of the person. If that were true, I’d have hung out more with the people from TiVo. ;) There were quite a few job postings this year. That coupled with the 521 attendance number leads me to believe that the employment life of a usability professional is picking up.
Make no mistake: I made connections. But the benefit I am looking for from these people is long-term friendship. So, to those I met and hung out with: thank you. And to those who verbally agreed to be my friend: legally binding contract.
UPA 2005. Good conference.
UPA 2006 is in Broomfield, Colorado, which is between Denver and Boulder.