This morning I clicked “Submit for Review” on my very first conference presentation abstract. The conference isn’t until mid-May, but I’m ridiculously excited about it, and I hope it’s accepted. I made a declaration to a couple of friends back in the spring that I would attend the Americas SAP User Group (ASUG)/SAPPHIRE Now annual convention next year in Orlando, and perhaps be there with a team of the best Crystal Reports specialists around. It’s a conference for vendors and users of SAP tools and applications. If my abstract is accepted my conference fee is paid for – to the tune of $2500. Not too shabby for speaking about things I already know and am passionate about. (That’s my inner geek talking.) Plus it feeds my desire for travel (tax deductible) and warm weather.
For the last two years I’ve been diligently working on a primary contract from my home office; it’s become lonely, and has very little input from the outside. It was really more like a job. And those who know me know that I’m not about jobs. Sometimes I’d sit and work at Starbucks just to be around other people. So late this summer I began a new practice: register for and/or attend a business networking event every week until the first week of January. At first I struggled, both to overcome the inertia of getting out the door, and to find events that were not just filled with real estate agents and life coaches. I got more active on LinkedIn groups. I joined the Toronto Board of Trade, which seems to have the best business events around. So far so good.
On Tuesday I attended an AMAZING presentation about the massive advantages and cost savings for using tape storage instead of disk storage. (Check out @JonToigo on Twitter) Seriously? Now that is not a sexy, new technology. But for large shops, the savings are in the millions, annually. I’ve been having doubts about whether it’s smart to continue specializing, and even build a big practice, with a tool that Gen Ys think is waning. But what I’ve come to see is that I have a lot to contribute, and a lot of knowledge. All I need to do is open my mouth. In public. ASUG Annual Conference and Sapphire Now, here I come.