“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
In a startup, failure is expected. You don’t come to work expecting job security, you come to work expecting to fight every day for your survival. Failure should not be glorified, but neither should it be villianized. It’s simply a risk that you must take, if you want to succeed.
“When I made Dune, I didn’t have final cut. It was a huge, huge sadness, because I felt I had sold out, and on top of that, the film was a failure at the box office. If you do what you believe in and have a failure, that’s one thing: you can still live with yourself. But if you don’t, it’s like dying twice. It’s very, very painful.”
This weekend, I volunteered and attended the github conference (CodeConf). Overall, the conference was great: the food was great and the talks were fairly interesting. But most importantly, the people that attended the conference were interesting. Sitting down at lunch I would meet people from various backgrounds. I talked with people ranging from kernel developers all the way up to web developers. It was these conversations that really made the conference for me.
A presentation can be seen on Youtube and you can have the same experience as having seen it live, but you can't have a conversation with a video. The hard part of giving a talk is being concise, and to the point. Many of the presenters at the conference did just that, but others didn't. However, when you're talking to someone face-to-face you can guide them in the direction that interests you most. In a conversation you learn not about a topic that you may or may not find interesting. Instead, you can guide the conversation to a place that you would love to hear about.
Im not advocating that conference style presentations should be abolished, no. These presentations provide a central theme for conversations to revolve around, they make sure that the people attending have similar interests. When performed well, these presentations can even be more enlightening than a conversation. For example, the metrics presentation at CodeConf did just that. However, not all coders are great public speakers, and in this gap there is a ton of knowledge that needs to be spread.
I guess the moral of this post is: don't go to a conferences just to hear a guy speak, its not worth the money. Instead go to conferences to find people that don't speak, but have something to teach you.