I’m sitting in the main room of Self.Conference waiting for the start of day 2 and mostly trying to figure out how I’m going to absorb another day of material. It’s a problem that is somewhat unique to Self, in my experience.

When I attend a tech conference, it’s with the inherent understanding that I’m going to be deluged with technical information, and I’ve developed a note-taking system to accommodate that; a sort of mind mapping that gives me the ability to use future research to fill in gaps.

When I attend a non-technical conference, I find myself mentally triaging information as it comes in so that the important stuff has room to perch; keep…discard….discard…discard. The information density is sufficiently light that it’s a fairly trivial task.

Self is different. The mix of soft and tech talks surely has something to do with it, as does the fact that most topics end up falling firmly in between: a discussion of algorithm development that also deals heavily with the societal ramifications of hidden assumptions, for example. The culprit is more likely the emotional energy this conference gives me. For the next few month I want to learn new languages, do bigger things, and exert whatever modest leverage I possess to make things better. I will be a better denizen of my industry for the next quarter on the back of the inspiration Self has provided.

What I think I’m saying is that I need this to happen about four times per year.

Until that happens, I’m going to settle in, absorb as much of day 2 as I can, and try to use the energy it provides for the foreseeable future in a positive way.

If you haven’t made it out to Self, I highly suggest giving it a try next year!