I started edCetra Training in 2002. My first DevLearn conference? 2003. That was the first or second DevLearn conference ever. I met Heidi Fisk that year at some other conference where she convinced me to sell my wares at DevLearn. I met a fellow by the name of Tim Martin who over the years became a personal friend, someone who I hung out with even if there wasn’t a Guild event and who nurtured my thought about the industry and the role of conferences to someone like me. I met David Holcombe probably 6-7 years ago and over the last few years have had many conversations about the industry and who I convinced to give a new technology a try – MapDeck. Heidi and I have always chatted since day 1, where she has given me new ideas about what to present and how to present so that I can give to the audience as much as possible. When I see Guild staff, everyone who has known me for the last 4-5 years (and there are quite a few) ask me about my kids. I show them pictures all the time and they’ve seen my kids grow up.
Its only fitting that I now find myself chairing the event that probably spawned my interest in even speaking at an event, let alone publishing a book. And its only fitting that I’m chairing an event that whenever I spoke to Tim Martin, Brent Schlenker and more recently when I’ve spoken to David, I’ve challenged them to create an event where folks who have ‘been there done that, and who get it’ find sessions and events that push them beyond where they are today. I remember very recently (a year ago or so), having dinner with Brent and talking about how to engage folks who are at the upper end of the spectrum in terms of their awareness and understanding and yet still service those attendees coming to catch up.
Let me say this. My first task is to learn how the Guild has created as much success as its had over the course of its lifetime. I need to learn how to replicate that success. I’ve already heard from more than one person asking whether I was there to push the boundaries. The one thing I know is the Guild’s success is based on pushing boundaries. Heidi, David and the rest of the Guild staff know me well enough to know that my interest is to poke and prod at boundaries and with a conference like DevLearn I think there’s a lot of stretching that can be done. That being said, I just hope to follow in the footsteps of Brent Schlenker who over the years did an unbelievable job pushing boundaries and keeping a character like me at bay. To be quite honest, I hope to replicate Brent’s success and provide anybody who attends the same opportunity to experience what I had at my first DevLearn show.