See you at CAST 2015

Thanks to my awesome company’s sponsorship and my wife’s love of travel I will be at CAST this year and attending the tutorial “Delivering Difficult Messages” by Fiona Charles. This is both my first time attending CAST and traveling to Grand Rapids, MI so I’m expecting to have a little fun and to learn a lot. As for the conference experience, I’m not sure what to expect.

Over the last four or five years I’ve been to a few different conferences and training events:

WTST 13 was my first-ever peer workshop and the last trip I made. In contrast to large conferences like STAR and STPCon where several hundred or even a thousand people crisscross each other as they go to any number of tutorials or talks, the peer workshop format was limited to 20-25 participants in a single room. There were a few presenters who spoke along a similar theme but it was the participants who drove the discussions until everyone was satisfied. It was certainly a unique experience.

Comparing workshops to conferences may not be fair due to their different approaches but my goal for attending them is the same: to learn something new and useful (apply to my job or company) and interact with my peers.

My understanding of CAST’s format, even before going, is it’s a small-ish conference attended by few hundred conference-goers, most of whom are AST members. Although a few hundred participants is still a good-sized event, I’m hoping to be able to interact with a few (or a lot) people. Of the few conferences I’ve attended the biggest impact has always been the interactions: meeting others, sharing problems, being challenged in my thinking, trying to explain something, reference recommendations, etc.

Aside from the one tutorial I’m signed up for and a welcome get-together in the morning each day I don’t know what else there is planned. There’s no schedule available, yet and until there is I won’t be sure what to expect.

Enough about my expectations; who else is attending and what are you looking forward to?

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Jamie Larson