This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be in sunny, pre apocalyptic hail storm, Arizona for the inaugural SABR Analytics Conference. I had a great time, but like most work related conferences, my personal highlights had little to do with the actual information sessions, and a whole lot more to do with the networking and mingling that occurred outside of the official program.
If anything, the majority of the panels and information sessions had an air about them that too closely resembled that of an intellectual circle jerk. The speaker relayed information that the majority of the audience already knew, and their words only served to reassure everyone’s individual awareness of their own intelligence. It was the type of setting in which laughter during the talks wasn’t involuntary, but rather a conscious decision by audience members meant to show other audience members that they understand the joke.
That probably reads harsher than it’s meant to be. Organizing this type of conference certainly represents a tedious balancing act. Those in charge had to make things appealing for a wide array of attendees. My hope in attending the conference was to learn about evaluations that depend on information that I might not have considered before. Unfortunately, between guarded answers from individuals wanting to protect their proprietary information and my own high expectations leading into the sessions, I was left somewhat unsatisfied.
Despite my criticisms, I did manage to walk away with some fresh perspectives and lessons learned. Here are my top ten: