This is only my second Sitecore Symposium, yet I already feel like a veteran (coming with several first-timers has encouraged this feeling). That said, I'm still surprised by how much there is to get out of the conference beyond the technical.
The Symposium started this year with a reception for all in the pavilion hall, the massive room where all the vendors and partners set up their booths (if you've been to any convention ever, you know what I'm talking about). I didn't time it out, but I'm pretty sure that within minutes of arrived, I met someone from one of our clients whom I work with on an almost daily basis but have never met. After catching up, we started talking shop and realized how much more we had to offer each other. Our regular calls and emails as part of "normal business" would never get to this level of discussion; having the opportunity to meet outside of the normal confines of the day-to-day minutia is so valuable.
Several other clients made their way to the Velir booth (number 506, come visit!), where we chatted and I introduced various other members of the Velir team. After the reception, the majority of the Velir team grabbed dinner together (I forgot to get a picture, so just imagine our lovely smiling faces here). As before, the discussion ranged well past the daily grind, and we were able to share ideas and thoughts that maybe would not have been shared. We discussed how to best showcase our support offering via my role as Support Development Manager when talking to prospective clients. Of course, we also discussed non-work topics, including how it sucks to be a Jets fan (sigh).
I'm really looking forward to the technical sessions tomorrow. But I can't deny the value of the social connections a conference like this enables. It's easy for engineers like me to forget about that. Thank you, Sitecore, for putting on this great conference.