Sunday, April 08, 2012

In Defense of Conferences

The lead sentence of a Matt Yglesias post:
"I was at a Kaufmann Foundation conference of economics writers late last week, and as usual at a good event like this I feel I learned a ton of stuff in informal conversations with people there and sharpened my own thinking on tons of points." [my emphasis]
 I think that's true and it's one reason why teleconferencing and similar alternatives to in-person meetings can only go so far. When dealing with people in the flesh, particularly people you've never met or don't usually deal with, you learn a lot.  That logic is why, according to Walter Isaacson's bio, Steve Jobs was careful to design Apple's building to foster meetings.  And a similar process occurred in Bell Labs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with that as well. People are not as open when the conversation is not in-person. Those informal after hours discussions were where the "unofficial" but real opinions were given, and where experienced employees shared how they handled situations with the less experienced. You can just be a listener on those discussions and learn a lot.