I love learning new things. Sometimes I close my eyes at work to blur out the
squiggles of conference speaker ideas and drift away on a boat, lost at sea, re-visiting
the last anecdote I heard at an after dinner speech. For some reason I think about
my last email from Tim Harford; his signature informs me that it was; ‘Sent via a
miraculous yet tiny contraption, so please excuse the brevity of the email.’ This jolts
me back to my conference speaker list as I think about whom else is well placed to
speak on Big Data.
Tim is right of course, mobiles really are miraculous – he demonstrated just this in
our last JLA Breakfast event and, with summer in full swing, we’re now looking to
our next season. With F1 just screeching round the corner and the football coming
to a close (is it, I haven’t really been watching?) you would be forgiven for thinking
we would look to focus on sport. There’s so much going on, it’s hard to know where
to start; politics, independence, social networking… there’s no limit to what you
can find a conference speaker for. As for my sins, I have recently taken over the
organisation of our seasonal speaker breakfasts, boasting the diverse and exciting
range of conference speaker options we can open your eyes to.
It is really quite a refined experience, watching a conference speaker at 9am,
munching on a croissant and sipping orange juice (if I may say so myself!). As
Jeremy always says, there’s nothing wrong with making people laugh in the
morning. He’s right of course, but it’s a mighty hard job! I know I am not the only
one who would rather not engage so early in the day. But to my great surprise,
they do it – I wish I could take the credit – but somehow we have people choking
on apple juice, taken by surprise by a conference speaker who they thought
wouldn’t be entertaining them so early in the morning.
Being in a room full of only 100 people, it’s a really intimate and wonderful
experience to see how a conference speaker is human too (with meaningful
messages to convey of course!). As James Woudhuysen proved by knocking my
beautiful staging down right before he debunked some myths…!
It’s a really wonderful opportunity being part of the Breakfasts – to momentarily
be part of a process on the other side of an event. Maybe one day, I will have
collected enough experience and can become a conference speaker myself!