Here’s the third in a series of tips for making the most of your experience at the GIANT conference taking place this week in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. In case you missed the prior ones, here they are:
- How to work the room at the GIANT conference, part 1: Bring your instrument!
- How to work the room at the GIANT conference, part 2: What’s your one-line self-introduction?
You may be a guest, but you are also a host!
The people behind GIANT are fantastic conference organizers; it’s my favorite conference since RubyFringe and FutureRuby, which were so mind-blowing that they led a number of attendees to quit their jobs and start their own Ruby-based companies. Those conferences had such a special vibe and brought together such great people, and GIANT is the only conference I’ve been to that captures that same feel.
Just as RubyFringe and FutureRuby brought together some of the coolest, smartest, most interesting developers you’ll meet, GIANT brings together some of the coolest, smartest, most interesting designers you’ll meet. In one way, really don’t belong here — I’m really a developer who turned into a marketing guy — but in another way, I really do. I’m an extrovert in a field where a lot of people tend towards introversion, and I serve a useful role here: I will introduce people here to other people.
Think of the parties that you enjoyed most. What made them so enjoyable? Was it the venue? The food? The drinks? The bathrooms? I’d lay good odds that what made the party enjoyable was the people.
The GIANT organizers know this, which is why they went to great lengths to make their conference attractive to “people who do rad work”, as they put it. They’d love to make sure that the rad people they invited mix and mingle, but they’re vastly outnumbered by their guests. They can’t do it alone. They need you to play host.
That means that if you see someone who’s standing at the periphery of the room, looking lost or lonely, walk up and introduce yourself! If you’re in a group conversation and see someone hovering at the periphery, invite them in! If you’re one of the fortunate people who knows other people at this shindig, do introductions! The best guests, the ones who get invited back to parties, the ones who strike up friendships and opprtunities, are the ones who also play the role of hosts.
See you out there at GIANT! I’ll be the one with the accordion, pretending to be a host.