I like going to conferences as I find them a really good way to get introduced to a bunch of topics I don't know enough about. For various reasons I only went to two this year. Instead I have collected links to talks I was interested in. However I really dislike watching presentations on my computer, so I haven't seen any of them until recently. I never get nearly as much out of them as when I listen in a dimly lit conference room.
Hence I recently tried to replicate conference experience at home. I have downloaded the talks1 and dedicated a full day to watching them. It was brilliant. I especially liked:
- that I could focus very much as I can at conferences
- it is cheap and comfortable as I don't need to travel farther than our living room
- line-up perfectly matched my interests
- I could skip uninteresting talks easily without wasting time
- that speakers would wait for me in mid-sentence if necessary when I needed more time
However not everything is better and there are aspects I have missed:
- not all interesting talks are publicly available
- discussions about talks or ideas provoked by talks with other attendees
- (ab)using power of pausing talks may interfere with your uptake as it can fragment talk's narrative
- meeting new people (which as an introvert I don't do much anyway)
Of these I miss discussions the most. Fry recently came up with a cool idea of starting a (video) talk "book club". The idea, which obviously needs a better name, is to meet fortnightly or so and have a discussion around talk everyone agreed to listen beforehand. It seems like a well balanced proposal to me, but I am curious to hear what others think about. Who would be interested in?
- What's the benefit that couldn't be solved differently of publishing videos on public website but preventing their download? ↩