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Entries in category: Networking

When considering conferences, this year was just made highly notable by having XP2010, the 11th International Conference on Agile Software Development being hosted in Trondheim, Norway. It is a highly innovative conference providing a space for both the presentation of academic papers in combination with regular talks by people from the software industry. For me the conference presented a unique opportunity to broaden my horizons at a conference I normally wouldn't attend. In addition I also submitted and got accepted a lightening talk on the advantages of wiki usage based on my experiences with building wiki solutions in Atlassian Confluence at several of my consulting clients.

Attending the conference was very interesting with the academic factor and high level of international attendance giving it a different atmosphere to most Norwegian industry conferences. The talks were generally very good and highly inspiring in addition to the agenda allowing for excellent networking opportunities with the large amount of highly interesting people attending from around the world, being topped of by the conference banquet held at the student society building in Trondheim beginning with a Jazz-talk, followed by a tapas dinner with traditional Norwegian dishes and finally a black metal concert by Keep of Kalessin!

This past year I've been getting quite a few speaking engagements at conferences, some big and some small, and now also one abroad! I'm just returning home from overseas where I have given a talk at the Defrag social technology conference in Denver, Colorado.

The stated goal of the conference is "accelerating the “aha” moment". It aims to be doing this by gathering a wide range of thought leaders and leading innovators from the technology sector and bringing them together in a topical forum to see where we go from here. This of course means that networking at this conference is incredible with the crowd being made up of very savvy, smart and interesting people. In addition there were a few but very good open spaces, excellent keynotes, panel discussions and a series of topical explorations beginning with a set of talks and rounding off with open debates.

My talk was in the topical exploration on "Leveraging the Open Web". It started out by an introduction to the industrialization of content creation Peter Sweeney, after which I covered the basics of Open Data from where I handed over to Paul Miller to talk about Linked Data, and finally the session was rounded off with a short debate facilitated by Ben Kepes.

In many ways this was one of the most interesting conference experiences I've had, so I've also blogged about it in more detail here.

For me this spring has certainly been one of the busiest in recent years. Firstly there has been tons of great stuff happening in my new job with projects, proposals, conferences and just getting into the new flow here. While hectic this has thankfully not affected my spare time to any large degree. What has made an impact however are all of the social and professional networking events that have been happening lately.

For my own benefit I regularly attend a variety of after-work networking and trade-events, while at the same time trying to limit myself to only those that I find the most interesting. In addition comes those meetings and gatherings directly related to my work and the offices I hold, so in total there are usually something on my schedule a few nights every week.

Among the events I attend most frequently are several of the technology related trade-events around Oslo, particularly First Tuesday and the XP (Extreme Programming), Agile and UX (User Experience) meetups, along with the many one off seminars on various topics being held by Tekna, The Polytechnic Society and The Norwegian Computer Society. In between these come irregular social gatherings by the various Alumni-organizations I'm a part of, like GSA, Start Norge and Nova100, as well as gatherings with the former co-students at my bachelors and masters degree programmes.

Why this spring has been particularly busy is in part due to most of the groups above being unusually active, but in addition there has been a whole range of new events starting up that I've been eager to check out; including the Last Friday innovation evenings by Ignitas, regular Oslo-gatherings with the Internations and Couchsurfing social community-websites, TweetupOslo meetups for Twitterers as well as networking gatherings with the LinkedIn and Xing professional communities in Oslo. I've naturally not been able to attend more than a fraction of the available events, but I've been very happy with both the technical and social outcomes of most of those I did go to, especially for business networking!

Last week it was time for the annual Oslo Innovation Week, a week full of events promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. For me it started out with a motivational lecture on Networking and Internationalization organized by the Norwegian Polytechnic Society and students at the School of Prosjektdesign, featuring the serial entrepreneur Ryan Blair. He really has an amazing story to tell!

Next was a combined event of Movation Future Forum, the Venture Cup Norway Finals and First Tuesday, a rocking show in the Oslo City Hall with millions in prize money being handed out to worthy entrepreneurs. This was followed by Start Forum, the annual meeting-place and general assembly for members of the student organization Start Norway. Which after several days with activities, networking and fun was concluded last Saturday with a black-tie dinner at Drengsrud gård in Asker. Definitely one for the history-books!

Last evening I returned from Lillehammer where I have attended the Yggdrasil conference on user interface design. Most of what I followed was focused on Web 2.0, like how to design an online shop and make good search-filters. There were also talks on the Second Brain and Symphonical beta-stage sites, and I followed a really good workshop on how to communicate successfully through design, held by visiting Yahoo! interface guru Luke Wroblewski. I have learned a lot and I'm absolutely going to attend next year too if I can!

Also my return coincided with the second annual Oslo Innovation Week, last night represented by First Tuesday and tomorrow with 'Entrepreneurs Day' at Oslo Innovation Center. All this and JavaZone have kept me quite busy this fall, especially as I in addition to the things mentioned also have been to multiple talks with GSA, DnD and IBM, as well as networking events with Tekna, Mediabar and among others.

Ever since high school people have been talking about how networking is the key to a successful career, but rarely about how to build such a network. Making friends everywhere you go is a start, but it might not get you there if you can't stay in touch, and when life moves you apart that can be hard, especially with acquaintances.

In May 2003 a solution came about with the founding of the online business network LinkedIn. Adding contacts here will allow both of you to follow each others professional life from afar. The real bonus however, is that you will both be able to leverage the other persons network as your own!

Since joining in October 2004, I have added 232 friends and coworkers as first-level connections in my profile. Through these and their contacts I am as of today linked to more than one million people! This is my key to the networking advantage, and it can give me a foot in the door of virtually every industry across the world. A career awaits... !

I'm just back to work after spending the last two days at JavaZone, the premier scandinavian conference for Java-developers, sporting over 100 lectures and having more than 2000 attendees. In addition to spending time by the vendor-booths I followed a bunch of lectures, mainly on java-related web-technologies like jMaki, Comet, JSF, Wicket, JavaFX, AJAX, Flex and other web-frameworks. Some lectures were good and some were bad, but overall I had a great time as I learned quite a bit, met up with both old friends and new acquaintances and got a lot of leads on new stuff that I'm going to look into.