I had a really lovely time at Coworking Europe — it was actually very relaxing to be at a conference where I hardly knew anybody to start with. I got to know the two people I’d already met a bit better: Ramon Suarez of BetaGroup Coworking in Brussels, and Linda Broughton who founded and ran Old Broadcasting House coworking in Leeds, and was also one of the speakers at Going Solo.
It was really a change to not have the pressure of wanting to catch up with an inordinate amount of people I already knew and liked and would end up spending only a few minutes with, as it often is when I go to my “usual” conferences Lift and LeWeb.
A conference full of “new people” is like a library full of unread books. I certainly missed out on getting to know some other great people, but I did get a chance to hang out with and get to know some really lovely people I hadn’t even heard of before coming to the conference.
I love how the world is always ready to present you with new stimulating encounters. I personally like taking the time to know people a bit and tend to hang out with the same crowd throughout the conference. This is fine if you don’t know too many people. It can be very frustrating if the people you’re not hanging out with are also people you already know and appreciate and aren’t spending time with during the one occasion in the year where you have a chance to. And then I end up writing posts like this one.
It was also really nice to be in an uncommercial conference. To have a day of unconference included (I ended up hosting a session, something I absolutely hadn’t planned to do, and did on the spur of the moment because I wanted us to question the assumption that “more” is always “better” (more people, more money, more networking). I got the same kind of “high”, inspiration and remotivation that I got from my participation in Startup Weekend Lausanne earlier this year. I think I need to start going to slightly geekier events again. Like Paris Web.
Some of the people I met and got to spend a little time with, in addition to Luis and Linda: Rebecca, Stefano, Julie, Philippe, Anna, Tony, Adam, Pierre, Nicolas, Pascale, Anna… and a few more of you whose names I can’t recall right now or never learned. Say hi in the comments!