At this point in my career, I’m fortunate enough to be able to say that I have experience speaking at different types of conferences and events. Developer-only conferences like
Microsoft Build and
SUGCON (Sitecore User Group Conference), business-focused events, and the mega-conference that blends the two worlds together -
I have a developer background, and though my current title is Technical Evangelist, I’ll never stop doing development work and will always be a developer at heart. So I certainly understand the desire to connect with other technical folks, wanting to learns about new technologies from experienced leaders, wanting to geek out about new stuff we’ve tried recently that’s blown our minds, and of course wanting to complain about the frameworks that were a nightmare to implement.
Developers want to see code samples, demos, dev tools.
What excites developers is the “What” and the “How” because we all get a thrill out of problem-solving. My talks for developers have followed the format of, “This is what my goal was, and this is how I achieved it”.
On the other hand, business audiences care more about the “Why” because they are responsible for showing that the dev project they green-lit contributed to long-term growth of their company.
Business audiences want to see strategy, ROI numbers, how to get started with the features they’re paying for, but haven’t started utilizing yet.
My talks for business audiences have followed the format of, “There is this technology available to you, and this is why you should consider utilizing it. This is why it would be valuable to your business and your customers.”
So I’ve made my (probably obvious) points about dev and business tracks catering to different audiences. But the main point I want to make is that Sitecore Symposium gives you a chance to step out of your typical area of expertise and speak to that other half of the audience. For example, if you are a Sitecore contractor or a developer working at a Sitecore agency, you may be witnessing the same mistakes that clients are making over and over that are hurting their projects. Are they thinking about SEO too late and it’s causing a lot of rework? Are they thinking about multi-lingual strategy in the wrong way? Developers don’t have to present in the technical track; if you have valuable advice for our clients, submit a talk for the business track! Likewise, if you are on the business side, and you keep seeing developers consistantly missing the mark with your requirements, we would love to attend a talk about this.
Let’s learn from each other. Conferences that bring all the project roles together are so rare, we should be taking advantage of this opportunitity and crossing tracks more often.