Report from TAM 7 (Part 2)
I was sitting here trying to figure out how to summarize Friday (July 10th), the first full day of TAM 7. None of the speakers really stood out, so I roamed the web to try to refresh my memory. A lot of the blog posts are similar to this one I found at Blogosaurus Vex, who wrote:
Though I had a great time at TAM, I was pretty disappointed in most of the actual presentations themselves. Overall, I don’t think it would be worth it to pay to attend just on the strength of the lectures and panels – the real value comes from the community and socializing. On those strengths I will probably attend again. It wasn’t all bad of course, but I wouldn’t rate it better than a B.
I have to agree on the speakers. I’ve been more impressed with the lineup in prior years. I’ll have to go back and watch the DVDs of past TAMs to see if they were as good as I remember or if I’m getting jaded. This was my 4th TAM, so the newness of the experience (and it is quite an experience if you’ve never gone) has worn off.
An observation I made this year is how many people in the audience were there for the first time. They always poll the audience, and it’s always a lot. It looked to me like maybe a quarter of the audience raised their hands this year to that question. The percentage has been similar in the past. This year we had just over 1000 attendees. Last year was 900. The year before was somewhere around 800. As you can see, the number of new attendees is much greater than the increase in overall numbers, so there are many people who decide not to come back. And that is with the prior TAMs being exceptional. With this year’s mediocre lineup, then I expect a bigger falloff in repeat attendance for next year.
Despite this, I still had a lot of fun and I have every intention of going next year. As BV says above (and I see mentioned on most other blogs), the real strength of TAM is connecting with all of the other skeptics in attendance. It’s hard to appreciate how much this contributes to your overall enjoyment of the convention until you actually go to one and experience it for yourself.
As I mentioned previously, I’m having to write shorter posts these days, so I’ll stop here for now. I guess I’ll summarize the actual events of Friday in the next post. If you went to TAM 7, I’m interested in your assessment of the speakers.