Boondoggle is such a funny word. Generally it means anything that is frivolous or a waste of time while having the appearance of having value.
I was first introduced to the word as it related to a work trip that someone else was taking to a far-away exotic land. It was said in a friendly jest mostly born out of jealousy. But as someone who has attended my fair share of conferences and work events, I will be the first to admit that some are just that. With our own Qlik Qonnections 2016 coming up quickly (May 1-4), those of us that have been involved in the planning owe it to you to prove that our event is NOT a boondoggle. So below I will share with you some of the things that I think make our event worth your time.
#1 - Cool People
This is BY FAR the most important item. If you got stuck in a room full of lame people for even an hour (let alone days) any event would be a waste. At Qlik, we are all about people: we believe that the power of data isn’t about the data at all. It is about the collective human intelligence across an organization which can be harnessed and magnified by leveraging your data. At Qonnections 2016, you will find:
- Inspirational Keynote Speakers
Talk about inspirational! Our keynote speaker is none other than Scott Kelly – the NASA astronaut who just got back from a historic year in space (definitely not a boondoggle). With life lessons and personal stories that reveal unique and valuable advice on pushing one’s own limits, to insight on the leadership and teamwork required in such demanding conditions, you are bound to be on the edge of your seat. I know I will be.
(Of course, I don’t want to brag but there will be some pretty cool Qlik folks on the main stage too!)
- Knowledgeable Skilled Presenters
From industry experts, to Qlik’s most talented internal staff, to amazing partners, and delighted customers - you will find nearly 200 speakers dedicated to making sure that you get the most out of every session. I am particularly excited to hear from our customers who will be sharing their success stories with Qlik. Join companies like BMW, Intuit, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis Pharmaceutical, PayPal, Sketchers, Wells Fargo Securities, and many more as they join us on stage.
- Quality Attendees
That’s you! Of course, you’re cool… your reading my blog :) Seriously though, one of the key reasons that I decided to join Qlik three years ago was because of the awesome, engaged, thoughtful intelligent user community.
#2 – Hot Topics
A conference shouldn’t be just a glorified training session. You can do that from your laptop in your bunny slippers using the Qlik Continuous Classroom.
- What’s New and What’s Coming
The goal of this conference is to help you understand the strategy and future direction of your investment in Qlik. At Qonnections 2016 you will learn all about things that are “coming soon” but also about where we are headed so that you can feel confident about your partnership with Qlik.
- Hot Space
We get it. There are probably a LOT of folks asking you to come to their conferences too. And, of course, your budget and time are limited. So, why come to our event? Because visual analytics is HOT. Like SUPER HOT! But don’t take my word for it. Check out the most recent Gartner MQ where the entire market was turned upside down this year and Qlik continued to rise above the rest as we held our position in the Leader’s Quadrant for the last six years!
#3 – Great Session Content
Much of your time at any conference will be spent in breakout sessions. We already mentioned the importance of quality speakers. But you should also think about both the breadth and depth of the content as well.
- Depth of content
Some of you may attend conferences so that you can deepen your knowledge about a particular topic - stretching beyond what a typical classroom setting can provide. In addition to standard sessions, you will also find numerous hands-on workshops. Qonnections 2016 is the one place where you will have access to the best and brightest minds from across Qlik so that you can answer every question and geek out to your heart’s content.
- Breadth of content
Qlik has evolved drastically in the past few years - from a one product company to a full visual analytics platform. As you explore the agenda, consider sitting in on at least a few of the wide range of sessions offered at Qonnections 2016 so that you can learn about how to get even more from your investment in Qlik by leveraging the entire product family!
#4 – Ample Networking
Honestly, some of my most memorable conference memories come from my conversations with other attendees.
- Mix and Mingle
From the welcome reception, lounge areas, dining halls and more, it is important that any event provides you with an atmosphere that encourages you to meet and talk with a variety of people.
- Birds of a Feather
We make it easy to connect with people from the same industry and/or function so that you can swap stories and learn more about what others have accomplished with Qlik. (Hey fellow geeks - you will also find dedicated a lounge area just for developers in addition to our annual Hackathon.)
- Company Insiders
Having access to key people from across the company provides you with a unique look at the inner workings of Qlik. Ask questions and just as importantly – provide input – into the future direction of our platform. In addition to leading sessions, these individuals will be readily available during networking and exposition hours. (You will find me at the Products Q-bar. Come say hello!)
This group is especially important to Qlik as we have a long company history of working very closely with our partners. From implementation experts to value added services, the Discovery Expo at Qonnections 2016 will be buzzing with partners from across the globe who have proven their ability to help others like you succeed. In addition to a long list of exhibitors, you will have the opportunity to join sessions led by incredible partners such Analytics8, Axis Group, and Cognizant – three of the premier analytics consulting firms - as well as RapidMinder - the industry's #1 open source predictive analytics platform.
#5 – Awesome Food & Entertainment
- Shhh…. Don’t tell your boss about this one.
We get it! You are giving up your personal time too. So get ready to have some fun…especially at customer appreciation night! Just don’t tell anybody…. Otherwise they will think you are at a boondoggle. :)
As if that wasn’t enough, Qlik will also be inviting attendees to apply for an opportunity to join us this July for a life changing trip to Tanzania in support of one of our charitable partners WeSeeHope! You can learn more about this trip as well as our corporate social responsibility (CSR) program Change Our World at the Qonnections 2016 Discovery Expo.
See you there!
Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments!
By NASA/Scott Kelly [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons