OMG, I got zero sleep last night. Yes, I practically had a slumber party all by myself. You see, yesterday morning, I just had to try the in-room espresso machine, bc well fuck, that shit is free. Nevermind that I am super duper HYPERsensitive to caffeine. I figured, heck, I had all damn day to let that shit process through my body. Well, the conference ran 1 – 7p, and then since the pool was closed (major banker hours), I ended up hanging in my room doing work. Then I blogged. Then, whatever, whatever, the next thing I know, it’s fucking 4:30a and I have to get up before 8 to hop in the shower and continue my free-a-thon with the continental breakfast. I know, it’s my own damn fault. I kill myself.
Day 2 of the conference was good except that I kept getting bullshit work email, so that was distracting. And then the conference did this experimental live streaming session with panelists in the UK. The audio sucked, and then on top of that, it like required too much brain power for me to decipher their accents. I know, the Brit accent isn’t that severe, but I’m a tard. Too much brain power. Even though I zoned out on some of the sessions, I did much better today making connections, i.e. spamming people with my business cards.
I have to say, the higher ed scene is an interesting space. It actually feels very high school. The development people are all the cheerleader/cool kids with their school spirit and leadership and involvement (both as students and as alums). The communications people are a lot of ex-journos, so extroverted and curious. The data/techie people are more in the weeds. So the morning keynote yesterday was this Ken-doll-esque sports captain dude with two Ivy League degrees. He’s the CEO of a data aggregation platform that we actually use at my school. For my own professional dev challenge, I knew I had to make the connection. Well all day yesterday, people swarmed around him. I felt intimidated, not only by his academic pedigree but you know, big dog CEO plus he’s all JFK and shit. I dunno. So today, I finally caught him in a solo moment, engrossed on his phone and laptop, and then I went in for the kill. I said that I really enjoyed his talk yesterday, and he replied, “Why?” Yeah, I had to do a double take! What an unexpected reply. It was fine: I explained my connection to his company, that I used his tool last night, blah, blah. I think I played it cool, but I was def a little thrown off. And of course, he later introduced me to another client. In a very high school fashion, she barely gave me two seconds to exchange cards. That’s what I mean. More so than any other industry conference I have attended, this conference really has a strange way of transporting me back to high school with all its awkward and insecure moments.
And let me just say… those development people? Always so beautiful and polished and confident. I mean, it makes sense. They’re the schmoozers, right? I remember a few years back, I toyed with this idea of working in sales. I was convinced that a sales gig would give me super powers, and I would finally be able to stop being inconvenienced by my discomfort and social awkwardness. When I mentioned this to J and all my friends, they all just shook their heads, without a second of hesitation. I mean, radical honesty is radical honesty. They didn’t see it. I actually think I could do it. I might not be super good at it, and it might drain me, but I think I could definitely learn and improve enough to be decent. I mean I did cold calls at the fuel cell startup, and I was ok. Then again, I admit, it would probably never come naturally. Still, how cool to have that charisma and instant magnetism. Haha, listen to me. What it must be like to be cool and popular. Sigh, sigh! See??? Back in high school again.
Anyway, like I said, I met a lot of people today. I happened to sit next to a UC Santa Cruz person, and then she introduced me to a Mills College lady and a guy from UCLA. Interestingly, all of them were former journalists. Isn’t that sad? Fucking news, man. No one cares anymore about the cold hard facts. People just want to see fluffed, sensationalized crap. And social totally aids and abets that shift. We went to a ceviche spot together for lunch. I also met the ED of Marketing and Comm for Texas A&M. Wow, the way he described Galveston there on the ocean. Sounded beautiful PLUS their mascot is a mini horse. I mean, I’m sold!! Texas anyone?
So my bud Josh flies in tonight. Kinda late, so I’m going to research some food options for a late dinner. I managed to squeeze in some pool and hot tub time earlier as soon as the sessions let out. Still cloudy outside but the pool was nice. I dunno why more people don’t go in the pool. They just lay around, and there’s no f-ing sun!! Doesn’t make sense. I went in the hot tub too. It was super hot (yay!) and cloudy as hell. So kinda gross, but I made the best of it. Incidentally, I just discovered a foosball table in the next building. Love foosball. We’ll see if J is up for a game later.