My friend and colleague, Heather Williams is attending this event in Washington DC. In fact together with Andrew Ferguson she is presenting an Experience Report there on Wednesday at 4 p.m. If you are there, please do stop by say hello and cheer loudly at appropriate moments.
Anyway, here is the first of Heather's guest contributions:
"Going to a conference as a single, especially when its not a conference in your own "domain" can be a bit intimidating. At least it was for me, as a UCDer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User-centered_design), when I checked in at Agile 2007.
When I arrived late afternoon today I registered, strolled around and starting staking out the place, the people, the atmosphere. I crashed the last hour of my Shepherd's tutorial on prototyping & usability testing. That was neat. I got a chance to study the program in a more readable manner (the online program is seriously lacking in ease of readability). While I'm at Agile 2007 I'm doing my second ever conference presentation on Wednesday with colleague Andrew Ferguson ("The UCD Perspective: Before and After Agile" http://www.agile2007.org/index.php?page=sub/&id=563). So I was able to scope out our room and get a feel for the crowd we're going to be talking with.
With the first day of a conference comes, of course, the grand opening social event. Tonight was a lovely candle light buffet service with soft TV sitcom music playing in the background. Being a single at a conference can be a little lonely also, especially when so many others arrive with their own network of classmates or colleagues. My network does not arrive for another day. So when the balloon artist asked me if I would like something I said, "Oh yeah, especially if it's big and I can wear it!" He made me a wonderful hat (http://www.flickr.com/photos/hgruber/1110434476/in/set-72157601426489591/)! What a conversation piece that turned out to be! It's a sure way to help any fish out of water to make friends. I met scads of people and was even able to evangelize UCD mythology in an Agile environment.
Day one was not so bad, even as a single. Hum, I wonder what tomorrow will bring..."