Yesterday, Scott Abel posted that PubsNet (the company behind the DocTrain conference series) was closing up shop and that DocTrain was no more. Let’s just say that this was a bit of a surprise, and it really saddened me. Sure, it’s a sign of the current economic times but that doesn’t make it any easier.
If you’ve been reading this space for any length of time, you know that over the last few years Aaron and I have been fairly regular participants at DocTrain. We’ve spoken together at DocTrain West twice, participated in a panel another time, and I presented solo at DocTrain East last year. DocTrain was good to us while it lasted.
A piece of our (professional) puzzle
Attending DocTrain definitely contributed the our development as professionals. Not only did attending DocTrain UX 2007 give us our start as speakers, but we definitely learned a lot from the various sessions we attended. On top of that, we learned quite a bit about the importance of marketing and networking.
Speaking of networking, Aaron and I are grateful for the opportunity to meet various people face to face. And not just folks we know from the tech comm blogosphere. The list is long, and I don’t want to embarass anyone by mentioning their name here. There were other folks with whom we chatted, had meals with, interviewed for out podcast, and generally hung around. Their thoughts, their ideas, and their company were refreshing and intriguing.
Something that attending DocTrain did for me was to force me to be a little more … well, social. Anyone who knows me probably realizes that I’m not the most extroverted person around. I really have to make an effort to interact with people; it isn’t easy. But when mingling and talking with people, I found that I could be friendly, affable, marginally interesting, and occasionally charming. OK, maybe not charming … At least I know that I can do it.
A note of thanks
First off, to Scott Abel. I remember when he contacted Aaron and I about speaking at DocTrain UX 2007. Scott didn’t put a lot of pressure on us, and gave us a lot of pointers about developing our talk. Over time, we both grew to like and respect Scott. So much so that both Aaron and I were a tad paranoid about letting Scott down.
What we’ve always liked about Scott it that he has a wicked sense of humour and always has great stories to tell. More to the point, Scott has a lot of great ideas.
The person from PubsNet with whom I had the most interaction was Eileen Savary. While Scott seemed to guide each conference in unique direction, Eileen was always there helping keep things on an even keel. She constantly provided information, pointed us in the right direction, and generally made sure everything was OK. Heck, Eileen even managed to straighten out a problem we were having with a projector! Eileen was always good to me; probably better than I deserved at times.
Looking to the future
As Scott Abel mentioned in his blog post, there are openings for new opportunities. The Content Wrangler Summer School program sounds like it’s going to be interesting; online, too, so you don’t have to worry about travel or hotels.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Scott Abel and others come up with. It should be interesting. Will Aaron and I be a part of it? I hope so …