I have both figuratively and literally left Cannes behind me, as I write this on a TGV train heading north. A train ride provides a good chance to reflect and to blog; there’s not much time for either of those activities during Symposium itself.
Every conference is different, but this one had several differences which made it stand out. First, no doubt, was the rain. The South of France might sound exotic and evoke ideas of warm breezes and the beach, but it can be wet in November. This year it was. The rain made moving between venues a little tricky, although the lightning over the Mediterranean made for spectacular late night shows. Luckily, the pre-event power failures through much of southeastern France didn’t cause too many problems, at least not so the delegates would notice. Friday morning’s water main problems which closed the bathrooms in the Palais for several hours were a bit more inconvenient.
Every year, I am amazed at the competence and dedication of the events staff. This year, as conference chair I worked with them far more closely, than I have in the past, especially our wonderful program manager, Andrea Smith. She and everyone else on the events team work frighteningly long hours making sure that analysts have everything we need, and that delegates get everything they want. I cannot thank you enough for making us look so good.
I managed to get some Tweets off during the week, although there wasn’t much time for blogging or other work. From Tuesday to Friday mid-day, I had 34 client meetings, five presentations, four dinners (two on Tuesday alone), and two client lunches. That’s a pretty standard load for analysts at Symposium.
The end of a conference is always a strange time. After days with precious little quiet time, with plenty of people around making sure I’m in the right place with everything I need, the end always feels like a shock. After the closing keynote, I walk out of the hall that has felt like home for a couple days. It’s barely recognizable anymore with the signage removed and the stands taken down. I had a couple hours before my train, and I felt oddly adrift, even selfish, not to be hurrying of someplace to get something done.
Don’t worry; after 45 minutes on the Croisette looking at the water, I’m able to happily waste time again just like I always could. I plan to devote myself fully to that activity as soon as I finish this post and close my laptop, at least until Monday morning. It seems that I am already late with submissions for the next Symposium season.