Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Still more things I hate at conferences

Posted by lpearle on 29 March 2007

Ok, so this wasn’t really a conference. My complaint still holds.

Today I went to NYC to visit a school. Why? Because they had arranged a demonstration of a new library system and MPOW is looking at changing the one we have. The meeting was slated to begin at 9:30, which meant that I felt comfortable arranging another meeting – across town – for 11:00.

What a mistake. When I heard that “we have this space until noon”, my heart started to sink. Still, I had the vague hope that the demo-er would take us through the product and leave lots of time for Q&A, and I could not be horrifically rude and leave halfway through.

You can imagine my surprise when he started out with a quote from Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat. And my even greater surprise when he then settled into a lecture about Globalization 1.0. Don’t get me wrong: learning about the difference between China’s reaction to the voyages of Zheng He and the Dutch reaction to the voyages of Columbus is important. But when I’ve come for a demonstration of a library product, well… let’s just say 40 minutes later I was starting to think that this had been a colossal waste of time. Professionally. I did take away a few ideas about Globalization 3.0 that I’ll share later.

My take-away? When you’re invited to speak on a topic – be it at a demonstration, seminar session, conference session, whatever – stick to the topic. Don’t give unneeded, unnecessary sidebars. Our time is valuable and we’ll be a lot happier if we get we they came for (theoretically; practically, not everyone gets what they originally anticipated blah blah blah).

Oh, one other thing. Tim Berners-Lee did not invent the internet. He invented HTML and the Web.


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