This weekend I was at the Chicago Seminars, a weekend conference for points and miles. Generally it’s for beginners, but many experts, including “famous” people in the blogosphere attend. These are my reflections on the Chicago Seminars:
- I met a lot of nice and interesting people, beginners and experts alike. I really enjoyed one-on-one consulting with beginners, and networking with experts.
- I did not learn anything in terms of points and miles. I’m not too surprised, especially considering that this was a conference geared towards beginners.
- Even though most attendees were wonderful, I also met a handful of sour grapes. As some readers might know, I can be rather controversial, especially on Flyertalk. I’m used to the attacks I sometimes get on Flyertalk, which have translated to attacks on my website. However, I was very surprised that some people are just as aggressive in person as they are online. There were only a handful of these folks, but they definitely left a lasting impression about the points and miles community.
- Many beginners, and even some experts, told me that they didn’t join or post on Flyertalk because of the aggressive community. I have written in Flyertalk before about how aggressiveness and over secrecy only leads to the death of a community, and ultimately, knowledge is hindered. I maintain that the points and miles community needs to be more accepting of beginners and to approach controversial topics with the same courtesy and academic outlook that would be expected in the workplace. Without this, you scare away people who could share their own knowledge, or even isolate the next Beethoven of the points and miles community!
- I met quite a few Canadians at the conference. Sadly, there was very little information that is useful for us. To that end, I think the Chicago Seminars would greatly benefit from having a Canadian focused seminar, which I think I’d be perfect to host 😉
Will I go next year? Unless I’m a speaker, probably not. I didn’t learn very much, and it was quite expensive. However, it was great to meet other crazy people like myself, if not for the validation that I’m not uniquely crazy.