COMMON North America has a long and treasured history among the IBM i community.
From humble beginnings, through platform changes, over more than fifty years, the organization continues to provide relevant education for not only the IBM i platform, but adds more AIX and Linux education each year. While the audience of Linux and AIX attendees is slowly growing, the majority of attendees remain IBM i customers.
This year, the Annual COMMON Conference will be held in Austin, TX, starting on Sunday April 7, 2013. There are four days of conference sessions, including technical education, personal and professional development, and a few networking and social events. Three pre-conference workshops will be held on Saturday April 6, and while they are an extra registration cost, if you are interested in the topics, they are extremely good value.
For some IBM i developers, their companies provide the financial means to attend the Annual COMMON Conference. With the shrinking of IT budgets over the last decade, some companies trim their budgets starting with education. While that is quite shortsighted for a company, an IT professional has a question to ask - is it their own career or does it belong to their current employer? For those who wish to have a career, they spend their own resources - time and some money - as an investment in their own future. The attendees at the Annual COMMON Conference are a mix of industry pundits, speakers, press, IBMers, IT developers on a company ticket, and individuals wishing to expand their own skill set.
Personally, the topics I present are a mix. I introduce the first time attendees to the conference on Sunday morning - a session from which, each conference, I get a bunch of new personal friends. This year I am presenting some modernization sessions, where I can advise IBM i customers using the benefit of my feet-on-the-street experience, and of course, I enjoy the professional and personal development sessions I present. Both How to be an IT Survivor and Get A Life! are gold medal winning sessions from past conferences. This time around, I get to introduce my new motivational session You Are (already) Extraordinary.
Of course, I have other reasons to be at the conference. As a past COMMON board member, I am welcome to attend any of the Board meetings during the conference. I am always interested in talking modernization with customers and industry pundits. And, I always plan to attend sessions to strengthen my technical skills - this year, my focus will be hardware leaning to ensure I maintain a breadth of knowledge of our platform.
Without doubt, the cherry-on-the-top benefit of attending the Annual COMMON Conference is the in-person networking. Certainly, we can find answers on the internet for our technical issues. But talking with experts in person, engaging in technical discussions, can extend your knowledge, inspire you to research and learn other technologies, and help in solving open business problems.
Finally, I am always excited to attend IBM i user groups, conferences and events to re-engage the community and reinvigorate the passion for our platform. As usual, I will be bringing IBM i buttons - this time celebrating 20i3. I will also borrow a bunch of IBM i logo stickers to hand out, and encourage other community members to spread their own passion. And, I am pleased to be able to present a new session I have titled Promoting IBM i and its Future to your business.
Are you ready to be pumped up?
If you are not registered for Austin yet, you can be! At common.org you can do that..
While you are here, if you are willing to share, tell us what inspires you at these COMMON annual events?