I’m off to New Zealand for a couple of weeks. I like understanding perspectives different from my own as much as possible and seek out opportunities to find them. As somebody much smarter than me noticed, that kind of conversation isn’t very “American,” but I find it essential for conducting myself in the business world in a globalized era. Business conferences allow for exchange of viewpoints between people whose core knowledge and frames of reference may be similar, but whose perspectives are different, which tends to make them interesting. Conferences outside North America are particularly good opportunities to test my ideas from the perspective of a visiting minority.
I had initially planned on a trifecta of larger meetings and conferences, starting with Kiwi PyCon in Auckland, followed by the Canterbury Tech Summit and the Project Management Institute (PMI) New Zealand Conference in Christchurch, with a few smaller meetups along the way. Sadly, Kiwi PyCon was put off to early December, so the trip will be much shorter than originally planned. I still have a talk submission in for Kiwi PyCon and may yet go. (This would allow me to again beat the US in seeing the latest Star Wars release.)
Technology and Project Management are universal languages and themes, but even in a “western” country like New Zealand, they may be focused on different problems or be applied differently to similar problems. The latter can be particularly interesting. For example, I look forward to visiting the Structural Engineering Laboratory (SEL) at the University of Canterbury as part of the PMI conference. As an LAFD volunteer, it will be interesting to see how they differ from California in addressing earthquake risks, and as a (sometimes) practitioner and student of health IT, I will probably also enjoy visiting the Canterbury District Health Board Design Lab later that day. And as a New Yorker I continue to be fascinated at the choices Christchurch has made (or not made) during rebuilding, as my hometown has around the World Trade Center over the past 15 years.
They face problems that are in many ways the same as ones faced here, but at the same time are different. They have solutions that are sometimes the same and sometimes different. Those differences make trips like this uniquely worthwhile.
So, I’ll be off to Christchurch on Sunday, arriving the morning before the monthly Free and Open Source Software Meetup on Tuesday. The Tech Summit is Thursday and the PMI-NZ conference is the following Wed-Fri. A busy schedule, with a few days in between for working at a local co-working place, or maybe try a couple of different ones. I find the pulse of the local tech community can often be measured by what’s going on in those places and regret not stopping into one or two on previous trips.
It’ll be a relatively quick trip given the distance. Four days consumed fully by conferences/meetings, four to five additional workdays, and three and a half weekend days that I hope to use for fun exploration.
Images copyright NZOSS, PMI-NZ and Ministry of Awesome, respectively
Author has no formal relationship to these entities, just a fan/customer/attendee.
Maybe Kiwi Pycon and a bit of a vacation in December!