I watched from afar as 20,000 people attended re:Invent this past week in person. It looked like a lot of fun and I can’t help but think a lot of people learned a lot of things.
More important than learning things, conferences are about building trust and networking. Humans build trust by doing things together and having shared experiences. Usually, trust is built faster when people are physically together because the most memorable experiences are created by our senses.
If you want to learn something, there are more efficient ways to do it than attending a conference. If you want to build trust and meet like-minded people there are cheaper alternatives.
But I know not being efficient and not finding the cheapest solution also have value. When it comes to doing both things and being a good way to get funds—conferences are the best we currently have.