FinCon12: a little too much of a good thing
This will be just a mini-con report rather than a full-fledged article, because I am trying to catch up on both a) sleep and b) a to-do list of daunting length.
I’m really glad that I went to FinCon, and I’m just as glad to be home again.
I consider myself an introvert — not because I don’t like being around people, but because I find meeting new ones stressful and exhausting. I can manage to simulate extroversion only in short bursts — in this case, about two days max. By Saturday I was already tapped out and in desperate need of a few days at home with just my spouse and my pets. Which of course I did not get.
But before completely losing my social impetus I managed to briefly meet a lot of people and (my favorite part) make a more genuine connection with a handful (hi to Michelle and Elizabeth!), including the one attendee whose blog I have been reading regularly for most of a year. I had several interesting extended conversations … and a couple too many drinks (cough). Above all I am glad Stacy was there to act as my wing-woman, both because she was a stabilizing and comforting presence in the midst of the social whirlwind, and because at any point I could get the insights and perspectives of a professional journalist just by leaning over six inches and whispering.
Of the formal sessions, Liz Weston’s talk on “How to Give Good Financial Advice” had the most impact on me. She was more or less introducing personal finance bloggers to the tenets of traditional journalism, and encouraging us to follow them. I do some of those things already, but I’m now giving serious consideration to a couple of others. There are some aspects to the blog approach (like the focus on personal stories) that I don’t wish to give up, but I’m aiming for a best-of-both-worlds hybrid.
There were a couple of sessions that I wanted to see but missed, either because they conflicted with another or because I had keeled over from exhaustion. (Sadly, my chronic rapid insomnia/narcolepsy cycle does not mesh well with a convention schedule.) I’m counting on the video recordings to help me fill in the gaps.
FinCon also contributed to the crystallization of my own sense of what I don’t want to do. I’m not going to call anyone out in particular, but some people are pushing ideas about blogging/writing/marketing which strike me as wildly — sometimes even appallingly! — wrongheaded.
In retrospect I think I was silly to try to ‘prepare’ for the convention by reading other attendees’ blogs. With 400 people in attendance, the overlap between my randomized pre-reading and the people I actually met was nearly zero. And I’ve concluded that, as the comments to my pre-FinCon post suggested, reading All The Things is neither sustainable or useful in the long run.
But I did at least get a snapshot of what other bloggers are currently doing in this field. And if the result is a resolve to deliberately (rather than accidentally) position myself away from the herd, well … I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Several people have told me recently that they read Pocketmint even though they don’t read any other personal finance blogs, or even any other blogs at all.
On Sunday I ended up on stage in front of a couple hundred people, thanks to my pal JD. This was not part of the original weekend plan. I had a vague idea of what he was going to ask me, but had to handle the specifics on the fly. I babbled a little. Gotta work on the public speaking, especially the extemporaneous part.
Putting that on my to-do list now. Item #237, or thereabouts. (sigh)