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.
Iâ€™m really glad that I went to FinCon, and Iâ€™m just as glad to be home again.
I consider myself an introvert — not because I donâ€™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 Westonâ€™s talk on â€œHow to Give Good Financial Adviceâ€ 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 Iâ€™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 donâ€™t wish to give up, but Iâ€™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.) Iâ€™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 donâ€™t want to do. Iâ€™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 â€˜prepareâ€™ for the convention by reading other attendeesâ€™ blogs. With 400 people in attendance, the overlap between my randomized pre-reading and the people I actually met was nearly zero. And Iâ€™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 donâ€™t think thatâ€™s necessarily a bad thing. Several people have told me recently that they read Pocketmint even though they donâ€™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)