FlashForward 2007: Why your manager may not approve

For the 2nd year in a row, the powers that be have rejected my request to attend one of the Flash community’s most storied, festive and long running conferences. Although the rejection has come from different companies, with different budgets, the disapproval for my attending Flash Forward this year comes for the same reasons.

To managers, FlashForward looks too much like a festival, with little value to the growing professional. The lack of a structured exhibit hall means little subsidizing for the conference, hence the inflated ticket price. Upon review of the conference, managers see animation, apparent emphasis on design and a spotlight on a Flash film festival. This is hardly, in their eyes, the best use of a typical limited travel budget and even more limited development time you have. 

I thought I would be creative this year and make a bid for an all-expenses-paid presenter slot, but I am not one of the elite 28 speakers chosen at this year’s, Boston-based show. And I do mean elite! There is hardly a name you won’t recognize speaking at FlashForward coming up this fall. But management doesn’t see value in names. They look at the session titles, which FlashForward planners try to suggest be as ‘snappy’ as possible upon submission.

Compare the short and spunky session titles of FlashForward to that of the more structured and curriculum-oriented, lower cost conferences like 360 Flex. You simply won’t find a ‘User Experiences Using Alternate Navigation and Command Gestures’ or even a ‘Memory Management for Flex/Apollo Developers’ in the FlashForward lineup. You see, management likes seeing sessions like these. It means that you’ll come back with better process and efficiency on the brain; a better developer. 

I’m not suggesting Aral Balkan’s ‘Rediscovering Fun!’ at FlashForward won’t be super cool, but it’s hardly worth the nearly $2000 your manager needs to approve for travel and attendance to get you to Boston this September.

And here’s a travel tip from a Boston native: Those lucky enough to be going to the conference, try and get there a few days early. The Red Sox are playing at home and the Yankees are in town.