In just a couple of weeks, a fire hose of new information is going to come out of the BUILD and Ignite conferences. It won’t be about finding needles in a haystack. There will be so many needles, you’ll be wishing for a bit of haystack just to have a rest.
While you’ll certainly pick up a few important nuggets, the chances are that there will be important things that will pass you by. This is quite normal. Most people only retain a fraction of the new information that they are exposed to when confronted with so much new data.
In the past this meant that you could attend a conference, spend all your time in sessions, but at the end of the day retain very little of what you heard. Of course at the time you’re sure that you’ll remember it all, but a week later you’ll have trouble remembering all but a few essentials.
Now that sessions are posted online soon after they are delivered, you have a slightly different option. The vast majority of people who will consume BUILD and Ignite content won’t attend the events. They’re likely to download the sessions later and consume them at their leisure.
Soon after the events occur, there will be scripts allowing you to download everything from the event. While that’s fine, what it will mostly give you is a folder full of video files that you won’t be able to get through.
The real trick to learning from all the content at BUILD and Ignite is to have a plan for how you are going to consume it.
That means you shouldn’t just dive in randomly, or work your way from the first session to the last, but that you should search the catalog for things that are important to you and prioritize them. Prioritizing is important because even though you might intend to watch 30, 40, or 50 sessions, you are more likely to burn out after a few if you don’t pace yourself or have a plan.
I know many people who downloaded the entirety of TechEd last year, but didn’t make it through more than a few sessions because “they’d eventually get around to it”.
After trying the “hey, I’ll watch a bunch of these on the flight from Australia to Europe” (and watching about half of a session before getting distracted by a million other things) what I found worked for me was to limit myself to one session a day and then to consume that session on the treadmill. The less ambitious I was about making my way through the content, the more content I made my way through.
Always feel free to change your plans around. If a session doesn’t grab you, move on to one that does.
One of the drawbacks of throwing a whole lot of separate events together is that the amount of content generated will be overwhelming. As long as you have a plan to get through that content, rather than trying to deal with it on an ad-hoc basis, you should get quite a bit out of it.