Thoughts from NTC

I am so glad I finally made it to a NTC (Nonprofit Technology Conference). I’ve been here in New Orleans since Tuesday night, heading home tomorrow morning.

I get jazzed about technology…not just about what it does or all the geeky parts, but about the problems it solves. Even before I started working for C3, I leaned towards the nonprofit world and nonprofit clients. I feel like I’ve been a nonprofit geek my entire professional life, but I didn’t know it until a couple of years ago.

I’m surrounded by people who react to this stuff as I do. Folks who think about how technology can and should change the world, and not just “isn’t this cool?!?” They’re just as passionate about the nonprofits they work for or represent as they are about the tools they use. Brilliant people who could make much more money working in the private sector but instead focus on using their geek for the greater good. Inspiring.

Over the next few days I’ll parse it all into smaller, more coherent posts on relevant topics. For now, some personal and babbling highlights, generally in chronological order…

My plane not having to go anywhere Dallas/Fort Worth to get here.

Taking over the Google Apps affinity meeting on Wednesday morning. After migrating two domains, training Outlook-fixated users on how to use it, and reading everything I could get my hands on about it, I guess I had some knowledge to share with the group. People asked questions and in my you-can-shut-up-now-Judi way I volunteered some suggestions. It was a great discussion, focused not just on “this is what it can do” but “this is the reality of making it happen.” People have been coming up to me ever since to say nice things about what I said and ask me questions. Thanks.

Meeting folks at last that I’ve idolized from a virtual distance has been the absolute best part of this week. Too many to list. I hope you know who you are. Twitter is different now that I have faces and conversations to go with the little icons that have been scrolling on my screen for the past few months. For everyone who only started Tweeting just for #08NTC, please don’t stop.

Winning a NTENny award at the members lunch! Deborah Elizabeth Finn and I shared “Most Likely to Win a Pulitzer Prize for Blogging.” So honored, especially in the company.

I took a stroll around the Science Fair (expo), but since the majority of the tools would require me to collect data in another silo or would repeat functionality I already had in Salesforce or Convio, I didn’t have much interest. I am all about data integration these days, and we don’t have the resources to afford these tools and build the bridges. Instead, I spent a lot of time chatting with the large team here from Convio. They’ve made a number of announcements here at NTC, including that the Salesforce Connector is now on the Salesforce appexchange. As I’ve said to many, it feels like my two best friends just got married.

By the way, Convio now has a blog. It’s not press releases and product announcements. It’s aiming to be an honest conversation with the community. So far, I really like it. Check it out. Great job, Jordan and gang. Keep it up!

Using Twitter to facilitate having dinner at Dragos on Wednesday night with two strangers who are now friends. Thanks for a great time, @AC_at_work and @JohnNP. For someone who doesn’t eat pork or shellfish, meals have been a bit of a challenge here.

David Pogue’s plenary on Thursday morning. David Pogue can read the phone book (at one point, he literally started to) and it would be a great time. I remember his presentations to the New York Mac Users Group back in 1992, and he is an even better public speaker now that he’s famous (in geek circles, at least). Like some others, I was a bit disappointed that he only delivered his prepared presentation and didn’t tailor his talk to the audience he was speaking to. It would have been nice to say something, anything, about how technology gives back. I laughed a lot so I guess that counts. Instead, I got a lot of great information out of the Twitter back channel that was buzzing during the presentation, as folks expanded on what Pogue was talking about and got into more non-profit specific applications.

Most of the sessions I’ve attended have been wonderful. Some have been more along the lines of, “what can we do about world peace” while others are more practical hands-on strategies. I went to a session that focused on virtual workers that was particularly interesting. I learned the most from a session on reading between the lines in web statistics. Even though Sonny Cloward warned me that his Salesforce session might be too basic for me, I got some links to resources that I hadn’t seen before.

Thanks for a great conference (and free wifi) NTEN! I’ll do whatever I can to make it to San Francisco next year. 🙂

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