2009 AYE conference report

The 2009 AYE (Amplify Your Effectiveness) conference was started by Jerry Weinberg about 10 years ago. The conference is designed for people working in the software industry but aims to increase their effectiveness by increasing awareness at the personal and team levels.

This years conference was held at the Embassy Suites hotel in Phoenix Arizona on Nov 9th, 10th, and 11th. The weather was hot and sunny as you'd expect in a desert city. The hotel is clean and spacious and air conditioned, the rooms likewise, and the staff friendly and helpful. It has a large heated outdoor pool with an accompanying jacuzzi, a spacious veranda area and an open-tent area for eating outdoors.

I've read that Jerry started the conference to win a bet he made whilst attending another conference he was not impressed with. It's therefore not too surprising that anything remotely resembling a powerpoint presentation is banned and always has been. Instead the conference emphasizes simulation and experience. The website at http://www.ayeconference.com/ contains a wiki full of material spanning many years and is well worth a look if you are interested in attending.

Each participant's name badge revealed their Myers Briggs personality type (you are asked to do an online test before you arrive). This provided an interesting topic of conversation but was only very lightly used during the scheduled sessions. Many of the sessions were role play type games, typically organized into teams.

The conference is limited to 80 participants on a first come first served basis. $300 dollars reserved a space and the total cost depended on how early you paid in full (reserve later and its dearer). Paying at the earliest opportunity meant another $900 to pay. Plenty of drink and snacks are provided together with a buffet style midday meal. On top of this the hotel room costs about $100 a night which includes an excellent breakfast. Add to this an evening meal and the flight.

The conference felt a lot like a non-technical version of the ACCU conference. It had a very relaxed atmosphere and yet at the same time was quite intense at times. I really enjoyed it and found it a very valuable experience. I met lots of great people and plan to attend in 2010.

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