Experience a new dimension of BILT

Last week was time for BILT North America and I enjoyed attending vicariously via the tweets from Toronto. Back in 2014, I was lucky enough to be able to attend what was then RTC North America in Chicago, or more technically, Schaumburg, a satellite of Chicago (it would be a bit like calling RTC Wollongong, RTC Sydney).

I was convinced by my friends, Jason Howden and Chris Razzell to submit our abstract BIMx:Big Ideas around Big Data for the North American event, as well as the Australian event. We didn’t get selected for ANZ but we did for NA – and so the BIMinions were born and on their way to Chicago. I had already decided to plan a holiday alongside my trip to the states, and was then amazingly lucky to be asked to also visit some client sites while I was there (the stars occasionally align!). So as well as having time to visit Chicago proper, I also visited Boston, upstate New York and Toronto, travelling for around 3 weeks – gotta make that 24 hour flight worthwhile!

Attending an event like BILT while travelling really gives you a great chance to get to know the locals and see another side to the culture, in a way that being a tourist doesn’t. While often we feel that America is a familiar culture, in many ways it is very different from Australia or New Zealand. I learnt some interesting new terminology for doubling up on your drinks which I won’t share with you here – anyone from ANZ would think they had stumbled into a different kind of site entirely.  It’s also really interesting to see the Americans on mass in their home country – and yes I think they are all really really good speakers compared to us (I have since confirmed they are trained from primary school). Whilst many aspects of the conference are the same, there are cultural differences within the conference too – bowling was a big hit for the Friday night (can’t really see that here), there was much less swearing by speakers and even with spirits freely available at the bar, Americans still can’t party like we do at BILT ANZ. The BIMinion toys were also a crazy big hit – people were tweeting us wanting to buy them! In the end, only one BIMinion made it home to Oz – one was kidnapped and another raffled off as a lucky door prize at our talk.

While I traveled as part of a great little group of ANZ speakers, not knowing so many people at the event also gave me the chance to meet a whole lot of new people, from America and also from Europe. On a professional note it was great to see how Australia and New Zealand, as quite small countries were really able to stand up great speakers and experience alongside the impressive American schedule.

This year, I will be travelling to Denmark for BILT Europe in Aarhus. Again, I’m planning a holiday travelling through Denmark with my partner and toddler beforehand. I’m looking forward to many aspects of the trip – LEGOland here we come! As well as the great architecture and design Denmark has to offer. I’m sure BILT Europe will be a very different event to either ANZ or NA and I’m really looking forward to experiencing it for the first time. BILT Europe runs from 5-7 October. There’s still time to register!

Or maybe you’d like to plan a bit further ahead and think about speaking at one of our international events next year.  Abstract submissions are already open for BILT Asia  from 5-7 April 2018. Abstracts for other events open later in the year, keep an eye on our Global News. Just make sure you read the speaker T & Cs – we get things pretty good over here with the full cost of registration for speakers covered, this is not the case at other events. 

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