Even if you don’t live and breathe open source, I highly recommend you attend at least one conference that fits your schedule and travel budget. The technical know-how you gain can make your life easier, and it’s helpful to know what’s on the horizon. Sometimes, a single how-to presentation can save you a week of work or a panel discussion can help you formulate your company’s IT strategy—and that justifies the cost.
Plus, in the sense of enlightened self-interest, attending conferences is an investment in your own career: You need to keep your tech skills honed. Even introverts can get something out of the personal networking experience, which helps when you want to find your next job. You can’t beat the “hallway” track at a conference for learning what people really think about the latest and greatest programs. Webinars and online streaming of keynote speeches are all well and good, but nothing’s quite as rewarding as meeting people of like minds in real life.