While travelling home from Seattle last week after the AALL conference, which Connie, Kim and I blogged about here and here and here and here, I had an interesting seat mate. More than one interesting person actually. My philosophy is that if you are stuck on a plane and there is someone conversationally inclined, it is a good idea to put down your novel and learn. Every conversation is an opportunity to learn something, whether it is with a student travelling for the first time, someone on the way to visit a grandchild, or someone travelling on a business or educational trip.
One gentlemen I met was from Australia and was on his way home from the Faculty Summit 2013, a Microsoft Research event that offered keynote speeches from the likes of Bill Gates and Clay Shirky. He has recently done some research and writing on the confluence of art and science. A fasincinating conversation on a too short flight. Interestingly, his incoming flight seat mate had been the president of the Australian Law Libraries Association. He confessed to never having met a law librarian and his conversations with the two of us gave him a new perspective for engaging with the librarians in his own field.
Another seat mate works in an industry that is commonly served by my law firm. We exchanged business cards. We had an interesting discussion that may cause him to remember my firm's name at some future point should he need to engage a law firm.
Next time you are on a business trip, strike up a conversation with a stranger. You may learn something fascinating.