If you’re reading this on Monday, March 1, today is the first day of the Enterprise Software Development Conference, and as conference chair, I’m running around like the proverbial chicken with my head cut off.

As I write this, however, we’re in the calm before the storm. Hundreds of enterprise software developers and development managers are about to descend upon San Mateo, Calif., for an exciting three days of workshops, technical classes, conversation and networking.

It’s going to be a great week. I love conferences, studying with experts like our outstanding faculty, and learning even more from experts like you, our readers, who are attending the conference.

Day in and day out, too much of my time is spent staring at a couple of huge, glowing monitors. Sure, that’s where most of the work gets done. True, much of my output is measured by the fruit of the keyboard. Yet, despite all the technology, the computer isn’t where learning takes place or where innovative ideas come from.

Every time I attend a conference (every time!), my brain goes into sensory overdrive. Conversations and questions energize the neurons. Complacency vanishes, and pages of notes bloom. Don’t know about you, but the best thinking truly occurs outside the box.

If you’re attending ESDC, please flag me down and say “Hello.” (I’m the crazy-looking guy who looks like he either lost something, forgot something or is late to something. That’s okay. Stop me anyway.) I’m looking forward to learning from you.

Alan Zeichick is editorial director of SD Times. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/zeichick. Read his blog at ztrek.blogspot.com.