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Yesterday I was getting ready for SAP TechEd by signing up for the hands-on sessions and filling out my itinerary. I found myself having a hard time deciding on what sessions I should sign up for. There is such a broad range. On one hand I can’t tear myself away from some of the ABAP sessions. On the other hand I feel like I should head over to some of the Java/WebDynpro sessions.

My dilemma reminds me of a fight that broke out between my two daughters this past weekend. My younger daughter, who is 18 months, was carrying around an old, dirty doll. She loves this doll even though it is a little past its prime. She refuses to put it down even though she has many newer, nicer toys to play with. My oldest daughter, who is 3 years old, decided it was time to force her sister to give up the old doll.

Naturally this erupted into a big fight. After I broke it up I was asking my older daughter why she tried to take the doll away. She honestly couldn’t understand why her sister didn’t want to give up the old doll. I tried to explain to her that often it is difficult to give up things that we have grown accustomed to. Also there is often much good still left in things that people discard too quickly as being obsolete.

So as I fill out my itinerary, I ask myself: Which daughter am I acting like? Am I holding on to that old doll too long? Or I am push too hard to move on to the new doll? I finally decided that my goal for TechEd this year is to strike a balance between the two.

First I plan to attend sessions that will help me to continue to get Return on Investment in the technologies that my company already has deployed. I think that there is still a lot of good life left in them. Second, I am going to make an effort to get to those sessions that will help me prepare for the technology of tomorrow even if I don’t have the infrastructure at my company to return home and use it immediately. Hopefully I will return from this experience a more well rounded developer (and not just from eating too much at the conference).

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