Where’s the “Great Debate”?

From today’s news:

CRS-39 Agenda Updated With Research Panels NASHVILLE — January 10, 2008: Two panels focusing on radio research have been added to the agenda at this year’s Country Radio Seminar, set for March 5-7 in Nashville. “The Great Research Debate,” moderated by Country Aircheck’s Lon Helton, will compare the approaches of programmers who rely on research to those who program primarily by instinct. The panel is set for March 5 at 2:30 p.m.

Now I know this kind of a panel is more about the “topic of last resort” than substantial learning, but nevertheless, I can’t believe this is the state of industry education in 2008.

Forgive me for saying the obvious: Any programmer who “programs by instinct” without taking advantage of listener feedback is a fool. And any programmer who has no instinct and depends utterly on what the audience tells them is likewise a fool. And I hope to God I never am forced to work with either kind.

I have another suggestion for a panel: Let’s evaluate the approach of programmers who pick their hits by stabbing them with pins while blindfolded, because blindfolded programmers running around with pins on one stage would be a lot more entertaining and instructive than the “Great Research Debate.”

I know lots of convention panels are an utter waste of time, but should we really be designing them to be so?

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