True, but you're speaking only from a hardware perspective. I have been to 'good conferences' where they have talks that spark me to research new ideas that eventually lead to productive lines of inquiry (RailsConf or in a previous life, PDC) and ones that are just advertisements or feature "Touchy Feely" talks about programmer sentiment and egos (RubyConf, total Yuck.) The ones that make me think, or research, are worth it. Even some of the keynotes (RailsConf 2016, keynote by Paul Lamere, from Spotify, fired my imagination and prompted me to take 6 months of courses on Big Data and Machine learning, which will eventually pay my employer dividends and then some,) by big names in their fields are worth the entire costs. It just means you need to know where to go, and what to look for, and what to avoid. Talks about diversity for the sake of coloration, or whatever, are little more than rants about unfairness, which leads to nothing company 'costs' if you buy in to them. But ones about how they take advantage of technologies (like one I saw [by a woman, speaking of diversity, which didn't even mention the fact that she was a woman -- BECAUSE THAT ISN'T THE IMPORTANT PART] about how Github used the Scientist gem to migrate their entire security structure without any downtime...) they can lead to local 'breakthroughs.' My advice is to stay away from 'touchy feely' conferences about developers and how they 'feel' at work, and to go to those that focus on the actual state of technology and what's out there and how to use it for your own personal, professional, and business's growth. Being around people who care about the same things, especially when those things are putting numbers on the board, is a great thing. NOT ALL CONFERENCES ARE CREATED EQUAL. That's just how it is. Do your research up front.