Recently I was pondering my options for a presentation to give at a workshop in the coming year, and I came up with two possibilities. I have to choose one:
1. A synthesis of a long-running project, with some new (not presented before) results, and also a summing up of many of the results that I have presented elsewhere (piecemeal) in recent years, but in a more syn-optic way, with discussion of what we know now that we didn't know before, and what it all means. This work is cool but not controversial, has generated some interest over the years, and would be fun to present.
2. The first public presentation of a new dataset for a completely different project, with very exciting-but-preliminary results and possibly very significant conclusions. This work is cool and controversial, has generated some hostility and deep skepticism in the past year, and would be fun to present.
I feel like I should present option #1 because it is important to synthesize and present the latest and greatest results of just-completed studies -- that is, to follow up on all the previous "progress report"-like talks, and present it all as a beautiful and compelling story backed up by a fearsome dataset. I feel like this would be the mature thing to do, and I am completely happy to talk about this project, which still holds my interest.
But I have given a lot of talks on this project in recent years, and I think I want to do option #2 just for the fun of it. I am not sure I should let my desire for cheap conference-thrills guide my decision, but I just might.
Note: At least one more conference-themed post is imminent, as I've gotten interesting questions about conferences from readers recently.
2 months ago