The painting: "The Witches’ Cove" by Jan Mandijn
The best book about software testing has following introduction: "This book is about software development as we've experienced it." ("Lessons Learned in Software Testing" by Cem Kaner, James Bach, Bret Pettichord). Because you can't talk about testing without the context of the general development itself.
I like conferences – they are usually very inspiring, motivating and sometimes challenging. Visiting testing conferences gives a lot of ideas how to do my job better, but almost always that means improving some processes at the project. And it's almost impossible to change some steady process if more than 10 (or even 5) people are involved in it. To change the process you need to convince all team members that it brings benefits to the project or product. And to convince team members you need to retell the story you heard on the conference (which usually is as long as the conference talk or even longer with all the preparations you need to do) and to be talented speaker (usually inspiring speakers at the conference are good at speach), which in major cases is not true. So, wouldn't it be better that all (or maybe the key ones) team members just visited the conference all together to hear the same talk from experienced speaker and be inspired all at a time?
Majority of the people in the audience is having some ideas during the talk, they are very inspired and willing to do some changes in their project, they came back to work and start to talk about these changes with developers or project managers and then... they get couple of arguments why it won't work in this specific project. And this person, who visited the conference, is not so skillfull as the speaker to pitch other team members. So everyone thinks he is a boring tester who constantly offers some silly ideas.
This is not just impractical, this is harmfull. It brings discord between programmers and testers (and analytics, but programmers vs tester is the most popular confrontation). Programmers doesn't understand why testers suggest to do their life harder, because they haven't heard the same speach. For example, the idea to involve testers into the development as early as possible may seem to be silly if you hear that from one junior tester who visited some conference ("he doesn't understand anything at the early stage and I don't have time to explain it" – may say some programmer). But the same idea from the experienced speaker on the stage is not so silly anymore (at least you need to have a proper argument to argue with it).
I'd like to have conferences about software development generally, where all roles can participate. Surely, there should be specific conferences for testers and programmers, where speakers may talk about how to automate tests, which tools can be used, how to do security or performance testing. However questions like why we need automation, why we need security, at what stage of the project we need to thing about security, how ofter we need to release updates in production should be convered in general conferences, because these are the problems where all team members are involved. The problem is that I don't know any widely spread good conference about software development generally - all good conferences are role specific.
After all, all team members have one common goal – to create a product (good teams have goal to create a qualitative product). Both testers and developers works for the same goal, but visiting different conferences they start to see the same goal from two different perspectives.