At the 2003 PASS Summit in Seattle the organization had a "SIG Challenge" that involved developing a database solution to a business problem. They assigned people to teams and allowed us to work on the problem only when sessions weren't occurring, but we could start as early as 6:30am and work as late as 11:30pm. My teammates and I took advantage of those long hours. We didn't win, but we became fast friends, and meet up every year (when possible) at the PASS Summit, and even met in Hamburg last December when I went to Germany to visit my daughter.
The important learning takeaway was the opportunity to meet and work with people in other organizations, who probably have similar problems, but may have solved them in different ways. Through PASS I've met many amazing people who have a wide array of experience, and they help me understand that there are many ways to solve a problem - some good, some better, but it's the people you meet that make it worthwhile.