Since 2009 we are helding a conference in South America called Interaction South America (ISA). This year´s edition of ISA ´11 had 600 subscriptions, 200 people on the waiting list. It happened in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil., making clear that this is the Interaction Design time for South America.
The South American version of the Conference has also an academic part. In 2011, we had more than 100 papers to select. Academics from all over the world helped us to select the 48 ready to presentation.
Yes, I've seen that too. Unfortunately, with the current state of the
market how can someone hire rock stars when there are more jobs than
candidates to fill the shoes. That, and rockstars normally have egos
that decimate the team they join (I've witnessed this) because no one
wants to work with an arrogant person in a team environment.
>From my experience, a company who doesn't contribute to professional development is not one worth working for.