It's quite possible that the full-throated value of a scientific meeting for your science is only realized once you are a PI.
It is not infrequent that I come back from scientific meetings all in a tizzy to do one of three things.
1) Put the hurry up on pumping out some data that we've been collecting.
2) Start new experiments! Several. We gotta get on this right now people so let's moooooove!
3) Write two or three new grant proposals.
The reasons are varied but it all comes down to the constellation of encouragements you get at a conference through talking with various people about your data and their own data.
This is why we do this. Because the science is exciting. And meetings put a thick underline below this experience.