We run about 30 events a year in the UK and we like to think we do a pretty good job of delivering good ones. We would love to think this is because we are amazing but the reality is this is simply because we try to make sure we have amazing people participate.
Quality not quantity is key. More value is created by having 18 amazing people in a room of 20, than it is to have 100 amazing people in a room of 200. The truth for us though is that while we enjoy the events we run, we don’t get to enjoy them as participants, as delegates, as fact sponges, because we want to make sure that our guests get the most out of them.
Of the events I have attended in the last few years, (some extraordinary fora including TED Global), Business of Software in Boston last year was stand out awesome.
A few things really made it stand out.
- It was an event aimed at owners and founders of profitable, growing software businesses but it did not spend the entire time considering either (a) code or (b) how to get venture funding in 6 weeks to sell to Google in 18 months.
- The speakers, most of whom spoke for an hour, were incredible. Most of them stayed for the entire event, not because they felt they had to but because they wanted to. (One speaker told me that he had been to two previous Business of Software events as a delegate. Being asked to speak felt like a huge honour and a huge responsibility).
- Seth Godin, Joel Spolsky, Dharmesh Shah, Eric Ries, Peldi, Derek Sivers, Jason Cohen, Dan Bricklin… Not all of the speakers are household names but they all had compelling stories to tell, points to make and ideas to action. See my index and notes here:https://thebln.com/2010/10/organised-notes-index-of-business-of-software-2010-talks/
- The participants were open and engaged. With a maximum capacity of 320 people, it was easy to catch up with the people you wanted to connect with.
- The conference is not cheap but many people I met had gladly spent their entire annual travel/conference budget to be there.
It was two and a half days of laid-back but high-energy, high-quality, collaborative, friendly, networking, listening and talking to some of the most extraordinary people on the software planet. It is the sort of event that people love getting involved in.