I’ve got a couple of notes on a Friday morning, as we start the very early planning for Defrag:
1. I’m overjoyed to announce that Andy Kessler has agreed to be our opening keynote. Andy is, of course, a noted author and frequent contributor to the Op-Ed pages of publications like the Wall Street Journal. You will not want to miss the perspective Andy will bring to the Defrag discussion.
2. You might look at the Defrag homepage and wonder “what’s with that widget?” You know, the one that says “Discover who in your social network is a Defrag attendee.” I’m very happy to be working with EventVue as their alpha customer (alpha alpha - so be kind) around their new “Discover” service. The value proposition of Discover is simple — use it to find out who in your network is a defrag attendee, sign up to be notified when people in your network register for the conference (if you’d like), and receive special discount codes when you use the service. The premise, of course, being that one of the main factors in people’s decision making process around attending is knowing who *else* in their network is coming. We’re just now working on rolling Discover out (and I’m working with the EventVue guys around feedback, design changes, etc) - but I’d love to hear what you think.
3. Lastly, if you’re a sponsor of the recent Semantic Technology Conference or the upcoming Enterprise 2.0 conference, you’re eligible for a discount to sponsor Defrag. Defrag’s obviously a bit of a different animal - since we live at the intersections of a bunch of topics (including those two), and I really hope you’ll give us a look. Email me (enorlin AT mac.com) to find out more.
Believe it or not, we’re beginning to work on Defrag 2009. Please check out what past attendee’s thought of Defrag, and then consider attending this year’s iteration. Here’s what we’ve got cookin’ so far:
2. This year’s sponsors already include folks like -
3. Early “discussion catalysts” (I’ve decided to call them that, since that’s more accurate than “speaker”) already include folks like-
4. I’m already working on some different “format things” for this year’s Defrag. For one thing, I want to run a “problem-set” session — where we ask entrepreneurs to present a problem they’ve discovered (in 5-10mins) SINCE starting their company. Secondly, I want to run “theme focused” afternoons — where we gather 5-8 differing angles on topic themes and then have discussions following. Needless to say, we’re looking to A) pick up the pace of presentations and B) move more directly toward discussion.
Sound interesting? I hope so. And, believe me, we’re really JUST getting started. If you’re interested in joining our awesome sponsors, shoot me an email (enorlin AT mac.com).
So much has been happening around Defrag as of late that, while I’ve been letting it all flow out through Twitter, I’ve neglected to update this space. So, a brain dump.
You should (by now) know that our advisory board includes:
Esther Dyson- Founder of PC Forum, and internet wise-person for as long as I’ve known the internet
Chris Shipley - The woman behind DEMO, and one of the smartest startup analysts I know
Paul Kedrosky - VC, TV-star (cnbc), and *the* smartest person I know about technology and all things financial services
Clay Shirky - Probably the most consistently inspiring internet “guru” around, and author of “Here Comes Everybody”
JP Rangaswami - Unquestionably, one of the leading “CIO-types” on the planet, and all around eclectic thinker
And, I’m extremely pleased to have all of them on board.
Recent sponsors that we’ve added include:
Connectbeam - enterprise social bookmarking and social networking
coComment - folks working on the conversation in the comments
Jive Software - enterprise collaboration and community software
blist - democratizing the database
HiveLive - Online community and social networking folks
MindTouch - Open Source wiki and content management
Fuser - tools for simplifying online activities
Talis - Semantic web application platform
….and several others that I can’t speak about yet.
We’ve also confirmed speakers like:
Professor William Duggan - Strategic Intuition and Defrag
Kevin Merritt - The Democratization of Data
Perry Mizota - Knowledge Networking and Ambient Intimacy
Sam Lawrence - On collaboration, analysts, going big and controversy
Charlene Li - Harnessing the Implicit Value of the Social Graph
Marty Betz - Observing the invisible through aggregating information tomography
Paul Miller - On Semantic topics and users connecting the dots
Brian Oberkirch - Under Sousveillance: Personal Informatics & Techniques of the Self
Lane Becker - Being like the internet
Puneet Gupta (and a great customer) - On rolling out a massive social bookmarking project
…and many others.
And, lastly, we KNOW we’re going to cover topics like:
Finding serendipitous information through context
Users connecting the dots - making the unstructured structured
Getting to relevancy through identity
Next-level discovery (what the hell does that mean?)
…and you can still tell us what we should add to this.
All of that, and its only May (so it only gets better from here). Needless to say, I’m psyched. And I hope you’ll join us.
Lane and the gang over at Get Satisfaction have released their API. Apparently, this will allow folks to build widgets and things to track conversation threads around the Get Satisfaction platform. Cool stuff, huh?
It seems fitting that Get Satisfaction is the Birds of a Feather organizer for this year’s conference. One of the things we didn’t do very well last year was facilitate the Birds of a Feather dinners. I’m know the group from Get Satisfaction will change that for us…..hey, maybe they can build some cool widgets around it? Lane?
Part of what I truly love about running Defrag is that I get to meet and interact with a bunch of young companies and entrepreneurs (who are often very experienced) — and lemme just say, ya gotta love the attitude!
I did nothing but smile when I read the latest post from Kevin over at blist - titled “When can I run blist locally?”:
” Never. Iâ€™m serious. I know the customer is always right. Well not this time. blist is delivered as a service because thatâ€™s where it makes sense to run it - for you - not just for us.”
HA! Amen, Kevin. I couldn’t agree more. The customer is always right — except when they’re dead wrong, and when they are its your job (as a company serving them) to tell them so.
By the way, this “kick ass and take names” attitude seems to be a common thread that runs throughout a bunch of Defrag’s current sponsor companies. Need proof? Just check out Sam over at Jive Software, Aaron at MindTouch or Lane at Get Satisfaction (that goes for our other sponsors too - I just couldn’t find good links quickly).
Does Defrag attract them, or do I search them out? I don’t know and I don’t care - I’m just glad I get to interact with these folks.
First, apologies for the light posting here as of late. I’ve developed a new Twitter addiction, which you can follow here.
Second, we’ve signed three great new sponsors up for Defrag this year:
blist: blist is the worldâ€™s easiest database. blist is all about discovering, sharing, publishing, distributing, and subscribing to data at home and at work.
coComment: coComment is a new service which allows you to enjoy the full potential of comment-based conversation on the web.
MindTouch: MindTouch develops a wiki and application platform for communities and enterprises and a wiki social media platform for online media and brands.
Welcome aboard guys!
As of today, Defrag is officially sold out of our sponsorships (platinums, golds and silvers).
We still have what industry folks call “MPOs,” or marketing/promotional opportunities — things like the lanyard/badge sponsorship, wifi sponsorship, etc — but if you were waiting around to actually be a sponsor of Defrag (platinum, gold or silver), well….a bit late.
Alright, enough self-congratulatory stuff — back to building a great commuity around Defrag.
I’m happy to report that as of this morning, we have ONE Defrag sponsorship left (a silver). We’ll be announcing the folks that have been buying out our platinums and golds in short order. After this last silver goes, the only “sponsorship opportunities” we’ll have left will be things like “wifi sponsor” or “lanyard sponsor.”
Needless to say, if you’re thinking about being a sponsor of Defrag - don’t delay.
And, since we’re still four months out, to be able to say *right now* that we know we’re going to sell out on the sponsor side makes me exceedingly happy. Thanks to all for their help on this — on to content, speakers and gathering together a great community of attendees.
We’re very pleased to have BEA as a platinum sponsor of Defrag, and I’m working with the folks over there to get some of BEA’s customers on-stage to begin talking about how they’re “defragging” in their current initiatives.
As a lead up to that in November, you should be following BEA’s blog, wherein they’re giving us great examples right now.
A couple of notes and a thought:
1. Welcome to Siderean, as they have joined the ranks of Defrag sponsors. I’m getting very close to declaring “sold out” on the sponsor side — which makes me exceedingly happy because I’m truly feeling like we’re going to have a “community” form at the conference, and at the end of the day, the only *good* reason to start a conference is if you think there’s a community-building process you can help facilitate (thereby accomplishing some “work” toward an “endpoint” - though you rarely know what that endpoint is).
2. If you’re not reading Leisa Reichelt over on her Disambiguity blog, you should be. I confirmed Leisa to be a speaker at Defrag, as the things she’s writing, thinking and saying lately are great. Her most recent post is about the “non-zero sum game” of social networking. Quoting:
“Iâ€™ve just started reading The Play Ethic by Pat Kane where Iâ€™ve found Pat using Game Theory to illustrate the same idea. He cites Robert Wright and his book Non-Zero. Wright says that there are two kind of games: zero-sum games (win/lose, like tennis) and non-zero-sum, which are more like an economic exchange or a vibrant community. â€˜Non-zero-sum games increase the rewards for all those who commit to participate in the exchange over a long periodâ€™.”
I love that — “participate in an exchange over a long period of time.” As I said above, the only really *good* reason to start a conference is if you think you can perform a service by helping to facilitate this. Throughout starting up Defrag, I’ve continually had talks with sponsors, speakers and participants where this theme comes up: how its not as valuable to attend *one* conference, but how a community that forms and interacts over a longer period of conferences can become something truly valuable and special. That’s what we’re aiming for.
3. I also confirmed JC Herz for being a speaker at Defrag this week. JC is the author of Joystick Nation, and is now doing some *really* interesting work around data tagging and visualization with applications at the DoD and in large hospitals. I’m very excited to have JC on board as well.