Defrag Blog

Come Early, Stay Late

by Eric Norlin on Aug.11, 2009, under Uncategorized

I woke up this morning with the phrase, “come early, stay late” in my head. I was thinking about Defrag’s agenda (believe it or not, I regularly dream about the agenda) - and why Defrag is different.

Everybody and their brother throws their conference in the Bay Area. They say, “that’s where our customers are.” This is, of course, untrue. The *customers* are in Iowa, Minnesota, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Cheyenne, Boston, LA, Austin, Orlando, Raleigh, Omaha, and Denver (or the statistical majority of them). The *vendors* are in the Bay Area.

So, what’s the typical Bay Area conference “go” like? Folks show up heavy on day 1, do a few meetings on the afternoon of day 1, mingle at the evening reception on day 1, and leave the conference (or only show up intermittently) on day 2. Why? Because their offices are within a 30 minute drive, and the conference isn’t actually a “destination.” How many bay area conferences feel like there are a lot less people there on day 2?

Let’s contrast this with Defrag in Denver:

1. You fly in (or the great majority of you do) and check into a hotel. This is a good thing. It gathers the group in a space they’re not overly familiar with (which fosters innovative thinking and removes distractions).

2. You’ve arrived the night before the conference starts, and you find yourself signed up for pre-conference dinners — a chance to get taken out to dinner with 24 other people around a specific conversation topic, and find yourself making friends/connections early on.

3. The conference begins on day 1, and Andy Kessler and Lili Cheng blow your hair back (they’re our first 2 speakers).

4. You’re not leaving, so you dig in and get REALLY interactive. Two days of interaction, discussions, receptions and connections FLY by.

5. Suddenly, it is the end of day 2, and you’re in the last keynote session. Boy is this one a doozy! Defrag’s re-uniting the Cluetrain authors for the first time in a decade. It’s more than a “session” — by now everyone seems to know everyone else; it’s a gabfest. You’re suddenly very glad you decided to take the last flight out of Denver (or, if you’ve been to defrag before, that you decided to book your flight out first thing in the morning after).

The point is: it is all just too good to miss. Yea, I’m “talking my own book,” but you don’t have to believe me - ask people who have been there. Intimate, exciting, inspirational, strategic - and outside of the echo chamber.

Oh, bonus: defrag’s also cheaper than nearly every other bay area conference. Join us while early bird remains.

Defrag: come early, stay late.

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