My long-time business partner, Phil Becker, describes the last four weeks leading up to a conference as being “in the chute.” Which is to say, you’re a bull or bronco rider at a rodeo, you hop on, find your grip, gain your balance, mind-racing, heart-pumping, and give them the thumbs up — and then there’s a lag, and in that 2 seconds or so before they open the chute, there’s this weird, calm anticipation. That’s being in the chute.
At 4 weeks out, the details hit. At 3 weeks out, it gets worse. At 2 weeks out, you don’t know how it will ever get better. And then at about 7 days out, this weird calm anticipation takes over. You’ve done all that you can to make the show great. You’ve poured every ounce of energy and know-how you’ve got into the thing. You’ve got sponsors and speakers and bags and fleeces and barcamps and pre-conference dinners and reception and menus planned and robotic balls and books ordered and bags ready and badges printed and registrations rolling in and press registered and A/V set and wifi done and opening video being rendered and and and…the list never ends.
Until it does. And then, in the last few days before the show, you survey. The house you work out of is completely trashed. Your intentions to exercise five days a week and lose just a few more pounds before the show have gone to hell. You’ve sampled fast food and pizza far more than you should. There are white boards with numbers, stick figures and cuss words in various rooms of your house. Your dogs think you’re nuts because your sleep patterns are screwed. And there always seems to be the faint sound of the Scorpions in the air. But, somehow, you’re ready.
You’re in the chute. The show’s gonna happen. And it’s going to be great.
That’s where I’ll be in 5-6 days (i’m still in detail hell at the moment).
Once the chute opens, we get on a plane, fly to denver, experience 3.5 days of pure madness. And it’s over. The bucking bronco gets put back in the stall, and with any luck, they’re not pulling you out of the ring on a stretcher.
Oh yea - and you can join us on the “ride” part of the chute opening. Join us.
P.S. I’d be completely remiss if I didn’t point out that my wife Kim is 99% the reason that the last four weeks before any of our shows turn out to be a success and not a complete and utter failure. All of the details mentioned above - yea, she handles those.