Defrag’s over, and my sense was that it was our best yet. I wanted to share some quick thoughts/reflections, and then come back in a later post (in a few weeks) and share my “here’s where we’re gonna improve” post that I do annually.
1. One of the ironies of being the guy that creates the agenda is that I barely get to see any speakers. I catch them in snippets, mostly — not whole chunks. I’ve actually identified this as a problem this year, and have some things going in place next year to fix it (ie, bringing in a “speaker manager” and staging area from our AV company, so as to remove that from my plate). In the meantime, the speakers that I did get to see part or most of were incredible. Jeff Ma was the perfect closer for day 1. David Weinberger brought unparalleled passion to morning 2. Paul Kedrosky led us down a road that only Paul can lead us down (and wonderfully), and Jeff Jonas astounded us with his work. My sense is that the rest of the speakers were equally as impactful.
2. Something really wonderful (I’ve been calling it “magical” - half in jest) happened this year. The “community” that we’ve been fostering as a core group of people really coalesced into the show itself. I had countless people who had never been before approach me and tell me that they felt like the environment was so welcoming, that they could approach anyone, that it was almost as if “they’d been here before.” And for those that had been here before, I think there was a qualitative difference. I don’t quite know how to put my finger on it yet, but Defrag (the gathering) really is like a family reunion in a lot of ways (the Cluetrain authors are now gathering there on an annual basis).
3. As a result of #2, I’m coming out of this show with a completely different outlook. Normally, the type A in me exits the show saying, “and next year, we’ll be X bigger,” or “and next year, we’ll have so-and-so here.” This year that’s really not the case. I don’t care if we ever grow by one more person. That’s irrelevant to me. The group of people we have assembled are so amazing, so happy, so involved — that adding to them doesn’t matter. In fact, adding to them, might damage what we have, so we’re actually gonna cap Defrag’s size right around this year’s number. As a tertiary result, I no longer care if TechCrunch (for example), or some enterprise, or anyone else decides to send someone. I love the people that are coming and that are there. And if you don’t know the coolness that is being at Defrag — well, it’s really more your loss than anything else.
I hope all of that’s coming across the right way (humble, thankful, amazed).
4. Lastly, a huge thank you to everyone at this year’s Defrag. You were an absolutely amazing group of people –and (as witnessed above) you’ve transformed what Defrag will be forever.
Next year is Defrag’s fifth year of existence, and I cannot WAIT to do this for another 5 years, so that I can be sitting here talking about how Defrag’s 10th anniversary is coming.
We’re gonna do a lot of special events to celebrate next year’s fifth incarnation of the show — I hope all of you Defrag alumni will plan to attend.