Getting excited about the Defrag conference, kicking off this Sunday evening in Denver. Once again, Eric Norlin and his colleagues who originally conceived this event (including VC Brad Feld) have planned a wonderful conference program, and again attracted a stellar group -- coming off a blowout successful first-year event a year ago. (I wrote about the inaugural version extensively: here's an index of my Defrag 2007 posts. Actually, I believe it was the last event I live-blogged, versus the live-Twittering approach I've adopted since for my conference reporting. Why has Twitter just sort of taken over?) And, with this year's advisory board including people like Esther Dyson (of PC Forum fame) and Chris Shipley (of DEMO fame), how could this not be another fantastic conference?
Last year's experience was so great in every way that I took to describing it as basically like a religious experience. I was in awe hobnobbing with so many luminaries and big thinkers. I also got to connect again with many of my friends from the early days of the Internet -- Doc Searls, Chris Locke, David Weinberger, Steve Larsen, and others. I love my (younger) friend Aaron Fulkerson's testimonial comment about Defrag 2007, used on the current web site: "The event had quite the attendee and speakers list. You couldn’t spit and not hit an industry notable." It was an amazing group -- all told, about 300. The collective intelligence in the room was unlike anything I've ever experienced, and the program, keynotes, and discussions -- both the panels and the informal variety -- were off-the-charts valuable and thought-provoking. There was just this energy level that I can't fully describe...that we were about to collectively imagine the future of the Internet, the social web, a whole new level of collaboration. You had to be there.
And you should be there this year! It's not too late, and I even have a juicy discount code posted in my sidebar to the right. [Shhh, don't tell anybody. I'm not sure I'm supposed to be offering that to all my blog readers -- but what the hell! Maybe Eric Norlin won't read this... :-) ] The best way to get the real skinny about what's in store this year is to check out the Defrag blog, which Eric writes so well. The man has a gift for storytelling. And, of course, check out the list of stellar speakers...and the great agenda. This conference is packed with aha moments and extreme takeaways.
What's also cool is that there are three speakers from my home state of Minnesota. Rich Hoeg of Honeywell, whom I met at our "Minnebar" BarCamp event this past spring, will be speaking about social search in the corporate environment, and Connie Bensen, a community strategist now working with Network Solutions, will be on a panel about "making the social web." And I'm especially looking forward to a panel on "Re-imagining the metaphors behind collaborative tools," which includes my friend Steve Kickert of Minnesota's own Riverock Technologies, who'll be talking about his very cool, just released from beta OnePlace™ online team collaboration and work management system. These guys are some amazing developers, and this thing rocks. (I know -- I use it!) You can catch some buzz about OnePlace™ just starting to appear here and here. [Full disclosure: I'm a consultant to Steve's company.]
Want to see who else you'll be able to hobnob with in this intimate setting? Check out this blog post that lists just some of the many companies attending. People, I'm tellin' ya, this is a heavy-duty crowd! Want to read a great rundown on what your two-day experience will be like at Defrag? Check out this blog post, which will give you "a sense of what you'll encounter" at this great conference.
I really hope you can make it to Defrag. See you in Denver!