Brad Feld

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Don’t Confuse a Conference and a Trade Show

Apr 28, 2009
Category Education

Eric Norlin has a great post up this morning titled A conference is about communityIn it, he describes clearly the difference between a conference and a trade show, what makes a great conference, and what you’ll get at a great conference.

Having been involved in Defrag since it was a germ of an idea and now watching Eric put together the first Glue Conference, he knows of what he speaks.  I won’t try to summarize – go read the post (it’ll take you two minutes.) 

If I’ve learned two things from Eric (and I’ve actually learned a lot more), the key to a great conference is (a) a superb list of presenters and (b) plenty of whitespace around them for everyone to talk.  You can see this in the Glue agenda which is pretty much locked down at this point. 

The presenters include Josh Ellman (Facebook), Aaron Fulkerson (Mindtouch), Andre Durand (Ping), Eric Marcoullier (Gnip), Peter Coffee (, Tim Young (Socialcast), Mitch Kapor, Phil Wainewright, Kevin Matheny (Best Buy), Oren Michels (Mashery), Lew Moorman (Rackspace), Drummon Reed (InfoCard), and Bob Frankston.

Oh – and then there are all the folks on the panels: Steven Greenberg, Ben Metcalfe, Chris Saad, Stewart Alsop, Danny Kolke, Andrew Nash, Naveen Agarwal, Chris Shipley, Rick Nucci, Pam Dingle, George Reese, Jackson Miller, Sam Charrington, Jeff Fedor, Jeff Collins, Zoli Erdos, Peter Saint-Andre, Jack Moffitt, Seth Fitzsimmons, Jeff Nolan, Jud Valeski, Shane Pearson, Alex Iskold, Stu Charleton, Albert Wenger, T.A. McCann, Jeff Lawson, David Weekly, 
Jason Milgram, John Minnihan, Jim Reavis, Jeff Lindsay, Kevin Mullins, Kevin Marks, Mike Clymer, Randy Bias, Patrick Harding, Kyle Roche, Phil Windley, Todd Clayton, Angus Logan, Dave McClure, Andy Morgan, Jake Sorofman, and Celeste Merryman.

I hate trade shows.  But I love conferences.  When Eric and I first started talking about Defrag several years ago, I told him I wanted to get a bunch of super smart people together to talk about the Implicit Web, which was a theme we were starting to invest in.  Last year, my partner Seth Levine and Eric had a similar conversation around our Glue theme and Gluecon was the result.  I can’t wait to go hang out with the awesome people above and immerse myself in Glue for a few days.  Come join us.