Steve Larsen was the first guy to pay me to work on a conference. At the time, Steve was running marketing for Net Perceptions – and he signed me up (via Chris Locke) to work on personalization.com and their accompanying conferences. I came into that position incredibly green (really only on the strength of Locke saying – “hire eric”), and Steve was nice enough to pick up the role of mentor and teach me a bunch about tech marketing and conferences.
In the process of all of that, Steve and Chris introduced me to all of their friends — people like Esther Dyson, Ann Winblad, Martha Rogers, and countless others. And if you want to get a sense of just how deep Steve’s network of connections goes — go read his post about the meeting that took place in June of 1996 (afterwards dubbed, “Jerry’s Kids”).
Quoting a short bit from that:
The sessions begin the next day with a most welcome edge of childishness. There are scatterings of toys to play with, miniature slinkys, puzzles, silly putty. No agenda â€“we make up the rules.
Esther Dyson (small, and compact, often wearing several layers of clothing to keep warm, sheâ€™s open and welcoming though her intellect can intimidate and sheâ€™s probably more interested in ideas than in people), is there though itâ€™s clearly going to be a conference quite unlike her PC Forum events where she functions as the thought leader, taking her audience on wonderful trips through her own interests.
This conference is more Jerryâ€™s, and he chooses to give it back to the attendees â€” Don Norman, Doc Searls, Arthur Einstein, David Isenberg, Emily Davidow, Jack Henry, Malcom Casselle, Omar Wasow, Udi Shapiro, Yossi Vardi, Judi Clark, Howard Greenstein, Kyle Shannon, Eric Hughes and Nick Givotovsky, among others.
The conversations are incredible, and for the first time in my life I participate in a real dialogue with 50+ people.
Jerry leads the group in making a determination on what we want to talk about, where do we wish to focus our energy and then he moderates. Itâ€™s a wild group and while I first get the feeling that Jerryâ€™s task is somewhat akin to herding cats but after a time he appears more like Coach Pat Riley coaching the Los Angeles Lakers in their prime. Some people go off and prepare, then come back and present to the group, others present with little to no preparation.
So, why, you ask, am I bringing all of this up?
Well, the other day, Steve dropped me a note to tell me that Defrag looked “like something special” and he wanted to do anything he could to help (I accepted). That was nice. But even better was realizing that I have Jerry (see above) signed up to lead some open space stuff, Esther coming to lead us on a wild ride, and now Steve will be there……I wasn’t at the June ’96 meeting, but it almost seems like we’re “putting the band back together.”
Is it possible that the magic from that meeting carries over? There’s only one way to find out….and this week is actually your best way to find out. Use the code “Norlin12″ to receive $100 off of the early bird pricing — a *this week* only deal that expires on Friday, so don’t delay.
(sidenote: Steve is now CEO and co-founder of the code-search engine Krugle.)