A weird thing happened on the way to Defrag this year: we announced we were capping attendance at 300 (to make sure the quality of intimate conversation is maintained), and a bunch of people who have never come before registered. A bit odd, right?
And then this morning it hit me: there’s a whole group of people who haven’t ever been to a Defrag and have no idea what to expect — not from a content standpoint, but from a “logistics” standpoint. So, in good ole-fashioned, bullet-form — here we go:
1. API Hackday: If you’re into hacking APIs (or learning about them), get your butt registered (it’s free) for the hack day on the 8th. It’s actually at the Bing offices – which are *near* the hotel where Defrag is located.
2. Pre-conference Dinners: there will be 5 pre-conference dinners – with each dinner limited to 25 people. These are sponsored dinners (ie, free) for attendees – and they revolve around a topic.
About one week before the show, as an attendee, you’ll receive an email from me telling you what the 5 topics are.
At that point, treat it like tickets to a Justin Bieber concert — ie, it’s first come, first served, so you’d better hurry. Once you’re signed up, you’ll find that these dinners are one of the highlights of the conference.
3. You’ll arrive at registration on morning 1 to find my amazing wife Kim, and our all-volunteer staff (ok, they get paid in beer and white russians) working away. Say “hi” — NOTHING at Defrag would happen without Kim working her magic.
4. Power-strips: Yep, we got ‘em. Grab a seat in the keynote room and what’ll ya find? — power strips. Because we understand.
5. Blazing fast Wifi: Have you ever been to a tech conference with crappy wifi? You should expect the opposite at Defrag.
I’ve been working on tech conferences for over 10 years, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned how to do, it’s hire the right guys to give us great wifi.
6. Dress code: I’ll be in jeans and flip-flops (I don’t wear shoes.) and a collared shirt. And I’ll probably be one of the most dressed up people there. Seriously, be comfortable. Defrag’s about conversation, not sports coats.
7. The people: You won’t have any trouble starting conversations because — you already did that last night over drinks at the dinners, right? Settle in, continue the threads, dig deeper, explore new ideas.
8. The Environment: What you won’t find at Defrag are “drive-by attendees” — you know the type, run in, do my keynote, and *zip*, back to the office; or, pop by for a few hours because the office is right down the street. Nope. Defrag is nestled against the foothills of the rockies. Nooks and crannies provide plenty of spaces for conversations, thinking, reading or writing. And the community that is Defrag will be hanging out at Defrag.
9. The evening reception and post-evening reception: The evening reception is an open bar. And after the evening reception, you’ll find a large number of attendees moving into the hotel bar, while others organize into dinner parties for nearby restaurants. Either way, make sure not to “enjoy” yourself too much, you’re at altitude and hydration is key. Day 2 awaits…
10. By the end of it all, you’ll have a bag full of goodies you didn’t expect (we set a minimum value for everything in schwag bag and NO PAPER), maybe a prize or two (yea, we’re giving away cool things), a ton of new friends/business contacts, and a firm decision that there’s no way you’re missing Defrag next year.