Sunday, October 17, 2010

New York Bound for Smart Content Conference

I am co-hosting a conference Tuesday with my friend, Seth Grimes. I feel guilty about it on two levels.

First, leaving Peter with a broken dishwasher and four sulking kids and a messy house while I get to go hobnob with the digerati in the most exciting city in the world is totally unfair.

Let's be honest: a hotel with a bed all to myself is the real draw here. I have had kids in my bed more nights this month than not. I need to make TIME for myself? I can't even go to the bathroom with the door fully closed.

Second, while the planning and execution of this conference has been happening since July, the real value I am adding has only happened in the last week, so I don't feel at all like an equal partner. My colleague is an accomplished author and consultant. His 'star power' has been the real draw here, and he has attracted speakers from all over the world to talk about content analytics tools (semantic search, or how to find what you're looking for even if you don't explicitly ask for it.) I provided the marketing, signed two major sponsors and am setting up a matchmaking component which will be a catalyst for making deals happen.

The last conference I went to that Seth organized was amazing. The IQ of the attendees was in the stratosphere, and I know just about everyone in the room could have seriously creamed me on the SATs. I have always been drawn to brilliant and interesting people. I have to refrain from gushing. Sometimes I feel a little like the clueless media and politicians in "Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs" who just assume computers can do everything and initially have no idea how much work really goes into the programs and inventions. I know enough to be dangerous. Therefore, I gush. I personally cannot program my way out of a paper bag. But, boy can I market and sell that paper bag!

It takes all kinds, I guess, to pull off a conference like this. We have media companies, press, advertising and public relations firms, solutions providers, inventors, and academics. It's a good mix. Now I get to be the hostess, welcome the attendees in, take their coat, get them the proverbial drink and introduce them to someone fascinating. The coolest part about it is that the audience is as large a draw as the speakers.

Now as I speed off into the night to catch my redeye from Phoenix, I am trying not to think about my youngest daughter's tears and her begging me to be sick so I could stay home..."just this once?"

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