It’s been a week since I got back from An Event Apart Seattle 2010, and I’m still aglow about it.
I know it’s something a cliché for conference organizers to say “it was the best show we ever done did!” but damn. It really was. That’s down to the speakers, of course. We’ve done our best to find great speakers with interesting things to say, and I’d like to think we’ve done just that. This went to a new level, though.
You know how a band can have one of those nights where somehow, everything seems to go just right, where every jam riff builds on the others, where the music hits an indescribable groove, where the energy feeds on and multiplies itself until everyone in the place gets charged with it? That’s what happened in Seattle, building throughout the whole show. You could just feel it, buzzing in the room and through everyone there. Every time a speaker finished I’d say to myself, half in gratitude and half in awe, “That is the best talk I’ve ever seen that person give.”
That was only half the experience, of course. The other half was the audience itself, our amazing and wonderful attendees, who are as much colleagues as anything else. They’re whip-smart, professional, veteran members of the industry. That’s the demographic Jeffrey and I set out to address, and they’ve come to learn from and teach and challenge us to excel at every show. Several speakers, some of them long practiced at the art of public speaking, have told me that they get uniquely nervous before going onto the stage at An Event Apart. I absolutely agree. To return to the band metaphor, it’s like doing a show for your fellow musicians. While that’s comforting in a collegial way, it’s also nerve-wracking in a way other shows aren’t.
And the conversations! Over lunch, in the hall between talks, at the party, it was non-stop talk with smart, funny, insightful colleagues who know their stuff through and through and are as keen to learn more as they are to share what they know.
So I can’t thank our speakers and attendees enough. You are all incredible. It was an honor and a privilege just to be there in your combined presence.