I spent the day yesterday at the Vertical Leap conference. Vertical Leap brought together a bunch of interesting people in and around the vertical search space and was chaired by two friends of mine, Jeff Clavier and Dave McClure. There was a huge amount of energy in the room and it was packed. It was the first conference I can recall in which entrepreneurs were asking questions for the sole purpose of publicly touting their new companies in hopes of attracting venture money. And there were certainly enough VCs in the room to oblige. It was a bit like chumming the waters to attract the sharks (not that I'm comparing my VC brethren -- or myself for that matter -- to sharks).
At a recent partners meeting, I pointed out that I would not be in the office the following Monday because I was speaking at a conference. In response, one of my partners said, "I wonder what the world record is for most conferences attended in a year?" I may be wrong but I think he was being sarcastic. That said, I'm gunning for the record. Not because I want to be listed between the guy with the longest fingernails and the guy who can put the most cigarettes in his mouth (although that would be exciting), but rather because I have some of my best conversations at conferences and end up getting to know really interesting people. In fact, I first got to know both Jeff and Dave (who ran the Vertical Leap conference) well through the conference circuit. Jeff had me speak at a conference he organized back in 2003 before he left the world of venture capital to advise early stage technology companies. And Dave and I have often exchanged thoughts about the Web 2.0 world at Auren Hoffman's Silicon Forum.
The truth is, I am a big fan of spending time at conferences. I may not break any records (it will be near impossible to beat Marc Canter), but I will continue to spend a bunch of time getting to know interesting people and learning new stuff. To give you a sense of it, here are the events I attended over the last month: