One of my day jobs is as editor-in-chief of Conferenza Premium Reports, the leading newsletter covering technology’s top conferences. Last year we offered news and commentary on nearly 20 conferences for our paid subscribers. We recently announced our awards for 2003. They are:
• Conference of the Year: D, All Things Digital. The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher assembled a top flight roster of speakers, including Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Apple’s Steve Jobs, and attracted a luminary-studded audience, resulting in one of the year’s best networking venues.
• Host of the Year: Chris Shipley, host of IDG’s Demo and co-host of DemoMobile, for her thoughtful, credible style, the eloquence of her keynote addresses, and her ability to get the best from neophyte companies.
• Best Program Content: TED . In its first year under new producer Chris Anderson, TED continues to bring together the industry’s most eclectic mix of speakers, ranging from the microscopic examination of the human body to a macroscopic perspective on the universe.
• Speaker of the Year: Gilman C. Louie, CEO of In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture investment arm, for his personal, candid and passionate PC Forum keynote address, focusing on what government does to privacy and individual rights in the name of public security, relating the harshness of his own mother’s experiences during World War II in the name of security.
• Most Improved Player: Amy Francetic, co-host of DemoMobile. Now in her sophomore year, Francetic has developed the charm and wit required for a memorable dais presence.
• Surprise of 2003: D, All Things Digital, for getting it right the first time, a rare accomplishment.
• Disappointment of 2003: AlwaysOn. Serving as former Red Herring publisher Tony Perkins’ comeback conference, AlwaysOn had the potential, attendees, and speakers to be a winner. But some poor panel moderation and laborious presentations steadily diminished audience interest and size.
My partner, Gary A. Bolles and I believe that tech conferences are the best place to spot early trends and industry directions. Last year made both of us more bullish than we’ve been. We also think that the quality of top tier conferences remains consistent and high. While an occasional speaker may present poorly or a particular panel may get away with self-serving commercials, the experience of attending these events is well worth it if you have time and budget..”
For free Conferenza samples, or more information, you can email me , and specify which 2003 conference you’d like to read about. While individual subscriptions are usually $199 a year, you can get it for $99 for your first year by using this blogger link .