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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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The Defrag Conference 2010 Is Almost Here

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The Defrag Conference is happening in Boulder on Wednesday November 17th and Thursday November 18th and is looking like it will be the best one yet.  If you haven’t yet registered, use the code “foundry2″ to take 15% off of your registration.

The confirmed Keynote Speakers include:

  • Alex Wright addressing the “deep history” of Oral Culture and Social Networks
  • Stowe Boyd speaking about “social cognition”
  • Esther Dyson on Exploration and innovation
  • Dion Hinchcliffe on the future of social analytics
  • Jeff Ma on Business Lessons from the Blackjack Table
  • David Weinberger on the Philosophy of Knowing
  • Paul Kedrosky talking about Monkeys, Typewriters and Data
  • Jeff Jonas on Organizations Getting Dumber, and IT’s to Blame
  • JP Rangaswami on Information as seen through the eyes of a Foodie

And that’s just some of the keynotes.  Toss in a bunch of networking, lots of stimulating discussion, and breakouts that cover everything from APIs to shifting to the Cloud to Social Media Analytics to the Social Customer and it’s shaping up to be dynamite.

If you’re from Colorado, I’d urge you not to miss this stage of deep thinkers from around the nation coming to our fair state.

If you’re from outside of Colorado, what could be better than a few days in a resort overlooking some of the nicest mountains you’ll ever see while thinking deep thoughts?

I hope to see you at Defrag.

Kauffman Foundation Provides 15 Scholarships to Defrag 2010

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The Kauffman Foundation just announced that they are providing 15 scholarships to Defrag. If you are an entrepreneur running a startup that is pre-Series A funding, you are eligible for a scholarship.  Kauffman will cover the full cost of the conference pass – all you have to do is get to the conference and find a place to sleep.

I’m hugely appreciative that Kauffman has stepped up to do this.  Conferences are not cheap and it’s a big expense for a company that has no funding.  On the other hand, it’s an incredible networking and learning opportunity for a startup that’s addressing issues in the ecosystem that Defrag covers.  Paul Kedrosky had a big hand in this and has been super helpful to Eric Norlin at Defrag from the beginning – thanks Paul – you are a star.

If you are interested in applying for one of these scholarships, just email Eric Norlin (enorlin AT mac.com) with your name, company website, and a 100 word (no more) explanation of why you should be at Defrag.

Jeff Ma Is Keynoting Defrag 2010

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One of my favorite conferences, Defrag, is really heating up.  As always, Eric Norlin is doing a magnificent job of curating the agenda and already has some great headliners such as Esther Dyson, Paul Kedrosky, Vinnie Mirchandani, David Weinberger, Stowe Boyd, and Vivek Wadhwa.

Today, Jeff Ma agreed to keynote Defrag.  From Eric’s blog post:

Jeff Ma, who was the inspiration for the movie “21″ and the book “Bringing Down the House,” and is the author of the *awesome* new book, “The House Advantage” is coming to keynote Defrag. Besides being a world-famous card counter in the game of blackjack (which he, literally, can no longer play in casinos), Jeff has started several businesses (PROTRADE and Citizen Sports – which sold to Yahoo! in May of this year).  Jeff’s current focus is on applying the laws of statistics to business in order to give managers, entrepreneurs and leaders an edge (hence, “The House Advantage”).”

I was re-introduced to Jeff recently through our mutual friend Niel Robertson, the CEO of Trada.   I wrote about this, and Jeff’s great book, in my post The House Advantage.  We’e talked about getting together – it might be that the first time our paths cross physically will be at Defrag on November 17th and 18th in Boulder.

Come join us – register now for the Early Bird Price which is good through September 30th.

Blur is Coming

Comments (12)

I’ve been hinting about a new conference that we’ve been working on with Eric Norlin that complements Defrag and Glue.  Eric is about to launch it and the splash page for the Blur Conference is up.

If you are familiar with Defrag and Glue, you know they are built around two of Foundry Group’s themes (Protocol and Glue respectively).  Blur is being built around our Human Computer Interaction theme, but with a twist.  Instead of simply being able to “see cool stuff up close”, our goal with Blur will be to create an environment where you can actually use and work with this stuff.  We’ll have user-oriented demos, hackathons, and tons of crazy shit no one has ever seen before.

Plus, we’ll give away a lot of cool toys, have a ton of smart people who are working on the next generation of HCI in one place, and have some fun surprises.  And we are doing it in an environment that is especially tuned for a conference like Blur.

I’m incredibly excited about what Eric has put together for this year’s Glue Conference (as I wrote about the other day).  He’s setting a high bar for Blur, where the goal will now be to have a few brains explode!  Get ready – it’s never dull around here.

The Glue Agenda Is Getting Awesome

Comments (5)

I love the conferences we help sponsor (Glue and Defrag).  Eric Norlin is a genius at putting together a specialty technology conference.  He gets amazing people to attend, curates the content meticulously, isn’t afraid to try new things every year (and have some not work), and just keeps at it with single minded commitment.  He also totally gets why to do these things outside of the bay area – there’s a completely different tempo (and magic can happen) when people really commit two days of their life to a conference.

The 2010 Glue Conference is a few months away (5/26/10 and 5/27/10).  Instead of happening in Denver, Eric is doing Glue at the Omni Interlocken Resort on the outskirts of Boulder.  For a taste, here are some of the speakers:

  • Michael Barrett, CISO, PayPal
  • Professor Eric Brewer, creator of the CAP Theorem
  • Chris Hoff, Dir. of Cloud Solutions, Cisco
  • Ryan Sarver, Dir. of Platform, Twitter
  • Jonathan Ellis, Lead on the Cassandra project

Some of the sessions that are finalized include:

  • The Cassandra Database: Inside Twitter’s Choice
  • What’s up with OAuth/WRAP?
  • 5 Things I Hate about your API Terms of Service
  • The Apache Cloud Stack (Hadoop, HBase, Zookeeper, etc)
  • App PaaS vs. Enhanced Cloud System Infrastructure
  • Inside MongoDB: the internals of a NoSQL database
  • Understanding User-managed Access

Take a look at the fuller speaker list and agenda if you want, but beware that it moves around a lot.  If you register for Glue now you can get an additional 10% off the early bird price of $525 if you register by 4/2/10 and use the discount code “twit1” (full price at the door is $695).  As a special bonus, CloudCamp at Denver is happening the day before Glue (5/25/10).  CloudCamp is free, but only 98 tickets are left. 

Sign up for both of them now.  I’ll be there for the whole shebang, along with my partners at Foundry Group.  Plus, May in Boulder is just awesome.  And be on the lookout for an announcement soon about a third conference that you’ll have to really focus on (yeah – inside joke – but you’ll appreciate it.)

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