I don’t particularly like large conferences, and I’ve made no secret of it… yet here I find myself discussing yet another one: TiEcon 2009, starting in these very minutes in Santa Clara, CA. One of the differentiators TiEcon has is just how affordable it is: it’s rare to find a two–day conference so action packed in the $300 range. The 3000+ attendees are mostly entrepreneurs who came to network with each other or the many VC firms present. Here’s a pretty good indicator if a conference is just a passive show or a lively one with truly interested participants: do they come on a weekend? TiEcon always spans over a Friday-Saturday, and I remember seeing pretty active crowds on the Saturday sessions – certainly a mark of enthusiasm.
This year’s conference revolves around five focus segments: Consumer Web, Internet Infrastructure, Software, Cleantech and Wireless. The Agenda includes keynotes, panel discussions, a Business Bootcamp, and PowerConnect, five parallel networking luncheons of 100 persons each. Despite the extra $100 charge, most of these sessions have sold out in advance.
This year’s theme is The Bold Entreprenur, referring to what it takes to be an entrepreneur in the current economic climate (morsel from the opening keynote: 6 of the DOW 30 companies were started during recessions). Every year revolves around a particular theme, and for me 2007 was particularly memorable, with “The New Face of Entrepreneurship”. To drive that message home, the opening keynote introduced e Anshul Samar, a 13-year old CEO. And no, it was not a stage setup, I’ve just checked, Elementeo is still in business…
But back to this year’s TiEcon: a new program this year is the TiE50: after reviewing 1,200 nominations, and receiving over 50,000 votes the top 10 in each of the 5 segments were awarded at a VIP reception yesterday. Here’s a list of the winners, I’m only listing the Software category: Aster Data Systems, Imperva, Jobvite, Kazeon, Mimosa Systems, Mint, Serus, Xobni, Xprotean, Zoho. Congratulations to all winners!
To wrap this up – if you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area, why not drop by – 1-day walk-in tickets are available for tomorrow’s sessions. And if you are not here, you can follow the live stream here. (As a side-note, I am not too happy with the selection of Dynno as broadcast partner: while the video quality is good, it requires a small download and restarting your browser, and the video is not embeddable – otherwise I would have served it up here).