I was asked by someone (a corporate VC) for feedback on an event they are planning. I wrote an email back with my thoughts and immediately after finishing it, thought I should blog this. So, via the magic of cut & paste (the lazy man's greatest digital asset), here's what I wrote back.
Make sure that to truly make the event worthwhile, you keep it small. We ran an event for SAP Ventures (all kudos for the ideas go to my former partner, Jeff Nolan when it came to location and agenda) where we limited total attendance to 100 people including everyone from SAP as well as our customer guests. SAP paid for people’s hotel rooms to make sure everyone we wanted came (it was at the Bacara Resort). If you pay the hotel, anyone you invite will come unless they truly have a conflict. Make sure the agenda has tons of free time and do something fun....we did a sailing regatta with Team New Zealand which used to be sponsored by SAP. No one cares about sitting in presentations. They want to interact and network with one another in a comfortable, fun environment. Don’t invite people somewhere boring. Either do it in a cool destination or find an awesome hotel near you (everything obviously depends on your budget and SAP is probably a bad comparable). Sun and beach always attract the most people but skiing in the winter is also cool. Finally, don’t let your senior executives use it as a platform to advertise their interests. No one gives a shit. Allow them access to your network and vice-verse and do everything possible to facilitate this. Finally, make sure to invite me!
The part about inviting me was a bit individually beneficial! :-)