I've been to several of O'Reilly's Tools of Change (TOC) conferences before but this is my first experience as one of the conference chairs. Now that I've had a first-hand view in preparing for next week's TOC NY 2012 I can tell you that Kat Meyer and the rest of this team are nothing short of amazing. As we put the final touches on pre-conference prep I wanted to point out a few of the reasons why I believe next week's event will be the most inspiring, unique and memorable TOC ever:
Executive Roundtable -- We've partnered with Publishers Weekly to host an executive roundtable on Monday, 2/13. It's separate from TOC itself and is a by-invitation-only gathering of approximately 100 industry CxO's and other influential leaders. We've received more requests than we can accomodate for this initial roundtable but we're planning for this to become a quarterly event. If you're interested in receiving an invitation to future executive roundtables email me with your name, title and company so I can add you to our list.
Top Secret Announcements -- One of the perks of being a conference chair is that you get the inside scoop on announcements some of the speakers are planning to make at TOC. I'd like to share each of them with you now but I'm sure Kat would ban me from the conference. You'll just have to wait till next week to learn the details. If you won't be there, be sure to tune into our Twitter hastag (#toccon) to keep up with all the news.
Digital Petting Zoo -- Don't you love that name?! Kudos to Kat for coming up with the idea and the name, btw. Where else can you go to test drive almost 40 tablets and dedicated ereaders? Nowhere. We've spent a great deal of time and effort gathering a wonderful assortment of devices for all attendees to tinker with, so if you've wanted to take a closer look at the ereading hardware landscape be sure to swing by the petting zoo on Wednesday. It's not just hardware on display either, btw. We've got a few content providers spending the day there to showcase the latest in content development and presentation.
Attendee Diversity -- We always encourage attendees to connect with one another and that's one of the key reasons for the Attendee Directory. If you're registered for the show be sure to get the most out of that directory. And as you look through it, I'll bet you'll discover the same thing I did: We have an incredible array of players from all areas of the content industry. Attending TOC means you have the opportunity to meet and mix with folks from every sector of publishing as well as other media industries. It's sort of like Woodstock's "three days of fun in the mud", but without all the mud.
Startup Showcase -- Back by popular demand, this was one of the most popular aspects of TOC 2011. This year we once again received way too many outstanding startup submissions. It was extremely difficult narrowing down the field but we came up with a list of 11 finalists that I think you'll be impressed with.
Change/Forward/Fast -- In case you missed it, "change/forward/fast" is the theme of TOC 2012. The message it conveys is that our industry is moving forward at an incredible pace and, in order to keep up, you better be experimenting with new forms of content development, delivery and pricing. That's the heart of TOC 2012 and our goal is to provide a platform for those who are leading change and provide an opportunity for the entire community to learn more about what's working and what's not.
Have you signed up to attend TOC NY next week? We're running ahead of last year's attendance levels but we've still got a few slots left. Don't wait till the last minute though. Sign up now and reserve your spot at what undoubtedly will be an outstanding experience!