Reflections On NamesCon

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Last week I attended the inaugural year for an event I think we’ll be seeing for a long time to come – NamesCon. Normally I put together a big summary of the event complete with talk summaries and analysis, however, while there were without a doubt some amazing talks, I spent most of my time in meetings. Before I go any further I want to make sure this doesn’t come off the wrong way.

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Everyone gets something different from a conference. Back in 2010 when I attended my first domain show I was dedicated to going to every single talk. I loved it and learned a lot, I think people should go to talks, heck I spoke at NamesCon so of course wanted people at my talk! At the same time, as life and business changes, so do your priorities and for me now when I’m at a domain show I am focused on doing deals that will grow our business. That being said, I did go to some great talks, my favorite being the surprise morning sessions where Braden Pollock interviewed Matt Mullenweg the founder of WordPress – how awesome is that!

This year our new VP, Matt joined me for his very first domain conference. A conference is a great place to onboard new team members since you can meet with more people than you ever could if you just visited one or two cities. We had some great meetings and are looking forward to some exciting new partnerships and deals to come over the course of the year as a result. This brings me to my first reflection about NamesCon.

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At the end of the day, a conference is about the people.

First and foremost, the people behind the show, Richard, Jodi and Jothan are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Here’s the thing though, nice doesn’t make a great show. They also just so happen to be three of the smartest and most hard working people on the planet, couple that with nice, now you have a winning recipe.

Attendees saw this winning recipe in action and if you thought everything looking like it was running smoothly, it actually was. Of course you can plan a great show, but you also need great attendees and amazing speakers that those attendees want to hear.

To the tune of close to 600 people NamesCon literally took-over the Tropicana which meant if there was anyone you ever wanted to meet with, this was your chance to do it in-person. I started the trip with about 12 meetings on the schedule and ended-up having over 20. Everything was close which made it easy to hop from meeting, to meeting, back to the room, and back.

By keeping the evening events in the hotel everyone stayed together every night which made it easy to catch-up with everyone. Which leads to my second reflection.

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There is a great energy in the domain space right now

There is a lot of excitement in the domain space, and I’m not talking about new gTLDs specifically, I just mean there is an electricity that you can feel. I think this has a lot to do with how the industry as a whole has changed and caused many Domainers to expand their business and the ways in which they make money.

People aren’t doing the same things they’ve been doing for years, there is a clear spark and desire to do things differently. Without a doubt there were people talking about new gTLDs but I can tell you in all of my meetings this occupied very little of the conversation. Which leads me to my third reflection.

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Sorry but if you didn’t go to the show, you really can’t criticize the show

I don’t mean to be harsh here but whatever, I’ll be harsh. I saw someone commenting on another domain blog about how they were glad they didn’t go to the show because it was totally focused on new gTLDs.

I can tell you that I had meetings from morning until night Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and no, we really didn’t talk new gTLDs. Yes, if you wanted to go to a talk about new gTLDs you could but this was far from the focus in the conversations I had with people. I know some people who were curious and attended talks about new gTLDs and I also know plenty of people who didn’t attend a single one, which leads me to my last reflection.

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You define your experience at a conference

No conference has a set schedule that you have to follow, that’s the great thing about a conference, you can define your own experience. Want to attend tons of talks, take notes, and come home more inspired than ever? Do it, I did that for years and loved every minute of it. Want to meet with people that would normally involve flying all over the US and the world to see in-person? Make it happen.

My point is that a good conference has something for everyone. NamesCon had an incredible speaker line-up, amazing attendees from all over the world, and lots of great ways to network. It was a huge success and whether you wanted to just talk about premium .COMs, learn about new gTLDs, or hone your development strategies, there really was something for everyone.

I can tell you that I will be attending NamesCon next year, the year after that, oh and the year after that, and so on. Richard, Jodi, and Jothan did an exceptional job of not just bringing Domainers together, but bringing people from all different industries together to talk domains. I loved the approach, loved how organized it was, and as usual had an absolute blast seeing people I only get to see a few times a year.

The domain industry really is like one big happy family and I can tell you, the family’s taking a yearly trip to NamesCon! As always I’d love to hear from you, feel free to share your comments or ask any questions you might have. Comment and let your voice be heard!

Photo Credit: aturkus via Compfight cc

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • max January 25, 2014, 2:44 am

    wish i were there. sounds like a great show and just hoped that you guys would do such show in every continent so it’d be easy to all to join!

    Reply
  • Andrew Brier January 25, 2014, 9:07 am

    This was my first domain conference and after NamesCon Im sure it won’t be my last. My experience was entirely of the ‘taking lots of notes, attending as many talks as possible to come home super inspired’ variety with a tonne of networking thrown in and many many interesting people to converse with. The timing was also spot-on, at the beginning of the year and just before the start of the big roll-out of the new gTLDs.

    My thanks and congratulations to all who helped to organise it, Richard, Jodi and Jothan in particular. See you at the next one!

    Reply

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