One of the most potent things that entrepreneurs, startup founders, and small business owners can do to grow their businesses is to learn from the experiences of others, both the successes and the failures, and to network with other like-minded people. And the best way to do that is to attend conferences and networking events, where entrepreneurs, journalists, VC firms, and industry insiders are all in one place, making it much easier to discuss partnerships, expansions, collaborations, media coverage, or funding.
But with over 3000 conferences being held each year, how can you find the best ones to attend, so you get the most bang for your buck?
One way is to start with a short list, such as these 20 tech conferences picked by Alon Alroy, co-founder of Bizzabo, a networking and mobile platform for event attendees and organizers.
Attending all of these might be too big of an undertaking, in terms of both time and money, but entrepreneurs, startup founders, and small business owners should be able to find at least a couple of these that will be a good fit for them.
- FutureStack: “We’re bringing developers, tinkerers, futurists and creatives together to hack, debate and build the software of tomorrow.”
- Launch Festival: “The best place to launch your startup, raise money and learn about starting a company.”
- GigaOM Structure: “Computing is everywhere and understanding how to architect data centers, networks and applications is the challenge before us. Join us as we tackle the big questions emerging in computing and IT.”
- Techweek: “Techweek brings together a mixture of entrepreneurs, visionaries, and thought leaders for a week long celebration of all things tech. Our approach is to bring together an entire tech community under a single 7-day BIG TENT and then shine a global SPOT LIGHT on this ecosystem.”
- DEMO: “DEMO conferences in the United States, China, Brazil, Russia and Vietnam focus on emerging technologies and new product innovations. The DEMO conferences have earned their reputation for consistently identifying tomorrow’s cutting-edge technologies.”
- Google I/O: “Be inspired by the tech world’s latest web, mobile and social breakthroughs to create simple, life-improving technologies and viable businesses among a rich and diverse community of cutting edge developers.”
- VentureBeat Mobile Summit: “This April 14-15, the mobile industry’s top 180 executives will meet and collectively debate how to accelerate adoption, engagement, and monetization via the six biggest growth opportunities in mobile today.”
- Social Media Marketing World: “Social Media Marketing World 2014 is the world’s largest social media marketing conference.”
- TechCrunch Disrupt NYC: “TechCrunch Disrupt is one of the most anticipated technology conferences of the year. On May 5-7, TechCrunch will be bringing Disrupt back to New York City to reveal an all new slate of outstanding startups, influential speakers, guests and more to the stage.”
- Craze Conference: “Whether you run or work for a small business, summer camp, an after-school program, ad agency or consulting firm, CRAZE Conference can help your business grow.”
- Velocity: “Velocity is much more than a conference; it’s become the essential training event and source of information for web professionals from companies of all sizes.”
- Innovation Uncensored NY: “Participants from various industries explore the next generation of innovative ideas transforming our world.”
- InfusionCon: “Experience three exciting days packed with big ideas, powerful strategies and actionable insights to grow your business.”
- SXSW™ Interactive: “An incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, the 2014 event features five days of compelling presentations and panels from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable lineup of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer.”
- Small Business Web Summit: “This is a private retreat for the partnership, integration, marketing, and executives of cloud companies selling to small businesses. We started and continue to run this event to let our members network, make deals, and learn from each other.”
- The DataDriven Business Conference: “The Data Driven Business conferences are designed to empower your business to strategise and optimise with data analytics.”
- Inside BitCoins NYC: “Join us in New York City as our industry experts, business visionaries, and virtual currency veterans converge to analyze the first digital, decentralized, peer-to-peer based global currency.”
- AppsWorld North America: “Apps World will be returning to North America in 2014 for two days of engagement and high level insight and discussion around one of the largest growing industries – mobile apps.”
- Social Media Strategies Summit: “Whether your organization is a start-up or a large enterprise, SMSS will provide you with relevant case study examples, interactive workshops and engaging sessions to boost your social media marketing efforts and reach your company’s business goals.”
- Venture Summit Silicon Valley: “This one-day exclusive event treats attendees to a high-level debate and discourse on top trends and opportunities in the booming digital media and entertainment and on-demand and cloud computing sectors.”