The Only Conference You Should go to in 2009

We all want (need) to learn more. About anything – especially why people buy, how brands influence them and – most importantly – how we can help our clients in the upcoming year.

But how do we have any time to learn extra? We spend all of it shipping ads, meeting delivery dates, pleading with creatives to make the logo bigger, sending clients status reports, booking meetings and managing our bosses. We don’t have time to read about what’s going on out there, who is doing what, what the latest creative is or the hottest social network. It’s too busy. We already have enough to think about.

What’s the most common way people think they can learn more? Go to a conference. Listen to some speakers and report back to the agency what happened.

The problem with conferences? They’re frigging expensive. And they are a tough sell. Specifically if you’ve only been in the industry for a few years. Management doesn’t want you taking time away from clients, they don’t want to allocate budget against travel, delegate fee’s, food, etc when you could be working. If you’re lucky, you might find one in your city and be able to go but travel somewhere? Out of the question.

So what’s the one thing you can do in 2009 to learn, get excited and transform your year?

Tell your agency to buy an associate membership to the 2009 TED conference (Feb 3-7). New this year, TED is opening up their conference to the world via a video cast. You can attend the conference in one of your own conference rooms with up to 10 other people from your agency. See the top speakers, understand what’s new in the world and get inspired for the new year.

After the conference is over, TED will send you the box DVD set of every speech, their favorite books and CD’s of the year and all information on future conferences.

How much will this cost you? $995.

This year, I’m doing it. For the last three years, I can’t count the number of TED talks that have inspired me. Made me think about how things are changing or what I could be doing more of.

Don’t go to AdTech. Don’t go to some random “Social Networking” conference. Stay at your own agency and inspire people around you with a week of talks about the world. I know, I know it’s not advertising specific. But it’s life-specific and if you want to succeed in anything, it’s well worth your time.

UPDATE: TED just released the 2009 speaker line-up. Some highlights? Well Bill Gates and Seth Godin will be presenting on the first day…among many others. Check them all out here.

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