You should have been in Savannah. Scott Cook, founder of Intuit, was there, talking about innovation and customer service on the main stage. Carl Schramm, head of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, was there, too, and Bill Clinton, and Bernie Marcus of Home Depot, and the courageous Richard Zuschlag of Acadian Ambulance Services, and Ping Fu, our 2005 Entrepreneur of the Year.

When the main stage was empty, we broke into smaller working groups, at which the smart and savvy discussed, among other things, sales commissions, marketing and advertising, intellectual property, hiring and employee retention, and time management. Attendees spent a wonderful night in Savannah's historic district, where the city rolled out the red carpet (gospel music, historic homes, southern cooking), and then another one at the convention center, for a black-tie dinner and awards ceremony. And so it went, the 24th annual celebration of entrepreneurism known as the Inc. 500 Conference. Hundreds of Inc. 500 stars were there, as were hundreds of other business owners drawn by the opportunity to be with their own kind in a friendly town, talking about things that matter. It was a fabulous conference, and if you think I'm being hyperbolic, check out some of the speeches at and look at the faces in the photos above right (taken by our own Travis Ruse), and then ask yourself: Why wasn't I there?

Next year, okay?

Jane Berentson