A new year provides 365 days of new opportunities to become the people we want to be and achieve the success we want to experience. I made a focused effort in 2017 to attend more conferences, and I'm so glad I did. Opportunity and serendipity arise when you say yes to things and invest time into meeting people and building relationships.
If you're like me, you're already looking at the conference schedule for 2018. There are tons of conferences and it's challenging to sift through all of them. To help make this easier for you, I updated my list of top conferences to further isolate the better events of the year.
To make this list, I have either attended the conference personally or the conference is repeatedly mentioned among my network as a "can't miss" event. I know that there are many options, and they can be expensive, yet a conference can be the shift that helps you take your life or your business to the next level in 2018.
When: April 30th to May 3rd
Where: New Orleans, LA
Collision is has become the most talked about conference in my tech and entrepreneurship circles. It attracts a global audience and the speakers are the best you'll find at any conference. Also, the audience is high-end - attracting CEOs, founders and influencers from a variety of industries. Collision's content is the most cutting-edge, refreshing and thought-provoking of any conference I attended in 2017. Collision also does a premier job of organizing and providing ample networking opportunities and parties.
2. Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum
When: To be announced
Where: To be announced (Usually in Palm Springs, CA)
If you're lucky enough to receive an invitation, you'll be able to attend this gathering of the most prestigious and cutting-edge leaders, entrepreneurs and visionaries. This is one of those conferences where the attendees are as successful as the speakers - and everyone is there to network and build strong relationships. A few of my connections have said this is their favorite conference of the year.
3. Web Summit
When: November 5th to 8th
Where: Lisbon, Portugal
Web Summit is one of the top two or three most talked about conferences of the year. That's likely because of the 60,000+ attendees, the future-forward conversations with the world's brightest and most influential leaders and a community of attendees that want to be there and want to change the world. Past speakers have included Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, Reed Hastings and more. My favorite thing about Web Summit is their dedication to networking. It's perhaps the best networking in the world.
4. INC. 5000
When: October 17th to 19th
Where: San Antonio, TX
Based on the INC 5000 list of the fastest growing companies, the INC 5000 conference is a great conference for people looking to hear from inspirational speakers and to network with entrepreneurs who are creating the next wave of great startups and companies.
5. Startup Grind
When: February 12th to 14th
Where: Redwood City, CA (Silicon Valley)
I've gone to this conference three times now and it's one of my favorites. The speakers are top notch and they have small break-out sessions that allow for a more intimate and interactive experience. Derek Andersen, and his team, do an excellent job creating an atmosphere of networking and collaboration - which is what a great conference is all about. I have met solid people at Startup Grind and will be there again this year.
When: May 14th - 16th
Where: New York, NY
No list of top conferences would be complete without an event about Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin. Consensus conference is now on its fifth year and will bring top entrepreneurs, leaders and influencers under one roof to discuss the future of what has become the most exciting topic in finance and tech: blockchain.
7. TechCrunch Disrupt
When: New York - May 15th to 17th; San Francisco - September 5th to 7th
Where: New York City, NY - San Francisco, CA
TechCrunch Disrupt has built a reputation as the place to be for the cutting edge in the world of tech startups. The famous Startup Battlefield pitch competition highlights a conference that provides ample opportunity for great networking. You'll also hear from the entrepreneurs and leaders at the forefront of innovation. There is one event in New York City and another in San Francisco.
8. South by Southwest (SXSW)
When: March 9th to 18th
Where: Austin, Texas
While the private parties have made it more of a scene each year, SXSW is still a premier conference to be among the best and brightest in the tech industry. The speaker lineup is always the most eclectic in the industry thanks to SXSW's efforts to include humanity and the arts with tech and business topics. There are countless opportunities to meet interesting and influential entrepreneurs and leaders.
9. Traffic & Conversion Summit
When: Feb 26th to 28th
Where: San Diego, CA
This is a top online marketing conference for entrepreneurs and leaders looking to increase revenues online. What makes this conference so special is their dedication to providing attendees with actionable information and real value. This approach differentiates Traffic & Conversion Summit from other top international conferences and niche marketing conferences. If you attend this conference, you will leave with something that can quickly impact your business.
10. The Human Gathering
When: April 5th to 7th
Where: Los Angeles, CA
This is not your typical conference. The Human Gathering gathers a community of impressive and accomplished individuals, yet that community is strongly grounded in empowerment. The Human Gathering also attracts tops speakers to an intimate setting, which creates a unique experience. Speakers this year include Rainn Wilson, billionaire Todd Wagner, Kara Goldin and more. All applicants are vetted, which makes this conference more curated than most.
It's ok if you can't make it to all of these events. Research each one and find out which event matches up with your goals and interests. (Note: Events without a link do not have a public website for the 2018 event at the time of press. Search for the event or follow them on Twitter for the latest info.)