By Elaine J. Hom
This year, SMB Nation's fall event will take place September 30 to October 2 at the Rio Conference Center in Las Vegas. Now in its ninth year, the event has grown as a neutral third party convention of SMB resellers in the channel. Each year, SMB Nation provides training for its attendees, with a heavy focus on technology rather than sales. Harry Brelsford, chairman of SMB Nation, estimates that only a third of the conference content is based on sales and business growth.
"But two-thirds of our content is technical," says Brelsford, "and that makes us distinctive in the conferencing market. We've stayed true to our roots."
So what can attendees expect from the ninth year of the event?
"We don't want the same old," says Brelsford. "We don't want people to say been there, done that, and we've gone out of our way to find new speakers." One speaker that Brelsford is particularly excited about is Rand Morimoto, author and IT security expert, who will be speaking about SMB security.
Brelsford ensures that the content provided at the event is the content the attendees want, rather than content that the company thinks the attendees need to know. In the months prior to the event, he carries out surveys to see what people want to learn about. Interestingly, this year, a majority of the attendees signified that they want to learn about traditional on-premises IT, rather than the hot button topic of the cloud, which has saturated most industry events in recent memory.
"SMB channel partners are less than excited about [learning about] the cloud," says Brelsford. "It was a wakeup call for us." Attendees can expect to see in-depth content on traditional IT services.
For Brelsford, there's one priority for his attendees. He wants to make sure they can walk away from the conference and have learned something valuable.
"Because we've retained our 'geek' technical focus," he says, "we want them to have something actionable that they can do on Monday morning when they get back to work." He wants attendees to understand that "when you get back to work Monday morning, you're going to have at least one thing you can do better technically."
Get more information on SMB Nation Fall 2011 in Vegas.