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  • Colleen Watson

My Conferences of 2023: Here Comes Denver Startup Week!

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Hello again!

It’s September! Can you believe it? I both can and can’t. Time has still not returned to normal, but for now, that’s fine because September means two things this year; my fun, relaxing, no work allowed trip to New Orleans next week and the all-work extravagant known as Denver Startup Week the week after, the first of my conferences of 2023. Since this is my professional place, the next few posts will center on it, my prep and what I learn. Now, it’s all about getting ready for the whirlwind to come.

Photo by Dani Hart on

The Pre-Conference Prep Plan

I’m, by nature, a planner. This is both a blessing (what I REALLY want to do get done) and a curse (I stay with things that sounded good on paper far longer than I should). Still, I cannot not try to get all my cute ducks in a row.

How will I get there?

Luckily, Denver is only a 30 to 60-minute drive for me (depending on traffic). Given that, lodging isn’t a concern, a major reason I can go. Unfortunately, unlike other conferences, this one is not centered in a single location. There are eight tracks and the workshops/keynotes/panels for each of them is in a different location. Still, from what I can tell, it’s all centered around the 16th Street Mall, in the heart of downtown My solution-public transportation in the form of the bus whose main terminal is also there.

Photo by Thomas Ward on

How will I keep my stomach from growling?

The location is home to many yummy eating establishments that run the range from fast food to snooty high-end restaurants. That variety means that your food budget can quickly spiral out of control. Also, because it’s so spread out, you’re often on the move, making junk the default choice. Not this year. Included in my daily bag will be healthy, easy to carry, energy maintaining snacks. Oh, and a water bottle, a very large one.

What kind of swag will I bring to the conference?

Anyone can do business cards, including me. BUT that won’t have them tip your card into the trash on the following Monday. And it really won’t get you stuck front of mind or have it remain in their possession six to twelve months later. Instead, I gave myself the challenge of creating something that will be difficult to impossible to toss, something that includes an evergreen way of getting in touch even if (probably more like when) my business changes. Pictures will follow!

How will I remember it all?

I have a laptop, one that I can use that’s not too bulky. But...I like paper. I like the tactical and the way you can doodle and connect strange things that buzz in your mind. I’m going to buy a fresh, empty 2023 DSW notebook. Doing this gives you a notebook, a strategy portfolio, and a historical document of this year’s collection of talks and panels attended. And when you want to remind yourself about a speaker or an idea, everything is all in one place.

How will I gear up a networking mindset?

Look, I get it. These large conferences can be overwhelming, but I’m determined to network not only wisely, but well. I’m focusing on really listening to and being in the moment with whoever I wind up speaking with. I’ll give the gift of attention and mean it. And I’ll do it every day I’m there. That means that those healthy snacks and a great night's sleep are top priorities for the whole thing because attention is demanding, and I need to take care of myself to make it work.

There you go, the prep for a great conference. All these things are deliberate, but I’m going to add one more thing: a spirit of adventure. I’m going to respect the schedule I’ve created, but I’m making a promise to not get chained to it. I want there to be room for surprises, for fun and for things that will make me smile a few months from now.

Now that you know the prep plan, I’ll let you know how it goes. Better yet how about following along on my daily video show, The Blooming Journal LIVE. All I ask for is 5 minutes. A quick 5 minute or so chat about marketing, writing and even some fun, going live five days a week at 9 AM mountain time on LinkedIn and YouTube. Subscribe to not miss a moment. As for the conference, that will include expanded coverage. I hope you enjoy the show.


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