Big Omaha Conference Recap: Applying Some Theory

The Big Omaha conference on May 7th and 8th in Nebraska was a great 2 day collection of events and speakers in web, business and creative.  While many conferences in the web design world deal with “how-to” and strategy, I found Big Omaha to push theories and lines of thinking.




The line-up of speakers featured some great Internet minds.  Kicking off Friday morning was Jason Fried of 37signals.

Jason stressed getting away from failure (it’s not cool), the value in eliminating interruption, focusing on the  day at hand and not a 2 year or 5 year plan, putting the most effort into the things that don’t change in your business (service, process), and the value of your by-product.  I had a ton of interest in finding the by-product of your business, not just the specific service you offer, but the knowledge in the process of it.  This can translate into books, speaking events and more.

Another speaker I really enjoyed was Jeffrey Kalmikoff of Threadless Tees.  His time on stage focuses on transparency and accessibility.  He outlined how these things contribute to success of his company.  Jeffrey hit upon the message of spending time with your community of customers/users and listening to them, reacting to them and acting on the right moves.

Gary Vaynerchuk closed out the presentations with his “loud” presentation (loud in a good way).  His passion for getting people to hustle, work hard, build a brand and deliver your expertise in any way possible is a great message.  Gary definitely let his feelings be known on how the Internet will squash everything … newspapers, TV and possibly high education. Gary also did some great Q & A with the crowd as well.

Other attendees recapped the conference as well, so check out Shane Adam’s blog, Read Write Web and Silicon Florist.  Check out Managing The Edge, it has a decent video segment of interviews from the conference as well.

It was a well put together conference, crazy successful for a first time conference.  I was encouraged by the fact I hold some of the same value in transparency and making things happen.  I also picked up some great ideas on other theories and ideas to strengthen the Five brand and business of web design.

In such an evolving industry it’s great to listen to great Internet minds and also interact with others fighting the good fight daily.  Overall, I give Big Omaha an A- and look forward to next year.

6 thoughts on “Big Omaha Conference Recap: Applying Some Theory”

  1. I was thoroughly impressed by how smoothly everything went at Big Omaha. Being from Sioux Falls, SD, there aren’t a ton of conferences in this general vicinity I’m able to attend. Needless to say, I thought this one did a great job of accomplishing the organizers’ goal of showing the passion and excitement of the creative community in Omaha while doing a great job of keeping people engaged and excited for the every element of the event, from the pre-parties all the way through to the end.

    I was also a fan of how real (most of) the speakers were. For not being well-known names outside of the tech and online community, I thought many of them were engaging and genuine, which was probably what most of the people there were looking for.

    Way to bust Gary’s chops on not reading books even though he has a 7-figure, 10-book deal. It was interesting to see how opposed many of the speakers were to set-in-stone (traditional) structure and methodology. Makes me wonder how much of that goes on behind the scenes for them or if things like 5-year-plans are things they (Jason, Gary, etc.) truly avoid at all costs.

    Good thoughts, Aaron.

  2. Hi Mike- Too bad we didn’t connect at the conference. Great feedback and I agree it was very well organized and I have been to more than a few of these. Hats off to Jeff and Dusty.

    “Real” is definitely the place to be and represent these days online. I hope that trend continues, I preach it heavily to our customers to be real in their content, their process and approach. It pays real dividends, right?

    Thanks again for weighing in Mike. Are you organizing the Super Sioux Falls Conference now after being inspired? 🙂

  3. Yes it was definitely a well put together conference – one of the best I’ve been to in awhile (including SXSW).

    Thanks for pointing to our coverage. Over the week we’ll cut up some footage for each interviewee!

  4. Thanks Andy, I liked the impromptu nature of your interviews … just creating on the fly and rolling with it. I’d like to connect with you the next time I’m in or through DM.

  5. Hey Aaron! Great to finally connect with you at BIG Omaha. What a fantastic event. Hope to see you at the MPLS tweetup tomorrow night, although I know your attendance is questionable. 🙂

  6. Nathan- Yeah, I can’t make the Tweetup Thursday night. Big Omaha was outstanding for sure. I’m also hoping to connect with you soon to tap some of your knowledge and process. Thanks!

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