As an events-company-turned-newsletter, we know a thing or two about throwing a great conference. So, we asked around, scoured the internet, and pulled together 12 of the most enlightening conferences of 2019 — and a few in 2020.
Does it feel cliché to start our list with South by Southwest? Maybe a little bit… but when you cover as much ground as they do — music, movies, interactive media, and tech — and wrap it all up in the distinctly weird charm of Austin, it’s an experience too good to pass up.
Every road to success requires a little inspiration, and nobody does that better than TED. Their week of talks in 2019 focuses on the theme of “deeper meaning,” and includes workshops designed to help you embrace your own brand of mind-expanding creativity.
May: Wall Street Journal Future of Everything
New York, NY
Looking for a competitive edge? Seeing into the future is a good place to start. Produced by WSJ, this conference explores the life-changing innovations that are expected in the coming years — think A.I. and the transformation of money, for starters.
June: Forbes 2019 Women’s Summit
New York, NY
Arianna Huffington, Indra Nooyi, Victoria Beckham, Mindy Grossman. Not a bad lineup, right? With a cast of speakers whose talents range from business and media to entertainment, politics, and beyond, the Forbes Summit brings together female visionaries poised to change the world.
Video ain’t just for kids anymore. The importance of video content continues to explode, and VidCon is the perfect opportunity to brush up on best practices. Meet with industry experts and learn firsthand how to maximize video’s value for your company, startup, or even just your Instagram.
August: THAT Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Like StackOverflow in real life — meet up with a community of developers and explore all the technologies used for the web, mobile, and cloud. Plus, if you’re gonna go to a conference at the peak of summer, you might as well go to the one at a waterpark.
September: INBOUND 2019
We’re not usually fans of following the crowd, but the 24,000+ attendees of INBOUND have the right idea — especially when names like Shonda Rhimes and Michelle Obama have headlined in the past. Pop into Boston for a lobster roll, some clam chowder, and a week’s worth of world-class marketing knowledge and sales tactics from the brains who pioneered them.
October: Inc. 5000
San Antonio, TX
The Inc. 5000 Conference & Gala offers lessons and tactics from real-life leaders on their prestigious list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies, so you can get the inside scoop on how they took their operations to the big leagues. Plus, it all ends with a black-tie event. How elegant.
Looking to take your network international? Helsinki hosts Slush in 2019, where 20,000+ startups, investors, journalists, and “tech heads” congregate to collectively conquer the entrepreneurship game. It’s a conference perfectly suited for growing companies — or people looking to make some solid connections in a new, beyond-the-border market.
December: AWS re:Invent
Las Vegas, NV
The Cloud. What is it? What does it do? Is it like… up there somewhere? Questions will be answered, skills will be mastered, and best practices will be memorized at re:Invent — the largest cloud computing conference in the country at the largest adult amusement park in the country.
January (2020): East Meets West
Networking in one country can only take you so far. That’s why East Meets West is bringing together investors and entrepreneurs from North America and Asia at the (stunningly beautiful) middle ground of Hawai’i. Hey, if you’re gonna network, you may as well do it in paradise.
February (2020): The New York Times New Work Summit
Half Moon Bay, CA
The Gray Lady has pulled together a who’s who of business leaders from companies like LinkedIn, Y Combinator, Snap, Nasdaq, Microsoft, AT&T, and more to discuss the opportunities and risks presented by AI’s acceleration. Soak in panels hosted by senior NYT reporters and, in the off hours, kick up your feet on the California coastline.