The Supernova conference in San Francisco, always astronishes me by the quality of the attendees. It's like the speakers have nothing over on the attendees and at times they actually switch roles since many of the panelists generally attend and participate in the conference as well. It's like every one is deep in thought on the issues discussed and have either derived their own opinions or seek collaborators in flushing those out. Some times it's just hoping that others' presentations may shed light and bring out unique perspectives that can contribute to one's opinions.
There are a few other conferences that bring out this level of attendee, noteworthy among these is Esther Dyson's PCForum, now part of c|net, (though apparently there will be no more of these). Ironically, Kevin Werbach, producer of Supernova, was editor of Esther's Release 1.0 publication for a time. The difference however, is that because this conference is in San Francisco, it is far more accessible to a broader group of people which makes it easier to see a greater number of early stage company participants who are actually placing bets on many of the topics being discussed and explored.
Between sessions I met a young lady named Sarah, a story-teller, who has produced TV, film, and Web movies. Here she was just getting involved with some other top people I know and know of, to develop a new social networking company. Sure, there may be several of these out there, but there are new twists that people have only now begun to grapple with and Sarah was ready to "step up to the plate" and have her turn at bat.
Among the attendees were a few VCs like Jeremy Liew (Lightspeed Venture Partners), Christine Herron (Omidyar Group), and Jeff Clavier (angel) that I noticed, folks representing many of the Web 2.0 companies (both in the market and in stealth mode), and even panelists like Craig Newmark (Craigslist), Kim Polese (SpikeSource), Saul Klein (Skype), and Seth Goldstein hung around as participants before and after their own panels ended. Authors, bloggers and pundits like David Weinberger, Steve Gillmor, Dan Farber, Tara Hunt, Robert Scobble and Mary Hodder.
It's great to hear the buzz of people talking about interesting ideas, excited by the prospects of this revival of the Internet space (not that it ever died for some of us). With much of what's being enabled by new development methodologies, you can tell that every one is just now beginning to get their arms around the new possibilities, and trying to see how best to run with them. It felt good to be around the enthusiasm.