It's been a week since Patrick and I returned from Unspam.
We'd been eyeing this event for a while, but schedules were tricky and distances were far and Omicron was rampant. It wasn't until I got an invitation to speak that we finally said, "can we pull this off?"
Luckily, the answer was yes.
Over the last decade I've organized or attended a couple dozen conferences through the day job. Unsurprisingly, I'd become a little weary - jaded, even - of the constant sales pitches, shallow topics, and extrovert-designed schedules.
Unspam promised to be none of that.
And, I must say, they absolutely delivered. More specifically, there were three things that really, really impressed me.
#1 - The Pace
I loved the pace. Patrick and I have only jammed in person a couple times since starting SendView, so we were off brainstorming in a corner more than we should have been. But when we did join the group it was awesome to have time and space around talks to chat up the person next to you. And enough time to start to build some friendships rather than just learn someone's name. I never felt like I had to rush to lunch or to the bathroom or through a conversation. It was hands down my favorite aspect of the event.
#2 - The People / Community
Man, these were my kind of people. There wasn't a suit or aspiring executive in the lot. Instead, you had cool, quirky, normal humans who embraced who they were and supported one another. I was super impressed by how well the core group knew each other, was there for each other, but also welcomed new people into their tribe as if us newbies had been coming for years.
#3 - The Content
When the Unspam gang says the conference isn't about stuffing veiled sales pitches down folks throats, they mean it. The topics and content were, by far, the focus. Maybe my experience is different than most, but it was so refreshing to not just be constantly waiting for the inevitable sales pitch slides. Instead, they treated their speakers right (ie, they compensated each one) and every speaker delivered fantastic (and practical) stuff.
As I said before, if you're on the fence just...go.
They've got three more events planned this year - Chicago, London, and Boston - and if this first was any indication, they'll be days very well spent.