October 31, 2008

elephant journal: Dave Rogers does Naturally Boulder Days 2008. [Photo Slideshow]


Naturally Boulder Days 2008

Networking w/ Green Titans, Organic Goddesses & Ecopreneurs
courtesy New Hope & Fresh Ideas Group.

Blog via the grouchy, good man Dave Rogers. Photos by elephantjournaldotcom’s Rusty Ralston. More to come via the sunny-side up Lindsey Wolf on Monday.

Have an itch to enter the LOHAS market but don’t know the fundamentals? Wish the titans of the natural foods world would dissect your dream idea and give it a push into the green limelight? Do you like hobnobbing with fellow entrepreneurs while sampling gluten-free granola made from shade grown oats on a co-op that supports the rights of farm animals in a developing nation?

Well, if you weren’t at Naturally Boulder Days 2008, you missed your chance.

You missed Ann Cooper (written up a year ago in the New Yorker) talk about her farm-to-table solution to America’s ridiculously unhealthy school lunch system. (Note: I too missed this one. It was held at the un-Boulderly hour of eight a.m. The only pre-cappuccino events in this town involve skis.)[galleria thumb_w=120 thumb_h=90 thumbnail=”bottom” navigation=’none’ ]

You missed the ubiquitous choir-preaching discussion about why Boulder is such a great town for innovation (it’s listed in more magazines’ top 10 lists than any other town in the US of A). You missed practical tips on how to get the media actually write about your business (featuring a panel of great big wig media editors, along with elephantjournaldotcom’s Waylon Lewis talking about old media/new media). You missed the chance to have lunch with someone who has already made a bazillion dollars in your industry, and quiz them about your business ideas.

You missed the industry’s heavy hitters: Alfalfa’s Market founder Hass Hassan, Izze‘s Todd Woloson, Zam Group’s Liz Myslik and Buddy Ketchner of leading PR firm Sterling-Rice Group dish out tough love advice and criticism on the infamous, helpful Pitch Slam (a sort of LOHAS version of American Idol) featuring elevator pitches of a few dozen entrepreneurs, who receive Gladiatorial thumbs up or thumbs down with commentary from a panel of eco-Titans and green Goddesses.

What didn’t you miss?

You didn’t miss a few mediocre presentations. When people drop $150 bucks but refrain from heavy note-taking, you know how much they value the info. I did value the chance to hear first-person anecdotes from so many entrepreneurs, but got the impression that being an industry success was the only qualification to be on a panel. Some real meat wouldn’t have hurt even the most engaging presentation (the challenge for presenters seemed to be that they wanted to remain accessible, which prevented them from getting too in-depth, which is what I was hoping for).

Why do people pay cover charge to come to this two-day-long conference/party?

For the price of admission (or in my case, a press pass via elephant journal), I got to sit in a padded chair hoping for a few kernels of actual data or insight, hoping for some quality face-time with an industry idol and, of course, I walked away with a Whole Foods permabag full of killer swagg (I now have enough healthy snack food to last me through the winter).

But really, it was all about the wine and cheese. When the apps and drinks appeared, attendance doubled— and so did the value of the experience. I met 20 interesting people in an hour and half and the atmosphere was perfect for relaxed schmoozing. Characteristic of Boulder, everyone involved was downright friendly and happy to be there.

Here’s last year’s video…stay tuned to your elevision for new video, coming soon:

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