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On 1/3/2012 4:28 PM, Steve Litt wrote:
> I probably won't have the time to come unless you hold it in
> Orlando, Florida, which is my home.

Not fond of humidity, so probably not going to want to go to an Orlando conference. Or is there a non-humid time of year there?

> Meanwhile, I challenge Boulder or Orlando or any other tourist trap
> to have the same percentage of intelligent technologists as Raleigh.

I think you picked the wrong battle here. In 2010, BusinessWeek Magazine picked Boulder, Colorado as the #1 city in the country to start a new company [1] in large part because it:

1. Has the highest concentration of software engineers per capita of any city in the US [1]
2. Is second only to Silicon Valley in percentage of workers employed in tech [1]
3. Has the highest concentration of the "creative class" (scientists, artists, engineers, and the like) in the US [1]

I've also heard that Boulder has one of the top five highest number of PhDs per capita in the US.

Your other points are relevant (hotels here aren't cheap), though I'd wager the food here is better. ;) In Boulder proper, you can go down to $67 per night, according to a search I just did on, and looking at the numbers, I'd bet we could get it under a hundred a night if we picked one hotel and negotiated a conference rate.

On the other hand, I just was at a conference in Albuquerque at a hotel with a conference center, and it cost about $56/night for a room -- and since the conference attracted enough guests (about 40 rooms worth), they got four conference rooms for free for three days. If the conference itself didn't have any rental costs, that might get the total cost below what you're thinking of in NC. Honestly it was a pretty decent room for the price, and Albuquerque seems like a more interesting city than Raleigh to visit, an extra hundred years of history, though to be fair I haven't been to Raleigh myself. Santa Fe is an hour away from Albuquerque, and is even more interesting. Maybe I'm just prejudiced toward western cities, having grown up in California, though. :)

> Last but not least, with Raleigh's excellent employment rate,
> including in IT, if you think it's time to change locations, you
> might actually find yourself a job while you're there.

Another losing battle here. Boulder shows a 6.4% unemployment rate for 2011 [2], compared to 8.7% in Raleigh [3]. I have no shortage of companies asking me to interview at the moment (I live in Boulder, in case you missed that message), including Google, which is expanding their presence here by a huge amount. Don't forget that TechStars has an incubator here too. As a bonus, it's one of the healthiest cities in the country by several measures, including obesity -- and at least obesity appears to be (socially) contagious [4]. (North Carolina is 12th highest state in adult obesity; Colorado is lowest [5].) So no thanks, I'm not going to consider getting a job in Raleigh. ;)

There's no question in my mind whether Boulder is an awesome place for a small conference (and to live and work), from the wonderful things to do outside of the conference, the clean air, and the great views. The question is more of whether there's a critical mass of attendees (and speakers!) who would be interested in coming. Or I could connect people with the Albuquerque conference info, if there's more interest in keeping it cheap rather than touristy. I just like to explore the places I travel to. :)