Silicon Prairie News

The Big Omaha conference update

Omaha November 3, 2008 by Jeff Slobotski

Fellow SPNers!  A quick note to let you know we've nailed the dates for the BIG OMAHA Conference.

The dates are May 7th & 8th 2009 in Omaha.  Gary Vaynerchuk is confirmed folks!  Amazing news for those who know what Gary is all about.  For those that don't...please read up on him below.

Gary's passionate personality, scholarly knowledge of wine as well as his live recordings helped him create a $45 million-a-year empire.

Gary (make sure to watch his Web2.0 Keynote address here)

Thanks Gary for the support!  Looking forward to having you in the Midwest in May!

In addition to Gary, we have Adriana Gascoigne and Matt Mullenweg on board as well!

We're working on a host of other folks right now including some huge entrepreneurs in the new media and innovative space...Merlin Mann, Julia Roy and more...

Next up to confirm, Warren Buffett?

Who else do you want to see in Omaha?

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Wow, amazing news!! I can't wait for this - great work Slobotski! You guys are kicking all sorts of ass.

Oct 2, 2008 at 10:22 AM

Congratulations to Gary Vaynerchuk for his 50mil biz started with 4mil and fam biz. Meanwhile he tells US we can do it too if we work hard and stop watching “Lost”? He’s lost. He's fun to watch and listen to but he isn’t like any common new web entrepreneur. He had money a lot of money and I suspect that start up money was not borrowed. I realize I’m throwing what could be considered a barb at a person a lot of independent web savvy individuals look up to, but from the first interview I heard of him to today there is something about him that makes it hard for me to validate what he is saying. He has excellent advice about working hard but I can’t help feeling disconnected with everything he saying from his point of view to anyone else’s. Maybe I’m in the distant minority of voices on this one, but I’m starting to think Gary is one of the last people you want to listen to for advice on making it as a small independent business person.

Oct 2, 2008 at 10:58 AM

John, I can respect your opinion. I know there are people others admire that I don't exactly relate to, but Gary V. is not one of them. I adore him. His unique character fits me to a T. I am a person who responds really, really, well to straight, tough talk from a compassionate, motivating individual, and that is what Gary does for me. I am changing my business methods, developing more ideas, executing more, and am motivated like never before because of his generosity in sharing himself with others who want to achieve great things in their careers. I find myself wanting more and more from him regarding startup business advice... a business book, I've asked him to do a short business-themed cruise (totally selfishly), more business-related videos like the wonderful keynotes he's given the past few months..... I wish he inspired you like he does me, but maybe he's just not the right role model for you at this time. There are lots of others doling out great advice from the trenches as well. Good luck to you!

Oct 2, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Thanks Kris. I do enjoy watching him. I don't disagree with much of what he says. His style and such is completely cool with me. I also want to like him, but... well I'm not able to relate to him in the same way I can not related to George Lucas when he talks about independent film making. Like Gary, I do enjoy Lucas and don't disagree with what he says, but I'm unable to related to anything Lucas says as a matter of practical advice from the last 20 years. I do appreciate Gary's visit to the midwest coming up. He will put some chili in the mix, which is never a bad thing.

Oct 2, 2008 at 11:36 AM

John can't wait to meet you and let u in o my world and explain what my 4mill business did and had and what kind of margins it did, just cause u did 4 mill doenst mean u made tons of $;) anyway the borrowing ect...can't wait to meet you and let you know me better and I hope you will get a better feel for me :) I wish you and your family well!

Oct 2, 2008 at 01:02 PM

Bring 'em all on! C'mon! This is exactly what we need in this city -- people who will come on down and shake us to our foundation. We need to awaken the Sleeping Giant of Creativity that is this fine city. Buffett has put us on the map; it's up to the creative young professionals like us to take the bull by the horns and really show the coasts that we're not just a flyover state (or city). National acts love to play here; two of my favourite bands play here regularly as their touring schedule allows. This is precisely what we need! Shake 'em up! Bring 'em on!

Oct 7, 2008 at 03:52 AM

Gotta get Kevin Rose. Have him speak, and then Kevin & Alex can do an Omaha diggnation! It NEEDS to be done!

Oct 7, 2008 at 06:12 PM

John and everyone, if you'd like to hear more of Garyvee's business and branding views, he did a totally cool thing yesterday. He invited us on Twitter to listen in as he did a business phone call with a company looking to build their brand locally. He began taping it after he started the call, but a lot of it is captured and I posted it at

In this video, he talks about how you need to communicate globally, even if what you think you want is to build a brand locally, and gives some ideas about how to do that. I love to turn this on and listen in the background while working - very motivational. :-)

Oct 8, 2008 at 02:36 AM

Nick---thanks for the suggestion! We're working our Midwest magic now and appreciate your help in supporting & spreading the word about the event...

Kris---thank you for the link! I two was on the call and am glad you were able to capture @garyvee's conversations...

Keep up the great work!

Oct 8, 2008 at 04:38 AM

How about something for those of us in "traditional careers" and / or in the service profession? How can we use the internet, tools like twitter and facebook, to build our book of business and market ourselves globally - without crossing the line into malpractice?

Oct 21, 2008 at 11:14 AM

On the flipside of that - how can we help other young entrepreneurs?

Oct 23, 2008 at 06:47 AM

Merlin Mann would be a great addition for anyone who attends the conference. But from what I gather it's increasingly difficult to get his attention :)

Nov 3, 2008 at 02:18 AM

very big update there....I am thinking I am gonna have to head up to Omaha and check this conference out. my wife is from nebraska and I am addicted to valentino's pizza :)

keeping this event on my radar.

Nov 3, 2008 at 02:50 AM

Can't wait! Screw Kevin - Warren is where it's at!

Also can't wait to see GaryV. I would bet Chris Pirillo would be interested in supporting his midwest brethren as well.

Consider my calendar marked. Keep up the good work Jeff!

Nov 3, 2008 at 03:03 AM

This is exciting news. Highlight Midwest was great. So, I believe that I will have to make the journey to Omaha! Great job organizing this.

Nov 3, 2008 at 04:10 AM

Big OMAHA is going to kill it like nothing has been kilt before. So there! And hopefully to be joined by many, many other Kansas City areans....

Nov 3, 2008 at 09:59 AM

Nice work Jeff and Dusty. He is really coming. That is gonna be a lot of fun. And so is the night before.

Best Wishes,

Nov 3, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Chris and I are planning on going to Omaha and attending in May. Best of luck with all of your organization efforts with this event as it goes forward.

Nov 3, 2008 at 08:56 PM

Great work guys! I will be attending.

Nov 4, 2008 at 12:10 PM

Looking forward to the Big OMAHA! A huge KC entourage via SMCKC will be roadtripping up for it. I'll check with Bo/Pete to see how Embarq and others can help out. Whatever we can do let us know, you all kicked at Highlight Midwest, we owe ya!!!

Nov 26, 2008 at 05:38 PM

i can still get tim ferriss if you can get warren buffett

Dec 9, 2008 at 10:44 AM

matt mullenweg (wordpress). John Resig (jquery). Oh - and I really think Mitchell Baker would be awesome. (She is the former CEO of Mozilla -

Dec 12, 2008 at 02:55 AM

Hey guys,

This sounds great, any more news? Anymore speakers lined up?


Dec 22, 2008 at 11:25 PM

Travis (and all!)

Working on securing Matt Mullenweg along with a few, SOLID, others...will have more just after the first of the year!

Thanks again and keep spreading the word!

Dec 30, 2008 at 08:04 AM


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