SVV flew to meet me in Dublin last week on our anniversary and sail with me for the rest of the Enrichment Voyage but not before attending Nashville’s biggest party of the year. For those of you who have passed through Music City recently, you may have noticed quite a lot of construction going on around Korean Veterans Boulevard. Well, the dust has finally settled, and the $635 million Nashville Music City Center is now open for business.
SVV was joined by my business partner Stef, her husband and several of our media friends for the celebration, which included musical acts galore and even a private concert put on by our local girl, Sheryl Crow.
This convention center is an absolute behemoth at 1.2 million square feet, and it’s attached to the 800-room Omni Nashville that’s opening this fall and the Country Music Hall of Fame. So basically, it’s poised to be the coolest block in Nashville by the year’s end!
If you’ve been to Nashville before, you know we have been desperately needing this. The old convention center isn’t exactly a technological marvel, and we can’t keep hotel rooms empty, the city is so in demand. The addition of the MCC means that six new hotels are moving into the area between now and next year.
More facts about this architectural marvel: It’s shaped like a guitar from above. It has a 175,000 square-foot green roof, designed to mimic the rolling hills of Tennessee. The total land area of the site is 16 acres, and it’s being considered for LEED Silver certification.
For 12 months now, I have put every ounce of energy and creative thought into Stef’s and my newest endeavor: KEEN Digital Summit (which stands for Keeping Entrepreneurs Engaged and Networking).
The When: Oct. 24-27, 2013
The Where: The brand-spanking-new Omni Nashville, attached to the equally brand-spankin’-new Music City Center
The Who: Tech innovators, online entrepreneurs, brands who have a keen (sorry, had to) interest in technology, travel, photography, family, and food and spirits. Bloggers, Tweeters, Pinners, small businesses—basically, anyone operating in the online space will benefit from KEEN.
The Why: Because the two of us and our team of awesome influencers were sick and tired of the same ol’ conference. I mean, how many people can tell us in how many ways “how to pick a platform,” “how to grow your audience,” “how you CAN’T make money online.” Well, that’s stupid. Because there are a lot of people who have turned their presences into online empires. And we want to leverage our own connections to help you be one of them.
There were times, it looked like it all might fall apart. We were screwed over by a major firm out of Chicago and were forced to take legal action (no cheap endeavor when you’re a startup that’s owned and operated by two long-time freelance journalists paying for everything out of their not-so-deep bank accounts). But we persevered. We never gave up. We put together a kick-ass team of entrepreneurs and innovators.
And we talked the Omni Nashville into letting us be their grand opening act. We can’t wait; this hotel is seriously killer. Check out the 3D rendering of what it’s going to look like.
Registration went on sale last week and is at an “introductory price” (i.e. discounted) through June 15. Because this is a first year event, it’s going to be more exclusive: We’re capping attendees at 700. (So get your ticket soon!)
Uh, because it rocks. (Duh.) And it’s becoming a tech hub more and more every day. And we have some fantastic people in the South doing amazing things. And because it’s within 500 miles of something like 75 percent of the country’s population—meaning that most of you can reach us pretty easily by car. Or plane. Because, you know, we have airports and fancy stuff like that. And you can finally attend a top-tier conference without a) heading to a coast or b) visiting a city that will break your bank while there. Huzzah! Win-win for all!
Lots of stuff. Networking opportunities. The ability to hear about the latest technologies in your field from some very impressive speakers. A state-of-the-art expo. Cool parties, rife with chance schmoozing. A career camp where you can meet and greet with potential employers or partners. The chance to be a part of something new and innovative and exciting. (And so I can show off my hometown to you, too, while we’re at it!)
Every few weeks, we will be adding content, speakers and partners to the site, so check back often!
And did I mention you should sign up and come play with me in Nashville? Because, after the Music City Center opening, it’s going to be the event of the year.