An Invitation from Jeff Middleton

Jeff Middleton

An invitation from Jeff Middleton
SBS-MVP and Founder of

This is a personal invitation from me, please let me welcome you to New Orleans.

I could have held this conference anywhere in the world, but why not here? I'm a native, life-long resident…New Orleans is my home. Offering an event here made sense for me before Katrina, now it means much more to me as well as for the people of this city. For all of us living here, the people and small businesses, it means a great deal that we are still calling New Orleans home. Our commitment comes with many challenges confronted with deep enthusiasm and faith by us in ourselves, but also by the grace and support of our nation, the caring and charity of people worldwide offering us a hand, or contributing to our recovering economy.

I aspire for this event to merely cover its own costs, to deliver what is put in back as value and entertainment to the attendees and guests, and to help the people and small businesses of my city. New Orleans needs to regain our flow of visitors, tourists and conventions. The loss to the city of 2 million visitor hotel room/nights and $2 billion in related conference/event revenue traces back to Katrina, even before a tally of outright damages are attributed, and this highlights our continued struggle today. We need your business! Yes, we are ready, and we need that perception shared. Reconstruction means little without reigniting the economy and the community. Even Microsoft itself in regret has cancelled three conferences in New Orleans for 2007, including Tech Ed US.

New Orleans and Katrina is not the topic or focus of this conference, yet is it not a poignant backdrop to talk about IT responsibilities in crisis planning, business continuity and disaster recovery? Local illustrations of experiences will be offered, but with balance to common concerns and universal risks from large to small scale. This will not become a day long lecture by me…or by anyone else. I will participate in various conference sessions and the dialog, but this isn’t a pitch for I am able to sponsor this event, to lead in hosting it here by saying “this will happen in May”, and thereby to attract a much larger set of resources and participation. This will be a discussion among peers, experts and experienced professionals. You are part of the plan and direction of the event to unfold.

I'm also declaring this a reunion, an introduction, and a professional community network building opportunity. Come meet the people I have met. Over the past two years, I have traveled extensively throughout North America, Australia and Europe with my “Small World Tour”. I have participated in many major conferences but more importantly to me, I have also tried to help local community groups of small business oriented IT Pros. I’ve tried to assist in their individual efforts to built strength and effective benefit for their participants, to provide content and continuity and visibility. This conference represents an expanded invitation to all of you now to come to my hometown. Allow me to host a collective professional event worthwhile on many levels, with so many more implications beyond a string of conference sessions. This event is to be defined by the people who will be here. In the week after Katrina at SMB Nation 2005, scores of people stepped forward to volunteer professional services to address the crisis in New Orleans for which only humanitarian aid was possible. Each and every person who joins now in visiting the businesses of this city is critical to helping these people save their homes and opportunities here.

It doesn't matter to me what your motivation is to participate in this conference in New Orleans. Become a sponsor, be a presenter, be an attendee or community member. I’m trying to inspire you with a week of choices full of variety and fun, and an option to extend your stay at a conference rate luxury hotel. Come for the sessions, the parties, the culture, the food, the nightlife, the weekend or the week. Come to the city to address your curiosity, to review your concerns or to contribute to retelling what you have seen of our circumstances good or bad. Come to meet the community of attendees, or to meet me, or to wander the neighborhoods to meet the committed residents, shopkeepers, restaurateurs or the musicians ...or the street entertainers or volunteers gutting houses but…please just come spend a few days and a few dollars to be a part of the recovery and rebirth of New Orleans.

Come to the conference, enjoy the city, learn from the sessions, network with the attendees and bring your spouse along to savor your stay. I’m doing everything I can to ensure that you and your guests will enjoy yourself and have a great value for your business and professional needs from a unique conference event. I’m investing resources to ensure this will be both serious and a lot of fun. I’m tempting you with a potential vacation and an educational event, a romantic weekend in the French Quarter or a week-long Caribbean Cruise or both. I’m trying to share my view of what I want in my own life and business. I want all of us to be serious about our work, responsible in our professions, and invested in our life beyond our job.

Come join me and my friends from around the world. Think: New Orleans for Memorial Day Weekend 2007.

Jeff Middleton