Mike Suster

Beware of the CEO conference addict

October 14, 2010: 12:22 PM ET

For entrepreneurs, it's important to build relationships. But take it too far, and you sacrifice leadership.

By Mark Suster, contributor

Step away from the Moscone Center

You know the type. You see them on Twitter, Facebook or Plancast plotting out their next 12 conferences. You see their tweets from airports across the globe. Look at me! I'm in Spain! Now I'm in France. Next week I'm speaking in Cabo San Lucas! They are professional conference attendees.

They are CEOs addicted to the schmoozing.

In the industry they're known as "conference ho's." Okay, they're known as conference "whores" but that sounded too harsh for a blog post. Inevitably a certain number of entrepreneurs feel compelled to attend every conference. I think I know the root cause. It can be magnetic being at conferences, especially when you're on a panel, you're invited to a speakers' dinner, you're getting to meet so many new people and you're getting so much attention.

And for all of these reasons it's smart to selectively go to a few events here and there – particularly those that you're likely to have the highest hit rates of connecting with people who can change your business. But there has to be a limit. In the same way you wouldn't spend all of your day in front of your computer at the expense of customer interaction, there has to be a limit to attending conferences. More

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