Most people, having already paid $2000.00 of their hard earned money, and then having flown, driven, or otherwise travelled to Boston to attend a conference, and then having paid an additional $250/night plus $33/night parking and "tourism taxes" to the Seaport Hotel -- most people, after all this, are unlikely to say that it was a waste of time and they should have stayed home watching the remaining salvaged episodes of Doctor Who on Netflix.
In fact, I found it quite useful.
The talks by Clayton Christenson (author of The Innovators Dilemma), Rory Sutherland (expert on Behavioural economics) and the dozens of entrepreneurs (both serial and parallel) were all very fascinating and useful, and they were all broadcast for free, and they will soon be up for streaming, for free.
So why go through all of this effort to physically go to the conference?
One of the conference rooms at Business of Software 2011.
What the the World Trade Center in Boston lacks in number of bathrooms, it more than makes up for in hallways. It has roughly 1000 miles of hallways in which you can bump into successful business people. And every one of them is trying to meet you and get your take on important, urgent business-related matters like, "Have you seen an empty bathroom?"
Seriously, when not at the conference, and people ask what I do, I have learned to say something like "I do computers". People here understand when I talk about NoSQL databases, SaaS models, and programmer development tools. The amount of time until their eyes glaze over is well over the 60 second mark.
You also get some inside info. People aren't shy talking about their pricing. How much does the super-mega-ultra corporate option cost? The one where instead of a price, it says "Call"? These people will tell you, because they don't get to talk about it much, and they are honestly trying to help.
I talked to C.E.O.s, and C.T.Os, of 3 to 30 person companies. I talked to VPs, Cloud Engineers, and Intrapreneurs of big companies. For many, this is the first opportunity to talk to an outsider about their businesses. It is like psychotherapy. Often they would come to a sudden realization. "Hey," a micro-ISV would say, "I just have a fear of releasing the next version because it's missing some difficult features. I should just do it anyway!". If you go to this conference, you probably already know what you should do to improve your business. But having Jason Cohen, or some seasoned CEO tell you in person moves it up onto the todo list.
I hope you're convinced of the value that Business of Software has to offer, and I hope to see you there next year. I should be finished Doctor Who by then.