It was an experience best summed up perhaps by Tom Waits' "San Diego Serenade," or Charlie Walker's "San Diego." Never mind the songs by Bruce Springsteen or Steve Allen.
The focus 2014 Conference hosted by LPL
was really a big block party, with lots of high tech big sky financial technology ideas and plenty of goofy family fun.
Hosted from August 10th to August 13th at the San Diego Convention Center
, the event started off with a humungous block party
in the exhibition hall, done up with faux store fronts and street signs to look like six San Diego neighborhoods: Balboa Park; Coronado; La Jolla; Little Italy; Ocean Beach and Old Town. Plenty of Mexican, Italian and finger foods and sweets were available.
Music was provided by such local artists as DJ Mike Czech; rock country music performer Jonathan Lee Band rock; folksters Mike Myrdal & Aragorn; the jazzy New Moon Flyers; vocalist Dawn Mitschele, and a mariachi band (of course there was a mariachi band!).
Two performers in stilts, one dressed up as a Padres player while the other looked like a harlequinish magician, yucked it up with the attendees, many of whom brought their children. Organizers note: children are a great cure for the intrinsic stuffiness of business conventions. The magical harlequin even joined in on a conga line. Aye Caramba.
But there was serious stuff, as well. Monday and Tuesday featured super general sessions with insights from LPL CEO mark Casady and leadership academic Jim Collins on Monday
, and CIO Burt White
and former ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and his wife Lee
There were also roughly 300 hours of assorted breakout sessions
offered to attendees on a wide variety of subjects.
After Sunday's block party event, the nights were largely free for attendees. This was hardly a problem though, given that the convention center was right on the boardwalk with its assorted shopping villages, one block from the city's historic Gaslamp Quarter
, and less than four blocks from the San Diego Padres' PETCO Park stadium
There were also a varity of family-friendly events
during the day, including a Fun Run, a charity event and a tour of LPL's sustainable office tower
which is purportedly the nation's largest zero-net energy building housing 1,600 employees.
The conference ended noon Wednesday, leaving the nearly 6,000 attendees with a feeling perhaps best described in the Tupac song California Lovin
: "It's all good from Diego to tha Bay."
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