RALEIGH — Once upon a time, a conference came to Raleigh.

Among the great talks at the Business of Software conference today, Jamie Woolf and Christopher Bell taught attendees how to find their hero and craft their story in seven sentences. And ever since, BoS networking has been a series of short stories.

It’s sessions like this that bring speakers like Bob Moesta, founders like Carl Ryden, and organizers like Bill Spruill to this event year after year.

Ongoing Success

April Dunford speaks at BoS 2023.

April Dunford speaks at BoS 2023.

“This is the only conference that I’ve come to more than once,” Moesta told me as we chatted after the opening talk. “It’s the people. There are people who sold their business 10 years ago and they don’t need to come but they do because of the camaraderie. It’s just a great conference.”

That sentiment was echoed throughout the day as people cheered the event’s organization, food, and – of course – the talks. April Dunford’s opening presentation was on sales, a topic that would normally have conference attendees cringing. But Dunford’s session on finding and pitching with your differentiated value was engaging and followed by a Q&A that encouraged the “tough questions.”

Carl Ryden, along with other Triangle BoS attendees, were instrumental in bringing the conference to the area. He spoke about the value he’s found from years of attending the conference.

“That first year there were three or four of us,” he told me, “but just one of these sessions is worth the price of admission for your whole team.”

In the years that followed, Ryden brought more and more of his staff, usually those in key positions.

“It would give a common language,” he explained. “We could go home and talk about how to do things with this shared insight.”

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Big Value

Indeed, the value of the conference is well-understood, and it is this value that has led the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) in partnership with Bill Spruill, to offer sponsorships for startup founders to attend the event both last year in Boston and now this year in downtown Raleigh.

BoS hosts joined by CED staff and sponsored companies.

BoS hosts are joined by CED staff and sponsored companies.

Spruill, former CEO of Global Data Consortium and current CED Board Chair had lots to say about the value of the event, especially the value for the locals.

“I’ve been a raving fan for years and I’ve always said, this is something that other entrepreneurs should be taking advantage of,” Spruill said. “Global in nature and attendance, education from great out-of-area speakers, people you won’t regularly get your hands on. And this great fellowship. Networking with other entrepreneurs and founders from all around the world.”

And for those who worry about the “software” aspect of the conference, Spruill believes this event “transcends” software, and is useful to any founder.

“It is a software conference, but it’s a software conference that’s focused on the practical areas of any business: sales, marketing, storytelling, mental health. At the end of the day, this is all about founders and growing a business.”

Big Opportunities

The conference wraps up tomorrow at the Martin Marietta Center in downtown Raleigh with talks on resource management, metrics, and AI. Beyond that, the conference is planned to return to the area next year, and hopefully, for many years to come. But Spruill also cautioned locals not to take BoS for granted.

“We can tee up these opportunities,” Spruill said, “we can bring these opportunities to the community, but that community must partake. Otherwise, these opportunities may not come back.”