If you are going to be anywhere near Amsterdam this Thursday or Friday, you should go to the Next Web conference. It is one of the best gatherings of European Web 2.0 startups and entrepreneurs. Nine days ago, I had no plans to travel to Amsterdam. But tomorrow I will be flying over there to moderate the two-day event. (Don’t ask how this happened, but it involved a late-night phone call interrupted by the Amsterdam police). TechCrunch UK’s Mike Butcher will also be attending. TechCrunch is a media partner, which means TC readers can get 200 Euros off the 750-Euro ticket price by entering the promotion code “tc08″ when you register.
The speakers include the usual suspects, like Garret Camp, Robert Scoble, and Kevin Rose. An episode of Diggnation will be filmed and streamed live from the stage. But the real draw is a series of rapid-fire presentations from 24-and-counting startups (including eBuddy, Fav.or.it, Empressr, CoComment, and Radionomy—each one gets five minutes) and all the Euro 2.0 networking you can handle.
The organizers are a trio of crazy Dutchmen who are themselves Web entrepreneurs and started the conference a few years ago for themselves and their friends. These are the same three entrepreneurs who once famously showed up one morning at TechCrunch headquarters (aka Mike’s house) in white suits. One of them, Patrick de Laive, explains how they try to make the Next Web different:
The conference is cool because we don’t focus much on making money but more on content, networking, and fun. We’re Internet entrepreneurs, not conference organizers. We make sure we have the best speakers in the world talking about the future of the web and not about their companies. We don’t have sponsors on stage or CEOs telling us how well they did last year.