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The 2017 DENT Conference

FusionSpark CEO Russell Sparkman is a special advisor to DENT Conference founders Steve Broback and Jason Preston. In the following post, Russell has asked Steve and Jason to describe the DENT conference, the theme of which integrates well with our own “Content that Matters” focus. See bottom of this post for registration link and discount code.

What is the DENT Conference?


Lynda.com co-founder Lynda Weinman

Dent is a conference and a community for entrepreneurs, executives, and creatives who are driven to “put a dent in the universe.”

In 2013, Dent co-founders Steve and Jason invited 100 people from all different industries — Cathie Black, former publisher of USA Today, Alvy Ray Smith, Pixar co-founder, Harper Reed, CTO of Obama for America, Maia Young, UCLA Professor, and others — to join them in Sun Valley, ID in March in an attempt to better understand what it takes to “put a dent in the universe,” so that these lessons and techniques could be better understood and put to use by anyone.

Over the past four years, we’ve had presenters who are artists, CEOs, Olympic gold medalists, teenagers doing amazing things with Minecraft, musicians, professors, and more who each bring their own unique bit of inspiration to the conference.

Through this journey we’ve come to understand the power of bringing together the right group of people who share a mission of making the world a better place. Each year we host a diverse group of motivated people to the northern Rocky Mountain town of Sun Valley, ID, where we can escape the limiting perspective of our offices and inspire each other to truly dent the future.

Why is DENT different from other niche conferences (what makes it different, besides the red wine consumption)?

Aimee Christensen Lila Preston

Aimee Christensen of Sun Valley Institute and Lila Preston of Generation Investment Management

Attendees participate in a network and a community where people who are looking to become mentors and patrons can get together with those who are energetically working on new ventures. These can be companies, nonprofits, or other projects with the potential to dent the future. The mix is powerful, and great for everyone involved.

We’ve also designed Dent to create a number of places for people to connect outside of big, boring conference rooms. Our “Activity Day” splits people into smaller groups and takes them around town for various experiences like parkour, a small day hike, or tamer options like a lockpicking workshop or a cyber security workshop. Rather than forcing attendees into a big conference room for dinner, participants are hosted at top restaurants in the nearby town of Ketchum. These dinners make for an unforgettable evening with great food and better company.

It’s the kind of experience that builds real, lasting relationships instead of just “networking” opportunities.

What is DENT’s purpose?


Cady Coleman, Austronaut

As communications technology gets better and more widespread, we spend less time building real relationships with each other in the physical world. This is especially true for the driven and often over-extended entrepreneurs, artists, and executives who dedicate their lives to making a positive impact through their work. At Dent, we believe that human progress depends on the kinds of innovative ideas and relationships that can only be made in person.

We create the environments where people can come together and build relationships that make it possible to dent the universe. We help people put a dent in the future.

What are the speaker highlights for DENT 2017?

Like all conferences, our official answer is “all of them!” But there are a few folks that I (Jason) as a co-founder am personally looking forward to hearing from. One is cellist and technologist Zoë Keating, who will dive into the kinds of empathy and inspirations that can come from connecting a room full of strangers through art (as often happens in a musical performance). Another is NASA Astronaut Tim Kopra, whose launch on mission STS-133 I watched from the press booth, and who spent months on the International Space Station learning how to work in tight collaboration with a small team in an unforgiving environment. He’s going to talk about the teamwork and management lessons he took away from that experience.

What else would you like to add, re DENT 2017?

For those attendees who like to ski or snowboard, Sun Valley is experiencing record snow accumulations!

Click here to Register for the DENT Conference with a 10% Discount.

Use Discount Code word: sparkman

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