When I create an agenda, I literally spend 4-6 months of my life on it. I’ve already begun the outline for Defrag. I treat the process like I’m writing a script or a book. I begin with some loosely formed thesis, flesh that out into themes, and then attempt to gently lead the attendee in several directions. Of course, it’s better than a book because it’s a co-created experience with a nearly infinite set of possibilities. Still, by imagining it like a story (a trick my business partner and mentor Phil Becker taught me), I think I can achieve something with an agenda.

Hence, an agenda is like a child. I love every bit and piece of it. Even when it mis-behaves, I love it.

And yet, the question I get all of the time is “which sessions are you going to?” or some variation on that. That’s an incredibly tough answer. Part of it is because my interests may shift by the day of, but even more so because….I love all of it.

With that rather long caveat, I can say this — there are sessions that catch my eye. Not because they’re better than others, but because of my specific background, etc. So, here are some hard choices — what I’ll be looking to learn more about (and a quick reason why):

“Lessons from the Failure of SOAP” (clay loveless): I was at the heart of the SOAP/REST debate back in my early SAML days, so this is really interesting to me.

“Building and Scaling a Startup on AWS” (Jeff Malek/Keith Smith): Jeff and Keith lived through the recent AWS outage; I’m curious about their perspective.

“What’s Next for APIs?”: What can I say? I have a weakness for all things API.

“Hooking Your Mobile Apps to the Cloud” (Scott Kveton): For me, mobile has always been a town in Alabama. I’m now convinced this cell phone thingy might be huge. Time to get up to speed, I guess.

“Securing REST APIs with OAuth” (Paul Madsen): I’ve heard tales that Madsen’s a bad-ass. Time to find out.

“The Locker Project and Telehash” (Jer Miller): I’m intensely interested in what Jer’s up to. It’s an area that hasn’t been solved after 10+ years of work.

“Social Analytics with MongoDB” (Patrick Stokes): I saw another preso Patrick gave. It’s what convinced me to book him here.

“Bootstrapping Dynamo Apps with Riak” (Dave Smith): Dizzy’s (aka Dave Smith) an old friend. I know I won’t understand anything he says here, but I’m going anyway.

“An API for the Web of Things” (Rick Bullotta): I’m pretty interested in this “web of things” (especially since Craig Burton started talking about it again).

“Enterprise SaaS and Mobile” (Jeremy Glassenberg): Another session about a city in Alabama, what gives?

“Socializing between Enterprise Cloud Applications” (Monica Wilkinson): Monica’s now at Socialcast, and I wanna find out how they’re using things like activity streams.

Now, how hard were those choices? Incredibly hard. I wanna learn about ambient clouds and elephantDB and hadoop/cassandra and Hbase and and and….

I hope you’ll join us and come make your own hard choices. It’s not too late.