I just got back from 7x24 Exchange in San Antonio.
And one of the simple reasons I like the conference is there are smart people attending and they are social. There are conferences that have smart people, but it is hard to socialize or the attendees aren’t very social. And, there are even more conferences you can go to where the people are social (aka sales people & business development), but the attendees are not some of the smartest in the industry.
A simple way to look at what conferences I attend is whether there are smart people attending and are they social. So far my favorites are 7x24 Exchange and GigaOm. I work for GigaOm Research as a freelance researcher now, but before that I found the conferences met the bar which is part of why I accepted the invitation to work with the research group.