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5.18.99  
Welcome, Conference-Goers and Seminar Seekers
ScheduleEarth.com tracks myriad events for businesspeople worldwide

Looking for a meaningful conference on marketing strategies -- in Martinique in February? Or the inside dope on how motivating some business guru's seminars really are? Check out ScheduleEarth (www.ScheduleEarth.com), a new Web site that tracks professional seminars, conferences, and trade shows.

Started late last year by Fort Lauderdale entrepreneur Kevin Taylor, the site lets you search for professional gatherings of all kinds around the globe. The database has about 20,000 entries in the U.S. and 20 foreign cities. "It is a one-stop shop for small-business officers to find out cost, travel plans, times, meeting places, and proximity to their home offices," says Taylor, who works with 200 event planners and updates his site every week.

Here's how it works: Click on the PowerSearch button, then enter the topic of an event you'd like to attend, a city, and the dates you'd like to travel. Looking for a conference on E-commerce and security next fall in New York? Up pops a three-day American Management Assn. workshop in September: "Electronic Commerce Over the Web -- Developing Your Strategy for Success." The site gives you a description of the event, telephone numbers, and E-mail contacts -- and the price of admission. It also tells you how many professional continuing-education credits you can earn by attending. You can even register directly from the site.

The home page also lists the site managers' picks for the hottest seminars coming up -- a cornucopia of business buzzwords if there ever was one: "Competitive Intelligence," "Mastering the Complex Sale," "Making Managers into Leaders," or "International Total Remuneration." Anyone can list a seminar or trade show for free. Postings usually go up 24 hours after the company gets the information.

ScheduleEarth complements the listings with a growing roster of services for road warriors: Free E-mail, for example, so you can get message as long as you can log onto the Web, which is usually easier than dialing into the server at the Mother Ship. There's a personal calendar, which lets you schedule up to six E-mail reminders for any date. Later this summer, ScheduleEarth will expand the calendar to include "shareware" so groups can schedule private meetings, Taylor says. He also plans to integrate the calendar and the event schedule, so you can jot down anything you want to attend with just a mouse click.

Afraid of wasting money on a snoozer? Check out the discussion groups, which feature comments about recent seminars from those who've lived through them. Or you can use this section as a bulletin board to get in touch with people you met at a recent conference.

Once you've figured out what seminar to attend, book the trip via Travelocity, the online travel agency, a site partner. Another ScheduleEarth partner is USAHome, a site that has out-of-towners' information for an array of U.S. cities, including guides to local businesses. Click on the USAHome button at the top of the site to track down galleries, restaurants, and dry cleaners near your hotel. Later in the year, Taylor plans to sell business books and videos, so you can keep abreast of some of those important seminar topics. ScheduleEarth may not completely cure you of hoarding seminar brochures, but it should give you the courage to dump some of them.

By Jeremy Quittner in New York
jeremy-quittner@businessweek.com

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