CEO and Co-founder of Madison Traffic Garden. Placemaker and creator of win/win situations, systems and structures to bring out the best in people.
Start with genuine interactions that you follow up with at the conference an online. Start networking now and then plan to deepen connections at conference. Whatever you do don't try to meet as many people as possible and then have little time to follow up due to so many.
Practice. Practice. Practice. You will improve. Do you have people to practice with who can give you feedback?
People thought twitter would fail to monetize so nobody wanted to copy something that had no idea how it could work either.
You are not ready to start yet. Execution is scary. Sometimes people stall and make excuses like-not right idea or partners or no money etc. truth is when the passion strikes nothing will stop you. You need that drive to succeed. Be honest with yourself. Also be open and patient and when the time is right you will do it. You seem very passionate and motivated so I think you will know when you know. Until then enjoy whatever job until you are ready for the leap. Start with a small problem you personally want to solve for yourself. See if that solution has a market while you work on the cheapest and leanest prototype. Good Luck.
Erin provided tremendous feedback and insightful answers which was bang on for what I'm working on. I've made a discovery of Erin and her project and look forward to learning a lot more. If you want true heartfelt conversation and mindful answers, Erin will deliver.