Sitting in the San Jose airport, on objectively the coolest airport chairs of all time, completely delirious from exhaustion and trying to decide if I am having the funniest moment of the week or having a psychotic break with Rhea Drysdale, Lisa Barone, Lauren Polinsky, and Jay Young, it occurred to me that if I don’t pen down these memories ASAP, I will soon have no recollection why I had just had the most incredible time at #SMX west.
So here I am.
I will go ahead and cut to the chase and give my TL;DR right now. If you walk away with one lesson from this post, its that I had an absolutely incredible time at #SMX West and if you didn’t go, you totally missed out and should seriously consider going next year I am not trying to make you feel bad, but I hope that by me writting this post, you might read it, realize that I had a seriously awesome time, and maybe decide to go yourself next year!
So why was SMX so great? Let me explain
The Personal Opportunity
I had the opportunity to speak on a panel with Elisabeth Osmeloski, Tami Dalley (my absolute favorite Aussie), and Dan Robbins. That in and of itself was cool. There I presented about building buzz on Facebook and showed some of the cool research and tests I had done.
As well I also debuted a neat little open graph bookmarklet I collaborated on with Mike King on. On top of all that, Tami and I spoke about future collaboration on some future research projects. So stay tuned for that
The presentations were great and I won’t give a re-cap of them all (lots of live blogging on that, and I dont want this to get too technical) but a few notables were when Bryson Meunier totally schooled Aaron Wall with his methodical approach on why Google does NOT favor brands. Hearing Mike King, Bill Hunt and Hamid Saify had me walk away thinking, all I want to do is make some of those “Oh Sh*t, that’s cool” SEO moments. Erin Everhart, my conference buddy, totally killed it at the ‘link building clinic’ and I understand (although I missed it because it was during my session) that Ted Ives nailed it in ‘Advanced Keyword Research Tactics’ (awaiting the re-cap, Ted). And how could I forget Analytics for Social Media where Greg Finn, Monique Pouget, Courtney Seiter, Merry Morud, and Tami gave some awesome strategy shifting advice.
The sessions were thought provoking, I picked up some awesome tools, and I know I left better and smarter because of them. What more is there to say!
Networking and The After Sessions
Oh, that’s right. The networking. I love networking, especially with really smart and talented people which is exactly they type of people I met at SMX. And networking at SMX is always easy since the people are real friendly. Unfortunately for me on the first night, I was completely ’zonked out’ from traveling. I figured it was probably not the best idea to do any heavy drinking the night before I was going to speak. So Akvile and I decided to be #teamlameO and both get early nights.
But that didnt stop me the other nights
I chatted with AJ Kohn about running a business. Unreal insights from him! Hung out with Barry Schwartz and Steve Boymel over some terrific Kosher food. I met learned a ton from Casie Gillete, and in a moment of inspiration we committed to going to Pub Con together (see you there, Casie). Jen Lopez is awesome so if you don’t know her, big mistake! I hung out with Monica Wright, Viginia Nussey, had a chance to talk with Duane Forrester about my article on entity search and social media and I’m hoping to talk more about it with him as this continues to evolve. Marty Weintraub is the man, for sure. And how could I forget talking Galaxy Nexus with Danny Sullivan (I await your article on those improvements).
There was an awesome party sponsored by Covario, which turned into #searchharddancehard. Perhaps some things are better not spoken about, but it was lots of fun!
But what I do know is that I am inspired, motivated and excited to take on the next project and putting into practice all the great things I learned. I also know that keeping in touch with all the talented people I now know, and continuing to go to conferences like SMX, I will be one step closer to figuring it all out.
So like I started this post, if you didn’t make it to SMX West this year, you might want to re-consider for next year.
Oh, and One Final (and REALLY Important) Thing
I want to give a special shout out to all the folks at Third Door Media that I met (and didn’t meet) who I KNOW worked incredibly hard to make the conference the gigantic success it was. Thank you to Claire Schoen, Emily Breeze (who I bumped into everywhere), Kendra Jaros, Michelle Robbins, Karen DeWeese, Lillian Potter, Chris Elwell, Zane, and the one and only Akvile Harlow. Look forward to seeing you all soon!
Until Next time…