I had a “Looney Tunes” start to my trip to Los Angeles for BlogWorldExpo-LA (#BWELA).The zipper broke on my suitcase resulting in me packing a smaller bag leaving behind items I needed (and bringing things I didn’t).
I missed my “crack of dawn” flight on Wednesday as a result of being very tired (after the repacking escapade, I didn’t get to bed until after midnight) and setting the clock for 3:00 PM instead of 3:00 AM. Huge props to the Mr for getting me to the airport in record time, even if I did miss my flight!
So many sessions, so little time
I have to say, there were just too many sessions for this first-time attendee. It was overwhelming. Many of the sessions I wanted to attend were held at the same time. It was a bit frustrating to know that I would miss sessions that I thought I should attend, but couldn’t.
I wish the tracks/sessions also had a “experience” level attached to them. While I consider myself an experienced “personal” blogger, I am still learning the in’s and out’s when it comes to business blogging. I admit, some of the sessions were too advanced for me…but I stuck it out. On a couple of occasions, I did “session hop,” and noticed they were sessions that had a panel structure. It seemed I was listening to various opinions about a topic, and not learning anything.
A few takeaways
- From Liz Strauss I heard “You need a vision to have a mission.” That made so much sense in its simplicity. Liz is a dynamic, soft-spoken speaker and it was thrilling to see and meet her in person.
- I learned there were great (free) Google SEO tools from Ric Dragon. Being new to the world of SEO (yes, really), his session was extraordinarily helpful to me, even if some of the information went over my head! I was particularly thrilled to meet Ric in person, as we have “known” each other for over a year via Twitter and had never met in person.
- Marcy Massura’s session on Community Management was awesome. Although she spoke a bit fast for me, her content was spot on. From Marcy I learned the definition of a Community Manager is really “Ring Master.” Her “Strategy Planning Execution Analyze and Kill” statement was one of the biggest takeaways for me. One of the coolest things — she remembered my whistle! Thank you Marcy!
- Darren Rowse aka @problogger spoke about being a passionate AND smart blogger. His comment “A brand is what people say about you, when you leave the room” spoke volumes. I’m so glad I was able to attend his session.
- I attended and participated in the live #Blogchat. There are no words to say what a fabulous hour that was. Mack Collier led a dynamic discussion that was different from the normal weekly twitter chat. How often do you get to sit in a room, ask questions and have feedback from folks like Mack Collier, Jason Falls, Judy Helfand, Michele Price, Tamsen McMahon, Mark Horvath, and Marcy Massura (among many others)? Priceless.
- I especially want to thank Jason Falls. His insightful feedback to my question about having a blogging “identity crisis” was beyond helpful, and validated that I don’t need to create multiple blogs for the topics I write about — I’ve been doing the right thing (for me) all along. What a gentleman he is.
- Aliza Sherman & Jill Foster’s Speaking session was something new for me. I am not a speaker and felt this session would be a huge help to me down the road. I had a couple of real aha moments in this session. I wish I had stayed for the second part.
Peter’s keynote “Rules for Surviving in the New World: It is not about Social Media” was awesome. He was funny (hilarious actually), animated, and right on point. I think I tweeted out more from his keynote than any other time that day. Here are a few of my takeaways:
- You don’t control the direction of your company, your customers do
- Learn to write — (this is HUGE)
- As much as you create good, you will screw up — own your screw ups
- My favorite: Be aware of what you do in public, your reputation is your fault.
Amber’s keynote was also brilliant. Her topic “We are Wayfarers: Owning the Seas of Change” was inspiring. She was dynamic, funny and engaging. Some of her key points:
- Wayfarers are instruments of potential (love this)
- Stagnation is death — if you’re constantly doing the same thing, you are going nowhere
- We need more audacity — you need to be brave and have a backbone.
Part two of this extended post covers people I met and the Expo. The Expo was so much more than t-shirts and bags for this first-timer.
Speaking of firsts, one of the things I had to leave behind when I downsized luggage were my tennis shoes. Lucky for me, Macy’s was literally attached to the Sheraton and I purchased these. My first pair of Converse All Stars, ever!