BlogWorld 2010: Greatest Time EVER! (Recap)
Before we dive into everything, let me share a funny story with you...
So, on the flight home the 19th, it was my goal to at least get this post started. Had little sleep, was uber early in the morning, you know, all the stuff you'd expect. As I was in the middle of writing it on my iPod Touch 4G, something wet hit me that went all down my left leg. I was dreaming I was writing the post and woke up as I was spilling part of the diet Coke I had, down my leg.
Guess 6 days in Las Vegas will do that to somebody. Anyways, this post is more of a blurb of my favorite talks, some shout outs, and quick thanks'. In fact, there's so much stuff to process that I know I'll be leaving some people out so I really apologize if I do.
If we met and I left you out, feel free to say mean things about me in the comments below, and on Twitter via @MikeStenger.
Opening day was really a blast. Scott Stratten really kicked everything off to be an awesome day. In fact, you can watch his hilarious keynote here. I met Scott the night before at the PreBlogWorld tweetup and briefly during BlogWorld and he really is one of the few that is the same online, as off.
After the opening keynote, attended the talk Jay Baer and Amber Naslund did on 7 blueprints for business at the speed of now. It was one of my favorite talks, and everyone was fortunate to get an advanced copy of their new book, The Now Revolution: 7 Shifts To Make Your Business Faster, Smarter, And More Social.
Will definitely read it ASAP and get a review up here for you eventually.
They both have been people I've respected for a long time, and always wanted to attend one of Jay's talks. Was very cool to chat with him for about 10 minutes the night before and if you ever get a chance, definitely get his business card. Coolest thing ever...
Another favorite of mine was the talk by Darren Rowse on building community on your blog. He shared some solid tips, sure, some that we already know, but shared some other things that really got me thinking of newer and better ways of engaging my own audience, and building a more robust community.
Side note on Darren: One of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. He took the time to chat with his own fans and even threw a ProBlogger Suite Party at Mandalay Bay, Sunday night, the day after BlogWorld ended, for all those who were still in town. It was great chatting and was very generous of him to do something so awesome. Not to mention, the view from the 60th floor was phenomenal!
Thursday night, Izea threw a party at Hofbrauhaus (yeah, it's a mouthful) that you had to RSVP ahead of time, and was limited to only 50 people. Being that it was Izea who I won a full access pass from, and because I've wanted to meet for so long, definitely made sure to attend. It was so cool seeing a team so focused on having fun, while at the same time, really getting work done.
And I think that's one of the many great lessons learned at BlogWorld that I'll be sharing over the next several posts: Having a good work/life balance is crucial to success. Those of us who attended, not only had a blast and loads of fun, but are more focused to get work done and bust some ass, at least that's how I am and sure others are as well.
Ted Murphy, the CEO of Izea, really is a fantastic guy. While there, he sat in a kiddie pool at the Izea booth (no joke), and got milk and cereal dumped on him for a fee. Was a great cause and all the money went to the Las Vegas Food Pantry. Here's a short video of it below:
After the great dinner with Izea, we headed on over to the pool party at Liquid which was at Aria Resort & Casino. Talk about amazing...met tons of people and really wish I could list them all here. A couple off the top of my head:
@CouchSurfingOri - Ori and I go way back. We've known each other online for a good two years thanks to a connection from @katebuckjr. A great photographer, super intelligent in business, marketing, personal development and more, and all around amazing guy. In fact, he's the one who shot the new profile pic that you can find on my personal Facebook profile at http://www.facebook.com/mikestenger.
@nhangen - Nathan Hangen is someone who I've highly respected, ever since hearing about him from the hilarious @NotAProBlog, Jordan Cooper. He's a successful blogger and entrepreneur, and first got his start making money online from Iraq, yes Iraq, while stationed there as a soldier for the US Army.
While people were going about their daily lives here, he was not only fighting the war going on overseas, but making the time to work a business on the side. As you can tell, very inspiring story and a great human being overall. Was great talking to Nathan and getting to know more about him.
@olegmokhov - Although Oleg doesn't use Twitter much and more of a place to just share links to content, he's probably one of the coolest geeky/nerd types I've met. He's super into music, actually Life Beat is a JV between him and Nathan Hangen. And who would of thought...he can beatbox too!
@corecorina - Talk about a cool chick. Corina and I have some of the same interests as far as what we do, but one thing we definitely don't have in common is looks, that's for sure. Easily one of the best dressed and best looking of the event :-)
@jennalanger, @ryangeist - They're behind the phenomenal team at LiveFyre, the commenting system that's used on this blog. I was so fortunate to be able to spend A LOT of time with them during the last 2 days of BlogWorld, talking with them, as well as Jordan Kretch, the CEO. Should be a video interview up here soon that they did of me.
And like I said before and I'll say it again, Disqus doesn't have anything on LiveFyre and I firmly believe 110% they have the best commenting system. Jordan was even generous enough to show me some ninja upcoming features and they're about to flip the commenting world on it's head.
All I'll give away at this point is funneling new conversations into your post's commenting section, from across the social web.
Very exciting stuff and HIGHLY recommend you visit LiveFyre.com to request a beta invite.
Once you do, shoot me an email or @reply on Twitter, and I'll make sure to get you hooked up ASAP. (DISCLAIMER: I am in no way compensated for leaving this review, nor am I a paid employee or advisor of LiveFyre. Just an avid fan who firmly believes in the product.)
@SMReach - The guys behind Social Media Reach are really cool. Got a great picture with them and thanks to them as well for winning an 8GB iPod Touch which will be given away here soon on the blog, so keep your eyes peeled!
@irishpolyglot - Benny is a funny ass Irish dude. He knows 11 languages, which 8 he can speak fluently. If you ever see him in public, walking around with his hat and ski glasses on top, don't even think about saying something bad about him in another language. Chances are, he'll pick it up.
So Friday comes along after the awesome party the night before at Liquid, and in all honesty, didn't spend much time in talks as I did in the exhibit hall, talking with friends I didn't get to see the day before, and some of the many exhibitors. It was surprising to see that it really wasn't jam packed full of a ton of exhibitors, but that made it easier to talk with more at the same time which actually worked out better.
Beforehand, even though I was running on about 3 hours sleep, made sure to attend the Social Media Examiner breakfast at MORE buffet, inside Luxor where I was staying.
Was awesome being able to talk one-on-one with Mike Stelzner, the man behind SM Examiner, and also sit right next to him and chat over breakfast. Mike is an extremely intelligent guy and glad to of met and talked. Another person I got to meet later in the day, and briefly at the breakfast, was Mari Smith.
She was extremely nice and in a very natural kind of way, not that anyone would think otherwise. If there's some things to know about her, it's that she's all about turquoise, has some cool blue pens, and tasty blue M&M's. Oh, and she knows a thing or two about Social Media and relationship marketing.
Finally got to meet the lovely Erin Ryan, who I got to know through doing a show with Social Blade, thanks to my friend Jeff Cryder. She's Canadian so we'll cut her some slack, but it's always awesome meeting those you've known online for some time, in real life.
There were many exhibitors there that I enjoyed talking with, mostly Izea, UrThots, OpenSky and the Founder John Caplan, RackSpace briefly as they tried to get me to switch over from HostGator (props guys!), one of the founders of Plixi (formerly Tweetphoto) who had @KenMoorhead and I cracking up, the Ford booth and speaking with Scott Monty, and many more.
Got to meet Ken who I just mentioned above before I walked around on the floor, and we shared quite a few laughs over the next several days.
Of the two talks attended that day, myself and others got a kick out of Scott Hanselman's, "32 Ways To Make Your Blog Suck Less". Easily one of the best talks of BlogWorld! Straight to the point with solid tips, tactics, strategies, and laugh out loud humor weaved throughout. You can find the actual slideshow he used here.
Another plus was that I got to meet @Nalts, a popular Youtuber who I've watched videos of for years! He was so cool and hate that I missed his book signing. Maybe next time Nalts, maybe next time...
That night, myself, @BlogLuvr29, @nickelnm, and others got to attend Omaha Steaks' BlogWorld tasting held at the House of Blues. We were on the top floor and out on the patio which overlooked Las Vegas and part of the strip. It's one of the many experiences that made the trip and we're all extremely fortunate and thankful to have the opportunity, as well as the amazing tasting food Omaha Steaks is known for.
No way one could NOT shoot a video of the view, so there's that below:
Saturday, the last day of BlogWorld, had me a little sad as everything seemed to go by so fast. Not to worry though...still many great discussions and interactions with people!
Darren Rowse of problogger.net, Brian Clark of CopyBlogger.com, and Sonia Simone of remarkable-communication.com, kicked off the morning with a great talk on The 7 Harsh Realities of Blogging For Bucks. You can watch their talk here which starts at about 32 minutes in.
After that, it was on to my good friend Jordan Cooper, who was the moderator of the panel, "Treating Your Blog Like A Business", with Nathan Hangen, David Risley, and Lisa Morosky. They rocked it and really gave back by helping answer as many questions as possible. Definitely one of the better talks of BlogWorld and Jordan did an awesome job keeping everything going.
I mean, he has been a Stand-Up Comedian for 15 years after all...
Then, it was on to another talk, until I got interrupted by one of the lovely and beautiful girls from OpenSky. She explained what their talk was about and how BlogWorld forgot to add them to the schedule (ouch!) so their talk was virtually unknown. Let's just say she convinced me to attend the talk, and glad I did because John Caplan, the founder, really shared some great information.
And me attending had nothing to do with her kissing me on the cheek, I swear. Okay, maybe a little.
After some more touring around the exhibit hall, it was off to the panel, "5 Strategies Bloggers Should Learn From Online Marketers". Was surprised as I didn't even know Scott Stratten was one of the panel. To be honest, I told Scott before we walked in, "You look like you're out of it" not thinking, which probably wasn't the nicest thing to say, but hey, he ended up doing an awesome job, as did the other speakers.
He's replied back on Twitter since then so I guess I'm not added to his douchebag list. Do I get like a Google Alert or something when that happens?
Anyways, after all the amazing stuff at BlogWorld, had to miss the closing keynote to grab a late lunch, then off to see The Beatles LOVE at the Mirage with James Johnson, Duncan Riley, and Daniel Evon. Super thanks to James and his team for letting me tag along with them. If it wasn't for that, I would have missed a phenomenal, indescribable show.
Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the short review I wrote on the plane ride home that was going to be up on my Posterous, but in a nutshell, I've never, EVER seen a show or any performance for that matter, so amazing.
It shouldn't even be called a show, but a phenomenal explosion of f*cking epicness.
It really was that good, an absolute overload of the senses. After seeing it, I easily believe that your trip to Las Vegas is not complete until you see it at least once. Also, LOVE is one of the shows that you can see several times and never get tired of it. Simply fantastic and thanks again to James for hooking me up.
Once The Beatles LOVE was over, we all headed over to TechKaraoke which was an absolute blast! Here's a few videos I shot while there:
In a nutshell and as you can most likely tell, BlogWorld was amazing. I can't thank Izea enough for hooking me up with a Full Access Pass, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to afford the airfare and hotel stay.
What are you thinking!? It's Las freakin' Vegas and amazing people are all around! Sunday morning, met up with @KenMoorhead, @katebuckjr, @CouchSurfingOri, @ScribeDevil, and @NotAProBlog for a great breakfast at Pyramid Cafe inside of Luxor.
Funny side note: That was 1 of the 3 times in total that I ate there in a 12 hour period. First at 3:30AM before I went to bed thanks to a tweet by @RubenOrozco (was very generous of @EmilyQuestions to pick up the tab, even though she didn't have to), there for the breakfast mentioned above, then later for Lunch with several friends.
By the way, Luxor has some great restaurants. At the 3 I ate (Pyramid Cafe, Backstage Deli, Tacos & Tequila) they all had awesome food and service. Tacos & Tequila was a little slow in getting our order in, but they were pretty busy so it was perfectly understandable.
After that, @Allison_Boyer, @LucyEvolved, myself, and others, went to Starbucks over in Mandalay Bay with Jordan Cooper, to hang out. There we got to meet, by far, one of the funniest people I've EVER met: Chris Ducker. To not take up too much time about him, he had us laughing so much that our faces hurt! If you ever meet Chris, definitely listen to some of his crazy stories, as well as asking him for his Tony Soprano accent :-)
We spent a good time there, went for a quick dinner, then it was off to Darren Rowse's party he threw in a Mandalay Bay suite, the one that I mentioned before in this post. These smaller events are great because it's much easier to interact with who you want to, and better hear what each other is saying, versus the crazy loud parties that we had quite a few of.
Monday, my last day, spent some more time hanging out with Chris Ducker (truly amazing human being) and as coincidence would have it, he had his tour of Zappos scheduled at the same time! While there at Zappos, we really got amazing insight into the company and great knowledge to take home and implement into our own businesses.
It's phenomenal to see a company focused so much on culture and taking care of employees and customers, while also absolutely KILLING it at the same time. Was very surprised that they shared a big white board where they list a bunch of stats such as calls, average wait time, length, even sales stats and quarterly goals, plus a lot more.
I won't share too much as I don't think I should, not because they said anything, but for example, October 17th, the day before our tour, they had almost 3500 calls with an average wait time of 13 seconds (WOO!), and had around $1.2 million in sales with the average order size of $140.65.
If you're ever able to take a tour of Zappos, definitely do so and make sure to take the Tour Plus as the 30 minutes of Q&A afterwards is easily worth the $47 price tag, let alone the tour itself. Not to mention, they have a shuttle that will pick you up and bring you back.
Can't remember who it was but for example, they picked someone up literally AT the airport, took them to do their tour, then dropped them off afterwards at their hotel to check-in. Now THAT'S service and Zappos is truly a company that cares. Of all the times I've called customer service regarding just quick questions I needed answers to, I was helped above and beyond the call of duty.
Also, after the tour was over, we got a free copy of their culture book and Delivering Happiness, which I'll be giving away a copy of here soon!
Oh, and Zappos knows how to have fun, as witnessed in the video below (the bald guy with glasses was our awesome tour guide):
All in all, BlogWorld 2010 was an amazing time and one of the best experiences I've ever had in my life. Over the next several posts, I'll be sharing and continuing on some ideas, tips, tactics, etc., that I learned over the course of my stay, and hope to continue giving you great value and really seeing you a part of the community.
If there's anything I can do for you, please let me know. You can click "Contact" up above, shoot me an @reply on Twitter, even give me a call if need be.
-And last but definitely not least, muchas gracias to Delta and Luxor for air and hotel stay. It was my first time flying with Delta and was very surprised at the level of service, as well as the flights. We were on time everywhere and even ahead of schedule on some flights. Luxor was an amazing stay and was even fortunate enough to meet Danielle Consiglio who runs the interactive marketing for Luxor & Exacalibur.
The room was fantastic (video of the view here taken on my Blackberry) and had zero problems while I was there. Definitely can recommend them to anyone going to Las Vegas, although I stayed in the West Tower and not the Pyramid so I can't say 100%.
Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, nor compensated for travel from either Luxor nor Delta. If anyone from Delta or Luxor is reading this however, how about hooking me up for next year, eh? You sure as heck won't be disappointed with my promotion, guaranteed.
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