More than just an informative conference, more than just a schmooze and booze, the SES conference has become one of the paramount marketing and big business conferences. My experience at this conference was just short of amazing. I learned a few great marketing ideas, met a few great people, and drank a few (dozen) great gray goose and cranberry drinks (most of which where comped, thanks everybody!). The best part about it however, is that I met some great new people, some peers, and some I consider mentors in a sense.
The first and possibly coolest character I met all week, the DANIMAL (lol), had about a half dozen SEO and marketing gems. For his kindness, I decided to bring him along with me all week and let him get get in on some of the schmooze action that comes with being a large advertiser…. which basically means I let my vendors buy him drinks and good eats too :-)
Too bad this guy later ended up being the guy who violated me in a sumo suit (pics to come soon and more on that later… soooo funny).
In a quick elevator mugging, I spoke with the godfather of link building strategies, Eric Ward. I think I scared the crap out of him because I was like the raging drunken frat boy calling him the Larry Bird of link marketing. He responded kindly by giving me a few golden SEO tips that I had not yet thought of. If they pan out, I am sending the guy a check for the free consulting. I love how cool people are so open with the good ideas and advice and I think people deserve rewards for that kind of kindness.
In the past I worked with Morgan Carey, the infamous SEO Guy, as his web designer. It was neat to see how much success he has achieved in real estate web design. It was especially rewarding to finally sit down with the guy and have a few drinks and laughs. We had worked together years ago, and our meeting was really long overdue.
Another cool encounter was when I got a chance to speak to Aaron Wall, the SEO Rockstar author of the SEO Book. I found out he was building some sites in my vertical (student loans) so I was especially interested in his new ventures. It would be great if we had the chance to work together in the future, since I have seen his work and I know he one of the most capable SEO gurus.
I sat on a few sessions- I always love hearing Rand from SEOmoz and a few other key players speak. Some of them really know their stuff for sure. I also sat on a session with Chris Pirillo, the first Chris on Google (I am so jealous). That guy is a funny character. I am still thinking of a non intrusive, non offensive, non whorish way to beg the guy for a link to my blog with the anchor text of “Chris Hooley” from his site. We have the same first name, it just oozes relevance :-)
Now to the point… PARTIES!! So much awesome.
Ask.com was good, but millionaires need to learn to use deodorant! I couldn’t stand too long in that pungent environment, even if the open bar was rocking. YPN! was ok, but it crashed by the time I got there and I ended up getting the scrap food. I was not invited to the Hitwise party, but those guys bought me mucho drinks pretty much all week so I let their slyness slide. Google Dance is always a ball- the dancing robots where pretty funny… but the one party that MOST rocked was easily the WebMasterRadio.fm Search Bash! Those guys always throw the rockingest parties! They had open bar, girls dancing on poles, sumo suit fights (one of which I was involved in) and some of my favorite people in the industry hanging out… David Wallace from SearchRank, Liana Evans, Wendy and Jillian from Kanoodle, SEO Guy and his crew, Dan, my co-worker Rob, my new friend Justin from Karcher Media, and all kinds of other awesome peoples. All in all it was a BLAST!
I can’t wait for the next conference. I love this stuff!