I plan to write a few more detailed posts on my experience at BlogWorld this past weekend but I wanted to start the first post off with a general overview. The trip in general, the parties, the sessions, some of the vendors who were present in the exhibit hall and some people I met.
On Thursday morning, I woke up around 5:45a and finished packing. I hopped a cab to the Blue Line and took the train to O'hare. Arrived at my gate in plenty of time, got on board my United Flight and ordered a Bloody Mary. And then two more before I fell asleep (or passed out) for a few hours.
Upon arrival in Las Vegas, I checked into the MGM Grand, dropped off my bags and headed to the convention center to pick up my credentials. At the convention center, I saw a friendly face, or two, said some "hellos" and ducked into a session.
That night there was a party at The Bank, a nightclub in the Bellagio. I got there early and was able to make a few connections, meet some new people, say hello to some Twitter friends who I met in "real life" for the first time. The event was good but when it opened to the public, the room got really loud and crowded. At this point in the evening, we searched for a place to have dinner.
We ended up at Circo in the Bellagio for dinner. Our first course was great but our entrees sucked almost as badly as our server did. To top it off, we were seating next to two tables of very loud, Mexican dudes who felt that it was OK to stand up and walk around the restaurant making all the other diners uncomfortable. Apparently, they were spending enough $$$ to keep the staff from ignoring everyone in the restaurant with the exception of their tables (there were about 10 or 12 of them). The Mexican dudes picked up the check for the table next to us, however, we did not have such luck.
Friday Morning. I headed down to the exhibit hall, I missed the first Keynote with Richard Jalichandra (which I regret because I really wanted to hear the dude from Technorati speak). But I did catch the last half of the second keynote that morning and I did get a chance to spend a good amount of time on the exhibit floor and meet some vendors. Here is a short list of the exhibitors I met:
- Brown Paper Tickets Ticket service (like eventbrite) but also great for "online media" folks, you can write reviews for free tickets
- blogcatalog a tool that helps you gain exposure for your blog
- Associated Content where you can get paid for content
- Demand Studios they also pay for content I believe
- Lijit makes all your content searchable in one place through a widget or wijit (look to right for mine)
- regator I am still figuring it out
- My PR Genie a nice PR tool for small businesses
As long as I am going through blanket overviews, I may as well touch upon the sessions that I attended on Friday and Saturday. I tried to attend as many as I could and many I wanted to attend overlapped with each other. It was difficult to determine which would be best. I will write about each one but for now, my short list:
- Making Money on Your Blog
- Affiliate Marketing
- The New Celebrity with Jermaine Dupris, Anthony Edwards and 2 other people who were not really celebrities.
- How to Build Social Media Buzz
- How to Build Readership for Your Blog
- No Such Thing as a Free Trip (for travel bloggers)
I also got to meet a couple of "internet celebrities" - including Chris Brogan and more importantly Chad Vader!
The closing keynote on Saturday night was tremendous fun. Guy Kawasaki hosted a "talk show" style event where he interviewed Kevin Pollak, Chad Vader and Jenny The Blogess.
Saturday night, before the after party, we went to Craftsteak for dinner and "Larry Las Vegas" was our server/bartender. On a scale of 1 to....actually, there is NO scale by which to judge Larry. Larry was the best bartender/server I have ever had....in my life! He knew the wine list up and down, the menu even better. He was kind, helpful, did not upsell and truly had a passion for food and wine. He made our experience exponentially better. Larry is exactly the type of server/bartender that I am looking for in a dining experience. I like my hand to be held and Larry held my hand all through dinner (figuratively speaking).
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