The reason for the delay is two-fold. First, there was no shortage of businesses cards in the front right pocket of my pants (that's where I stick the cards of people that I'll actually do business with). I had dozens of people that I promised I'd follow up with as soon as I got back into the office and I always remain true to my word.
Second, I've not been able to work the long hours that I'm used to because I'm just plain old exhausted from overdoing it in Austin. (SXSW should come with a warning label for first-timers like me.)
So let's start with PubCon… I really liked the feel of this event. By design, it was different than their previous shows. This regional conference afforded attendees the ability to not only learn from great speakers on relevant topics, but because of its size, granted numerous networking opportunities.
The morning agenda opened up with a keynote from Matt Cutts, of Google. His “big announcement” was about Friend Connect and the associated plugins for WP, Drupal and PhbBB that make it possible for blog commenters to use their Google and Yahoo accounts as identification when leaving comments on blogs. It drew a lot of ooh's and ahh's from the crowd but I don't see me running out to add it to my blog any time soon because anything “Beta” usually gets me all aggro.
I also attended Brian Clark of CopyBlogger.com's Session, “Top Ten Techniques For Writing Headlines That Rock!”, which did not disappoint.
After my panel, I headed off for some Tex-Mex and the first of my many fish tacos that I would eat in Austin. (Note: Austin is not a fishaterian-friendly city).
Got back in time for Super Session: Social Media and Business. Featured panelists Reem Rabeidoh, Chris Brogan, Lee Odden and Wayne Sutton offered up some great insights without having to bank on the “T-word“.
The day ended with a Networking Cocktail Reception where I got to meet a bunch of folks that I'd wind up spending a good deal of time with during SXSW.
The following day I ventured over to SXSW to pick up my credentials. All I can say was that I was so happy that this conference was not mine. The line of folks waiting to pick up their badges was over an hour long. Like a good sheep, I stood in queue and used the time to negotiate with my hangover from the night before.
After asking eleven SXSW volunteer staff members where the TechSet Blogger Lounge was, I finally found it. It is my belief that both the long lines and the inability of staff to answer questions was meant to weed out the faint-hearted from the folks that really did want to be at the conference. Luckily for me, I love a good challenge.
I spent the next few days in the Blogger Lounge and successfully managed to avoid every session. After all, I didn't attend SXSW for the panels, I went there for the people, and the Blogger Lounge was THE place to be to connect with the people I wanted to meet.
My takeaways from SXSW: (previously discussed on my podcast, TheSpew)
1) SXSW is about “Brand Moi” – delegates attend the show to get their brand out in front of their peers, clients and potential customers. There was no shortage of folks ready to pose for pictures and videos, give interviews or do handstands for attention (myself included).
2) There is no recession in Social Media. Between the conversations I had with other attendees (and the tidbits of information that I overheard), big brands have cash, they want in on the social media game and they have no problems throwing that cash at the folks sitting next to me in the TechSet Blogger's lounge.
3) Double Patron and OJ will get you every time.
Here are some pictures from both shows