Blogworld! Vegas! Sexy Geeks! Much More Than Just A Conference
So Blogworld. If you've ever wanted to hang out with 3,000 bloggers and talk about, well, blogging then Blogworld is the place to be. In its second year, Blogworld brings together everyone from Robert Scoble to, well, people you've never heard of in Las Vegas each year to pontificate about how blogs and all that blogs have spawned effect, well (again), everything.
In his keynote address Friday, Wine Library's Gary Vaynerchuk took a"just do it" approach to explaining what it takes to launch a successful business through the use of blogs and social media. Basically, his mantra was "become the expert" and "own the space." Identify every known blogger in your intended space, make contact with them, comment on their blog, comment on those who comment on your own blog, answer every single email, join Twitter and make contact with everyone related to what your business does.
Gary was making thousands as a kid selling lemonade and baseball cards. His point was that if there's a topic or space in which you are an expert, own it. Dominate it. Participate in it. Make sure you are the first person everyone thinks about when your area of expertise is mentioned. Become the "go to" person. While Gary certainly owns the wine space online, his incredible motivation, dedication and sheer drive to succeed is applicable to every aspect of life.
Overheard: "Do you have a blog?" Yes, that is a common phrase spoken during introductions here at Blogworld..
Friday night, Affiliate Summit's Shawn Collins and Missy Ward were kind enough to host a dinner for about 50 people at Wolfgang Puck's Chinois, an Asian fusion sort of place. The food was great and who doesn't love a few minutes to actually sit down to talk to people away from the distractions of a conference?
Following Affiliate Summit's dinner, every blogger in Vegas headed to Bare at Mirage for the Techset party hosted by Stephanie Agresta and Brian Solis.and sponsored by MediaTemple and others. Everyone was there. It was a great time but I'll let the pictures do the talking.
Saturday it was panels, panels and more panels. In one, Robert Scoble, Laura Fitton and Doc Searls talked about the power of Twitter and a news medium citing several examples during which Twitter played an important role in getting news out fast about events such as hurricanes and earthquakes.Other panels covered making blogs profitable ventures, how to create a compelling podcast, the role of blogging in PR, how widgets can add to a blog and much more.
That evening for dinner, Jay Berkowitz hosted a dinner for about 30 at Pampas Brazilian Grill at Planet Holloywood's Miracle Mile Shops. Those in attendance were Marketing DIVA Toby Bloomberg, Rohit Bhargava, author of Personality Not Included, SM guru Geoff Livingston, Steve Hall from AdRants, Micah Baldwin from Lijit, David Berkowitz from 360i, Shashi Belamkonda from Network Solutions, Debbie Galant of baristanet.com, Mike Tippett of NowPublic.com, Ruby Sinreich of Orange Politics, David Peck, Jon Adelman, Roxanne Darling from Beach Walks with Rox and Annette Tonti CEO of MoFuse .
I stayed for a few but opted, instead, to go have dinner with elasticpath's Linda Bustos and Grouse Mountain's Michelle Evans at Plant Hollywood's Planet Daily. I think I ordered the world biggest cheeseburger. The thing was huge! Biggest I've ever seen. The shocking part? I ate most of it. And it was good. After dinner, Linda, who somehow spilled a bunch of her makeup in her hotel room, ran off to buy some more somewhere in the huge Miracle Mile mall. We then headed over to Prive where Zappos was hosting a party. To say the party was crowded would be an understatement but that didn't stop the Revolution of Dance guy to get up on stage and do his thing. While he crowd loved it, some later commented its appeal was lost outside the confines of YouTube
Prive ended around 11 which led to a massive Twitterfest conversation about what to do next. Would it be the Karaoke bar? Would it be Yolos? Or would it be Revolution over at the Mirage? Clusterfuck would be a great word to describe the scene. Apparently Rubicon's Nicole Jordan got her way and convinced a few to head to Revolution where, as she tweeted, everyone danced their asses off...until at least 2:30AM.
Sunday brought more panels including my panel which focused on how to make money on blogs through direct ad sales. Moderated by Wendy Piersall, I was joined by David Peralty, Dave Taylor, Lynn Truong. Some of the points made in the panel where to pick up the phone and make that call to that advertiser you see on a a competing blog; don't assume banners are the only form of advertising you can sell - get inventive; make sure a blog's readership characteristics can be defined to a potential advertiser (use a readership survey to do so); make advertising information readily available on the blog (don't make anyone work to get it); create tailored advertising ideas specific to the neds of the advertiser.
Around 1:30, the exhibit hall filled with all attendees because, well, there was alcohol available and any time alcohol is available at a conference, it's like an army of kids chasing an ice cream truck down the street. The fresh baked chocolate chips and large containers of guacamole (see below) helped as well.
Maker's Mark brought its party bus to the convention hall floor and several people, including Ford's social media guru Scott Monty and Top Rank's Lee Odden, climbed atop the roof to hail, as if they were Roman royalty, their conference floor minions.
Mostly Lisa's Lisa Bethany, who liked (or maybe didn't like...because she said it was kinda strong) the drink got for her at the Techset party Friday night, was touring the exhibit hall floor wearing her own, personally branded t-shirt and offering them to friends.
Linda Bustos, who earlier snagged a pocketbook full of chocolates from the gooseGrade booth, hilariously attacked a giant bowl of guacamole while someone got it on video and I got it on camera. Check out Linda's work over at Shop.org and the elasticpath blog. It's good stuff.
At the end of the last panels, the conference hall had pretty much emptied out. A few remained in the lounge wondering what, if anything, might be going on at night after most had left to catch flights home. Close to being resigned to spending the entire night alone in my hotel room, likely watching some crappy movie or wallowing in post-conference sadness, Twitter, as it often does, came to the rescue. There was a group having dinner at the Hilton and another heading to one of the sports bars at MGM Grand where, apparently, Stephanie Agresta was making a killing. I opted for MGM Grand and, well, lets just sat the night turned out far more interesting than expected.
Once at MGM Grand, a group of us which we dubbed The Blogworld 23 including newly BFF'd Tessa Horehled and Sarah Townsend, visited no less than three bars inside the MGM Grand, a restaurant and an Irish bar across the street. Cigars were had, car bombs were consumed, iPods died (oh the horror!) and prime rib was eaten. Vegas-style adventures ensued.
And The Blogworld 23 weren't the only ones having fun Sunday night. Rubicon's Nicole Jordan, again, headed to Revolution with a crowd who lasted until about 2:30AM. Oh, and pictures. Yes, pictures were taken. Many, many pictures.
Biggest Blogword take away: Blogging is no longer reserved for geeks. An increasing number of people are realizing the platform - or whatever you choose to call it - is a viable means on which to build a very successful business. No longer are people bitching about whether or not a blog is a tone of voice or a publishing platform. No longer is Dave Winer trying to explain what RSS is. Noe. Blogging a full blown industry unto itself and upon which many have built successful business.
If you aren't already blogging, try it. You'll be surprised at what it brings you both personally and professionally.
Until next year, blog on, baby. Blog on.