I go to conferences, eat the dry sandwiches, sleep in the hotel room and then head home.
Usually, it’s a wash – I learn a thing or two, bounce around outside the circles of the ‘in’ people like the smallest puppy in the litter, and that’s it.
This year, though I went to my first PubCon. And it was fantastic! Here’s why:
- I didn’t attend a single session that was a 50-minute sales pitch. That’s a first.
- Not one speaker I heard said something that set my teeth on edge: No recommendations like “Optimize your keywords meta tag” or “You’ll rank #1 when you get 35 links”.
- I learned. A lot. I’m not being conceited – my withered, limp ego can’t really handle it – but after 15 or so years, I don’t expect to learn in every single session I attend. It’s enough to hang out with people who’re super-smart. This time I was taking notes. Fast. Frantically, even. Maybe I just picked good sessions, dunno.
- I met people. People I’ve known for years but never met in person. People I’ve harassed via Twitter. For some reason, it was just easier to walk up to Lee Odden and be intercepted by Joanna Lord, or share a table in the speaker’s room with Bruce Clay than at other events.
- A great panel. I was on a panel with Heather Lloyd-Martin, Elisabeth Osmeloski, Gillian Muessig and Allison Driscoll. That was pretty darned cool, plus the audience asked great questions.
- I suck at Search Spam. SEOMOZ had their Search Spam party. I was like the ICBM of good will, trying to spot the black hats and mowing down white hats in the process. I have to redeem myself next year.
- I didn’t get to meet a host of other people, like Streko and Rhea and such.
So, PubCon gets a definite thumbs-up from me. I’ll see you there next year.
Note: Blogworld was undoubtedly awesome, too. But I was too sick to do more than crawl downstairs for my speaking gig. So don’t make any assumptions about the conference’s value.