In just four weeks I’ll be in Houston attending the most conceptually unique search engine marketing conferences of the year, Small Business Marketing Unleashed. But before I get to that I thought I’d provide a brief recap of Search Engine Strategies: New York.
I’ve been to New York once when I was in my late teens, visiting my sister on a military base in Buffalo. That was the closest I ever got to the Big Apple, until last week.
I flew into the city on a red-eye flight. My first flight was from Reno to San Jose. With barely 30 people on board there was plenty of room, yet I just happen to sit in front of Seaty McSeat Kicker.
Once in San Jose I had enough time (barely) to hop a bus to the Jet Blue terminal and load up. This flight was a bit more cramped, but at least I had the I’m-not-gay seat between me and the next guy in my row. (The I’m-not-gay seat is the empty seat between two friends at the movie theater. Without that seat between them they might look… well, gay.)
It was a four and a half hour flight, arriving in NYC at 6:30 am or so (3:30 my time). I grabbed a shuttle and had the most traumatic life experience ever… New York Traffic! The motion sickness pill had worn off and for an hour we alternated back and forth between 30mph and stopped, every five seconds.
My first stop was the Hilton where I unwound in the speakers room for a few, then headed to the “Converting Visitors Into Buyers.” I so wanted to hear the speakers but unfortunately I only awoke to see each presenter wrap up. Realizing that attending sessions was not going to work for me I walked to my hotel for an early check in.
I only had the driving directions to my hotel, and with New York’s one-way streets I ended up walking about four extra blocks. The walk to my hotel (once I found the shorter route) was pretty much a straight shot down Broadway. Now I hate having to walk (anywhere), but if there was any street in the world that I should be forced to walk back and forth, Broadway would be it. I enjoyed every bit of it (well, maybe not the rain part!)
After few hours nap I met up with Jennifer Laycock and a group of about 15 others for dinner (thanks Robert!). We had a great time and I met some new faces.
The next day was my day. I attended a couple of sessions and then skipped the afternoon keynote. I’m down in the speakers room awaiting my 15 minutes of fame, having a pleasant conversation with Debra Mastaler and in comes Jennifer. We’re chatting and she asks me how much longer I’d be sticking around. Well, at least for the next hour and a half, seeing as I was due to be on a panel with her in fifteen minutes! I let that one pass (I made up for it later 🙂 )
The session was Small Business Blitz. I was up first, then Jennifer, followed by Matt McGee. Each of us were to provide some quick (and cheap) ways to do marketing, for the small business on a budget. I think it went fantastically, but I’d love to hear feedback from any attendees. If you’re reading this, please provide your comments and constructive criticism.
That night we hung out with a smaller group eating dinner at Junior’s. The food was good and the cheesecake was fantastic. There are only two kinds of cake that I eat; carrot cake and cheesecake. That’s it. Would you believe that Junior’s has a carrot cake cheesecake? That was easily it was the best food that’s ever been in my mouth. (You’ll have to read Jennifer’s twitter for my actual comment.)
The next day at the conference was a bit light, but the sessions were great. I attended Usability & SEO, and Beyond Linkbait, both providing valuable information. After a late lunch/early dinner with Jennifer, Rachael Phillips (my new secret crush (sorry Jennifer, she gave me a looooong hug!)) and Chris Allen of Hybrid 6, I had to head off back to the airport.
The trip back was dreadful. The four and a half hour flight to New York was a breeze compared to the seven hour flight home. The jet was packed 100% full and I had the luxury of getting a middle seat. The. Worst. Seat. Ever. Especially when you can’t lean into someone you know!
I was glad to be back, and even happier that I went. This was my first SES that wasn’t San Jose and the experience of being in New York, not to mention the conference info, was incredible. I’d do it again should I be invited. And, of course, if you think I should be invited, just let the powers-that-be know it!
Prepping for Houston
As much as I enjoyed SES:NY I’m fully prepared to enjoy Houston even more. This will be a conference like no other. Small Business Marketing Unleashed is doing things a bit different. Most conferences cater to big businesses and SEO agencies. At best, they provide only a few snippets of info valuable to the little guy struggling to succeed in an ocean of big-budget competition. Unleashed is geared specifically for the small business.
But that’s not the only thing that makes Unleashed a must-attend conference for the small business owner. Instead of sitting in a session with three, four and sometimes five different speakers, you get one expert for a full hour to hour and a half.
Cramming a butt-load of information into a 15-20 minute presentation can be difficult. Each speaker has to decide what information to leave out, giving the attendees only part of the picture.
At Unleashed, you don’t have to worry about what part of each presentation you’re missing out on. Nor do you have to sit patiently through one or two less than stellar presentations to hear the speaker that you really came to learn from. Unleashed gives you the best speakers and allows them to deliver a complete presentation on their topic. It doesn’t get any better than that.
I’ll leave you with the video promo put together by our good friends at Search Engine Guide: