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5 Things Learned While Working at BlogWorld ’10

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So. BlogWorld ’10 is over, and the Monday morning quarterbacking is about to begin. Attendees and speakers are posting their thoughts and takeaways and you can be sure we’re going to read them all. It’s important to know what we did right and wrong, in order to bring you the best event and best content next year.

With that said…

I thought I might share my own take aways. Working as Conference Director this year gave me an entirely different perspective, one that I’ve been sharing with you since I landed the gig.

Before I get into it, I want to tell you about a conversation I had with the lovely woman who volunteered  to sit outside the door of the ProBlogger track and scan badges. After she mentioned to me how “those nice looking boys from Australia were so popular!” she told me that she sits at seminar doorways for many events each year and this has been the nicest one she’s been to. She felt all attendees were well mannered and enthusiastic. She said that unlike other events, folks seemed to want to be there and weren’t just there because they had to for their jobs. She said the atmosphere was so positive and upbeat, it was infectious. So there you go, BlogWorld. You rock.

Five Things Learned While Working at BlogWorld

We Can’t Please Everyone, But We’re Going to Try Our Hardest

Let me preface this item by saying that even though there are times we can’t please everyone, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to. The BlogWorld team works hard to ensure everyone walks away with a positive experience, and if you don’t we want to know about it so we can make it right.

I’m going to get into the mistakes part in a little while, because I made a bunch of them, but this isn’t about mistakes…

I really didn’t know much about the world of event planning before accepting this gig. It’s fun, exciting, overwhelming, and, at times, stressful. Most people totally dig what we do and believe me when I tell you that BlogWorld ’10 was the most rewarding, validating thing I’ve ever experienced. Still, there are times when people don’t come away with a positive experience.  When people aren’t happy, sometimes the first response is to roll eyes or wonder why they’re so cranky – but I can tell you the folks who work for BlogWorld aren’t like that at all. They bend backwards to make things right for everyone.  Occasionally it’s not good enough but most of the time we do make things right and I’m happy to work for people who own up to errors and fix it to make sure this community is happy.

The thing is, most of you love what we do. Almost everyone wanted to help and I can’t tell you how many folks stopped me in the halls simply to say, “thank you.” So while there will always be a few people who may not like the way we run things, or prefer the old venue, or were unhappy with the WiFi, or wish we had free coffee in the hallways, (and we will work to make things right for the people who aren’t happy) the majority of you love BlogWorld and for that, we’re extremely touched and grateful.

Everyone Has Different Reasons for Attending BlogWorld

As the person who was tasked with making sure we had the best educational content ever, I was disappointed at first to see so many people hanging out in hallways (even though I always did this myself) instead of attending sessions. So I asked why they didn’t attend presentations. Some attendees felt the sessions were too basic, while others said they were there for networking over learning. Not everyone needs to sit in on the talks. Some people are there for the power lunches, or the trade show, or brainstorming sessions and that rocks too.

The Right Venue Makes a Big Difference

So. Mandalay Bay. Word on the street is that you all dug it. You liked the color, the vibe, and the close proximity to your hotel rooms. I personally think the location had a great deal to do with this year’s success – and I think you do too.

I Made A Lot of Mistakes … and That’s a Good Thing

See Item #1 above.

I stressed out a bit about mistakes because I don’t think there are any little mistakes in this situation. I worried about speakers falling through the cracks and sessions not getting on the schedule -and some of that stuff did happen for a variety of reasons. I’m not minimizing any of that as much as I’m letting you know I’m aware of it.

I didn’t always use the right wording when sending emails, friends didn’t appreciate a form letter approach, and I think a lot of things (that I did) could be handled differently. While there were a couple of items that did cause me to lose a bit of sleep, I realized that all of my mistakes are a very good thing. Now I know how to make things right next time around. I know how to handle things differently. I know which people appreciate my sense of humor, and those who don’t. I have an idea how to streamline the process for speakers so we don’t keep making (last minute) requests for bios or info. So, yes, I make mistakes. But every mistake I make, means fewer gaffes next time around.

Team Work Rocks!

BlogWorld is made up of an amazing team of people.

  • Rick Calvert and Dave Cynkin who I can’t thank enough for entrusting me with this important job. They put their hearts and souls into BlogWorld and it shows. They always had time for me and the rest of the team and never brush off concerns. I’m honored to work with you.
  • Patti Hoskings is our Director of Sales who puts so much time and passion into BlogWorld that she will always be an inspiration to me. She’s also an amazing friend and one of the unsung heroes of BlogWorld since the very beginning. Almost all of our vendors and sponsors are here because of Patti. She’s our mother hen, our role model, our sensible voice and a lot of fun to hang out with during down time.
  • Jennifer Holder is Rick Calvert’s assistant and one of the hardest working people on the team.We spent so many late nights on Skype working together over the past couple of weeks that I probably spent more time with Jen than my own family. She keeps Rick on track and even helps him to rock that huge vat of email he gets each day.
  • Nikki Katz is more than BlogWorld’s Editor in Chief, she’s also our marketing person and Dave’s right hand. If you didn’t see Nikki much at BlogWorld it was because she was in the office working very hard behind the scenes.
  • You may have spotted Allison (Alli) Boyer walking to various sessions with her laptop live blogging different sessions. Alli made sure those who couldn’t attend still experienced BlogWorld.

BlogWorld is a huge team effort. We had speakers and track leaders and PR people helping us. Without any of them, none of this would have happened. I’m not big into kumbayas and don’t want to turn this into a big old Oprah moment, but I will say this: It’s an honor and pleasure to be a part of this amazing team.

and a number 6 bonus takeaway…

Y’all are ugly on going home day

Bleary eyed with just out of the shower hair, not everyone is looking their best as they head to the airport. I hope that means you had a good time and you’re taking home some good content, connections and memories. Hope you’re getting your beauty rest now.

Did you learn anything at BlogWorld?  Let us know in the comments, on your blog or on our Facebook page. We’d love to check out  your big take aways.

Also, if you’d like to send more intense feedback, feel free to email me at deb(at)blogworldexpo(dot)com.

Feedback

9
  • Nathalie Lussier

    I thought you were going to sleep & rest today Deb! You definitely deserve the rest, it was an off the charts awesome conference!

    I think I managed to get in a good mix of attending sessions & learning, and hanging out in the hallways and socializing. It’s not always easy when there is so much awesome competing for our attention there.

    Probably it’s going to sound silly, but nap breaks would be a good addition to the schedule. 😉 Though not very practical from a planning & organizing all the speakers perspective.

    Can’t wait for next year!

  • Barry Birkett

    It was my first BlogWorld and I didn’t know quite what to expect. I have been to comparable events in other industries, including many that have large full time staffs to organize and run them, and BlogWorld was right there with the best — only more relaxed and more fun. Yes there were some bumps along the way but those events that seek perfection also seekm to suck out all the fun. I’m not sure I would want to pay the admission for an event that put enough in place to please everyone so I will grumble to myself about the tradeoffs that did not thrill me and tell you THANK YOU for putting on a great event! Oh, and when can I sign up for next year?

  • Nikki

    I completely agree on all the points, especially #1. We at BlogWorld strive so hard to work with everyone to get things perfect. And if something isn’t right the first time (which is bound to happen), we come up with solutions to fix it. It helps when people understand and work right along with us 🙂

    And we love you too Deb!! You did an amazing job with the speakers and schedule 🙂

  • Stan Dubin

    I was only able to attend Thursday and Friday but I learned a great deal. Left with quite a few actionable items. I also met a number of the A-List bloggers personally and it was nice to put the face (and the rest of the body) with the blog. When I grabbed Chris Garrett after one of his talks, I said my name is “Stan” and before I could get out my last name, he said, “Oh Stan Dubin. How are you? I see your comments on my blog.”

    Here is my short list of things I really appreciated:

    1) I liked having a TON of possible workshops to attend and

    2) Having the ability to get the rest of them now that it’s over. I bought the access to the recordings.

    3) I liked the fact that virtually everyone was there to learn, support and advance blogging and new media, which made networking incredibly easy.

    4) I appreciated Rick Calvert’s mention and support of the military. That was incredibly poignant.

    All in all, an outstanding trip for me.

    Thanks, Deb, Rick and everyone who contributed.

  • Jordan Cooper

    Deb, I know how hard it really is to execute events like this and thought it was presented & run *extremely* well and far above my expectations. (as many conferences/seminars appear as clusterf***s quite often)

    I was especially impressed that even though you, Rick & Dave spent 3 days running around like a chicken without a head making sure everything ran smoothly, you guys still had the time to thank speakers, attendees & exhibitors personally for being part of it. It’s those nice touches that really made BWE stand out to me.

    Let the 365 day work cycle start again for BWE 2011! 🙂

  • Bruce Serven

    Thank you for everything Deb.

    See you next year.

  • Judy Helfand

    Deb,
    I wrote a blog post about my BWE10 experience. You are featured! BWE10 Chief Listening Officers Wanted!

    You and the rest of your team are to be commended. My only regret was not meeting some people that I have come to know over the past year, like Bruce Serven (who commented here at 5:01AM) or @justinlevy. But I will get better at this.

    Thanks for everything.

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