I started reading Darren Rowse at ProBlogger last fall, when I was figuring out how to write a blog as opposed to a Web site. As a marketer in love with communications, I took an instant liking to Darren's business savvy and writing. Hint: the simpler it sounds, the harder the thinking behind it.
[that's Darren with me in the photo, courtesy of Joe Ferrara]
Coming up with good, original, and useful "how to" tips on a consistent basis is already admirable. Knowing how to run a highly profitable online business, given the myriad ventures to choose from, demonstrates that this is a viable marketplace and that Darren is indeed a pro. The fact that he is an extremely well rounded, polite, and nice person while doing all that is worth a special mention. His wife V. is a ray of sunshine, I was glad she could join us.
This crowd spoke the language of Six Figure Blogging, which is the prize I won in the evening drawing. Although I consider myself a very lucky person, I never win anything so you can imagine how excited I am. In the midst of learning about SEO, Text Link Ads (it means affiliate links and they where the evening sponsor), and listening to how young programmers and bloggers are drawing a better income from this activity than from their day job, I met some really interesting people.
[that's me talking with Marshall. Photo courtesy of Lara Kulpa]
A few stories from the evening:
- Lara Kulpa and her dad Chuck were first on the scene. Lara has a great disposition and sense of style. We chatted about her living in Italy for six weeks near Ancona a few years back. I was happy to read that she was also a prize winner. Lara's pictures are great, follow the link and you will get a sense for the evening. She introduced me also to:
- Aaron Brazell from technosailor and b5media. Aaron explained that he used to work for large companies and now he enjoys being on Darren's team.
- Joseph Ferrara was one of the first bloggers I greeted as he came in. With a ready smile and camera, he was seriously fun. Sellsius is the real estate business he co-founded. Joe was kind enough to send me several photos of the evening. You can see more by following the link above.
- I spent a bit of time in a conversation with Marshall Sponder, contributor at WebMetricsGuru, SmartMobs, BigGreenBlogs, and artist. Marshall and I shared many interests. He was telling me how he's learning to speak in front of an audience. It can seem daunting, I know.
- Bill Dyszel is a great conversationalist and an accomplished writer for PC Magazine and eWeek, as well as author of 17 books, among which Microsoft Outlook for Dummies. Bill is also involved in the making of 48-Hour Film Project. He was presenting one of his films in Philadelphia this weekend.
- Nick Senzee of eSquaredWorkshops didn't miss a word, taking notes as he met people.
- Shawn Waite, publisher at Shedwa had the best NY-themed business card I have seen.
- I also met Elaine Vigneault, provocateur and owner of the most minimal and classy business card.
- Victoria Levan is an illustrator who just created her own business cards.
Going to events like this one reminds me how important it is to be a presenter and an audience, alternating between the two roles while feeling comfortable in your skin. Aside from Darren, I did not know anyone else. Lara, Marshall, Bill, Joe, and V. made me feel very much at home.
Now you can see how I fit with bracketology, many of my smiles are full-braces. [with Marshall Sponder, photo courtesy of V.]
A couple of people mentioned the value of networking. I cringe a little when I hear that word because in my mind, network is an outcome, not an activity. What you do at events like this one is meet people, talk with them, learn new things and, if you have enough practice, make connections.
For example, I spent a reasonable amount of time with several of the people in the photographs with me. Enough time to learn about their work and in some cases also about projects they are really passionate about. The idea is to be in the moment, not worry about how many people you get to meet, enjoy and join the conversation you're in.
[Joe Ferrara with me here. Photo taken by Darren, courtesy of Joe.]
The whole business card exchange ritual is fascinating. It has different rules depending on the culture. For example, in Japan, you exchange business cards up front in a business setting so that everyone knows where they stand from the titles. The higher up you are, the less information you need to have on your card.
Many of the bloggers I met this past Thursday chose to have their name and blog URL with possibly a title or a tagline on their card. Some had cards with more information about their business, including a physical address and phone/fax numbers. Regardless, all the cards were quite imaginative and often matched exactly the blog identity.
[Darren, Lara, and me talking with Bill. Photo courtesy of Joe Ferrara]
Darren and his business partners and audience know a great deal about marketing online. The more traditional marketers could use some exposure to this crowd. I know I do. That is why I so enjoyed meeting everyone. It gave me another view of the blogosphere, one different from my usual environment where we mostly use blogs to brand ourselves and publicize our business and book(s). One of the most frequent words I heard was "making money". That is indeed a good idea.