Hugs, Hellos, Pool and SEOs
(Time went pretty quickly at this point, and I’m sure I’ll forget to add some names in here, but please don’t kill me. We were only there for a short time and there were so many hellos and hugs, it was really hard to keep track and remember everything until I got back. My bad. See the intro in Part 1 for an explanation.)
There was the famous Dom Hodgson, the mind, brawn and face of Think Visibility! After collecting on the IOU1Hug, we got a few moments to chat before he was once again off and running. I will admit that my first thought was ‘OMG He looks just like he does on the Internet!’
There was his lovely other half Heather Burke (left). That poor girl looked like she was running off her feet, and by the end of the night, she was ready to go home. We need to get more time in chatting together!
I got to say hello and shake hands with the infamous Shaun Anderson, also known as Hobo Web. I’ve followed his thoughts and ramblings on the Internet for around 4 years now, so it was a thrill to finally put a face to the name. I should also warn you that he really doesn’t look like his Twitter avatar. I think it’s the suit…totally threw me off.
And then there was Rishi Lankhani. Poor guy. I felt sorry for him really. Probably thought I was some sort of stalkerish Canuck reject. I couldn’t help it. Rishi is another person I’ve encountered many times online and I’ve become a huge fan of his writing. We also seemed to hit it off quite well after discussing the purchase of drinkinganddomainbuyingdontmix.com. Long story.
There was Amrit Gill, who I had the pleasure of meeting through the SEO Dojo. And again, I was shocked to discover that he didn’t look much like his Twitter pic either. He’s a bright, high energy person full of positive vibes and always good for a great chat on various search topics. Definite ace in my books.
I’d never met or chatted to Alistair MacDonald prior to this, but had heard all sorts of good stuff about this tech geek. I’m happy to say he didn’t disappoint. We’d gotten the opportunity to chat several times during Think Visibility and never seemed to run out of things to say. The same could be said for Caius Durling, who had the dubious honour of being stuck in the car park lift during the conference. Poor guy. He was having the oddest streak of luck.
It’s Time To Get the Think Visibility Conference Started
Boy was I excited and nervous the morning of the conference! I could hardly wait to get started. In fact, I was one of the first people there. Before I knew it, however, people were arriving…
There was Dan Alderson
and the lovely Tahera Dudhwala, all from MEC:
Now, anyone who has had the stress pleasure of working with these guys will know how much they keep you on your toes fun they really are. Meeting them in person was no exception. We had an absolute blast, got a few good shots in, and by the end of the day, it was tough to say goodbye. And Tahera, you keep those guys in line until I get back!
Meeting Peter Young of Holistic Search was another highlight of the day. We’ve ‘known’ each other for quite a while and have had several in depth chats. Sadly, we simply didn’t get a chance to have any really good chats in person. To make up for it, however, I will be making a guest appearance there in the near future, so watch his blog for that! (I know! You’re all excited! I can feel the energy!)
Karyn Fleeting of the famous Tinderbox Media was a real treat for me. In addition to being a smart and articulate lady, she’s as delightful in person as she is online. She gets extra brownie points for living in one of my new favourite places, Harrogate (for reasons you’ll find out about later).
Have you heard of Sorbet Digital and it’s search queen Carla Marshal? She’s another delightful lady battling it out with the men to get businesses seen and heard in the SERPs. My only regret meeting Carla? Like others I was fortunate to catch up with, we didn’t get a good solid chat in. Carla, we need to head out for coffee next time!
The Scott search extraordinaire Clarke Duncan? Search and dev geek Ian Pouncy? How about Chris Clarkson? Or Microsoft’s Mel Carson? Yup, that’s right, I met them all too. They were all wonderful and had great things to say. It was intelligent conversation had by all. I would have loved to talk to them all more in depth, but with so many people and so little time, it just wasn’t possible.
I was also able to catch up with the soon-to-be Canuck and British expat Sarah Carling. Sarah…all I’m going to say is “boy are you in for an experience!” I’ll explain this shortly as well…
To this point, I’ve failed to meet the esteemed Craig Parker of Soula Digital Marketing Agency. Unlike most people I had the opportunity to meet at ThinkVis, I actually met Craig through a side project started by Justin Parks, rather than through the SEO industry. We actually managed a couple short chats throughout the day, but we never did get the opportunity to talk much about any of our favourite topics including marketing and Internet related foolry. Craig, even though I missed you on the first draft, know that you’re no less important. I totally blame the worldwind vacation and subsequent jet lag!
Dom stood in front of an excited crowd that morning, as he welcomed everyone to the conference and introduced the sponsors. Well, as excited as a group of search people at a conference at 9am are going to look, I suppose (They got livelier as the day went on. Trust me.). Personally, I enjoyed getting familiar with new companies and brands I’d never heard of before as well as seeing familiar brands upclose and personal. It’s a Canuck thing.
Mel Carson ‘Gets’ All Social
The opening talk was Mel Carson on his experience with Social Media Marketing. I thought it was an entertaining review of the basics. What I particularly enjoyed was getting the unique opportunity to see tidbits of Microsoft’s experience with the medium. The sheer size of their campaign creates specific issues and advantages that most of us just don’t get to see.
After that, I had to choose which sessions I was going to attend. In true freak form, I seemed to pick the opposite sessions of the majority, but this too worked to my advantage. Actually, now that I think about it, it was a subconscious stroke of brilliance; I got to read about the other talks, so I essentially missed very little.
Morning Think Visibility Talks
Anyway, the talks I did catch included:
- Rob Kerry’s talk on international SEO. It inspired me to write this post on the finer points of international copy.
- Ian Pouncey’s talk on accessibility. I’ll probably get shot for saying this, but accessibility is one thing I haven’t actually sat down and considered. Not like this. I found his approach to opening the web up to physically challenged individuals a refreshing change that has since prompted a new look at the websites I work with daily. Being a copywriter, I’m pretty limited, but I look forward to using the concepts in my future work.
- The site clinic in the afternoon was likely the highlight of the day for me and the one I was most concerned about attending. I was honestly expecting the entire session to include a debate over one or two elements of a sample website. I was thoroughly surprised. I was fascinated to see how different Dave Naylor’s thoughts on each site approached the site in comparison to Michelle Pilcher. Kieron Donoghue offered more insight and Dr. Karl Blanks’ insights on conversion optimization were really priceless. The four opinions together really made already great sites amazing. Rishi Lakhani was one of the lucky attendees to get a site on the chopping block.
- Being a fan of conversion optimization, there was no way I was missing CRO expert Dr. Karl Blanks’ talk on conversion optimization. If I had to complain, I would say that it could have easily been two or three times as long because I’d have loved for him to go deeper into the subject. However, the presentation was a great overview of the 15 main elements and it had several good tips including some tools I’m eager to play with.
Afternoon Think Visibility Talks
After that, I’m afraid I absolutely had to bail. After all the excitement and the flight, I was completely shattered and fighting not to fall asleep during the presentations. The talks I did miss, I quickly caught up with online and was horribly disappointed I missed them. (On a side note, Dom? Could we have Karyn Fleeting and Paul Madden’s talks on different times next year? I’m so glad I didn’t have to choose!)
Anyway, here are the talks I missed:
- Keyword Domains and Mini-Sites — Gary Taylor (Kieron Hughes’ live blogging is here.)
- Using Social Media for SEO — Lisa Myers
- Affiliate Marketing Technologies — Kevin Edwards (P
- Link Building in Real Life: A Practical Guide To Dominating the SERPs — Jaamit Durrani (Peter’s live blogging)
- What Would a Spammer Do? — Paul Madden
- Press Release and Publicity — Karyn Fleeting
- How To Gain Ranking Dominance In Any Market Sector — Dave Naylor (Dave Chaffey’s live blogging here)
I couldn’t find any content for Paul’s talk, but I have a theory about this:
Everyone was far too enthralled with all the information they were getting that they forgot to share. After hearing all the buzz afterward, we all know that’s the case. I forgive you (Carla from Sorbet Digital did have a bit on it, so I wasn’t completely honest.)
In short, it was one of the best times I’ve ever had.
Angie’s Copywriting Gets Connected
The connections I made were positively priceless, and the opportunity to talk about my favourite subjects with people who could actually comprehend what I was saying? Uplifting and amazing.
Dom, I’d like to thank you and the team again for all the work you put into the conference and for having me. It was truly a delight and well worth the travel. I’d also like to thank you for the beautiful iPhone cover from GadgetGlamour. It was absolutely amazing and beautiful.
(It’s a cover made from my site graphics…I’d take a picture, but the stickers are already on my phone, which doubles as my camera.) I’ve already got some great ideas for the funkily fantastic products Rick produces over there. I’m not telling you what my idea is just in case you steal my idea. We both know you would. (Dom, *cough* business cards *cough*.) Anyway, I really and truly enjoyed it and can’t wait to attend the next one.
I also got to meet Rick Jesse personally during the conference, and it really was my pleasure. He screams creativity (ok…fine…the funky style gave you away) and has a level of customer service not often seen in online business.
Know what I’m going to recommend you do? Go to the next Think Visibility!
(Pictures are courtesy of the extremely talented Steven Lilley who has more ThinkVis pics and is on Twitter. The other photographer with amazing ThinkVis pics is Martin Cunningham, who is also on Twitter.)
Other Posts In the Series:
September 20, 2010 at 1:00 am | Lighter Side | 15 comments