My friend and fellow Scouter Buffalo Bob told me last year about WordCamp Buffalo and when it came around this year, he encouraged me to speak. WordCamp is “a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you.”
There are probably 100 different ways to get from JFK to ASE14, but I’m going to share with you a very easy (and affordable) one:
JFK -> AirTrain -> Jamaica Station -> E Subway -> 7th Ave
Time: 1hr 15min
Cost: about $21 round-trip
Affiliate Karaoke has always been a popular event for a group of Affiliate Summit attendees, but hasn’t happened as an official event the past few shows. While a few of us arranged our own get-together, it’s just not the same when a gambling-addicted Elvis impersonator named Eddie controls the stage because he makes the casino lots of money at the slot machines. So Nate, Tricia and I decided to do something about it.
While Lindsey at ShareASale covered “10 To-Do’s Before Affiliate Summit West,” and Shawn Collins wrote the book on “How to Get the Most Out of Attending a Conference,” I wanted to cover some of the more non-conventional conference tips.
While there are a couple of sessions that I’ll be writing up detailed notes on, I wanted to write about my overall experience at Affiliate Summit East 2013 in Philadelphia, PA.
Saturday – Day 0
I probably had quite the unique travel experience, as Greg Hoffman and I did a Bro-d Trip (see what I did there?). Yes, Greg lives in Atlanta, but he flew to Buffalo only to be picked up and drive 400 miles to Philly. “A frog & a bear, seeing America”
We hooked up a dashboard cam (nothing exciting happened) and Greg made a mix tape, and we spent Saturday driving into town.
Sightseeing in Philly
Kim Rowley suggested a nighttime bus tour of Philadelphia, so a group of us got together and saw the city, while ducking low tree limbs. Worth the experience, but pay attention or you’ll get a tree branch in your face.
Sunday – Day 1
Tip for Newbies
Run. I started running to get 1:1 time with my boss, and have both given and received priceless advice just because someone else was looking for someone to run with.
After the run, I had time to get over to St John The Evangelist for Mass before having breakfast with my partner and friend Tricia. The one on one time that Affiliate Summit creates for us is great time to strategize or to just strengthen relationships. Never eat alone! If you don’t have a meal scheduled, check Twitter to see who else is looking for someone to eat with, or post yourself so someone can join you.
This Summit was a bit different for me, as I was there with For Me To Coupon and helping to answer technical questions at their Meet Market table. Normally, I’m the one going table to table, collecting handouts, business cards, and other giveaways. I’m not sure if they’ll let me behind the table again, as I sent one individual to our competition and told him to try out both services. He’ll be back.
Sunday night was ShareASale’s party at Hard Rock, where dressing up was encouraged so Greg and I went as the Blues Brothers, Jake and Elwood. Although we didn’t win, we had a great time and ended the night at Crown Fried Chicken, where the kid behind the counter didn’t know what to do when I asked for “four fried chickens and a coke”
Monday – Day 2
Monday’s festivities included meeting with clients, colleagues, and a few sessions. Honestly, some of the meetings with the various wine club merchants were the best I’ve had at Affiliate Summit. They listened to our feedback, gave us insight as to what’s working and information on what their upcoming plans are for Q4.
Speaking of wine clubs, Greg’s dinner Monday night featured wine from California Wine Club, and I met a guy who’s like my twin – he even has family in Buffalo! There are still so many great people to meet, so I need to go back and review my rules about meals at Affiliate Summit (for a few years, I always sat down with people I didn’t know. I met some jerks, but some great people, too).
Tuesday – Day 3
Usually, by Tuesday afternoon I’m done with the show and hang out in the Blogger’s Room. So this time, I booked meetings Tuesday afternoon, and I kept busy! Unfortunately, this meant missing some sessions, but I can catch them later on video.
I hit up Shake Shack, had my first Uber ride, met with a client from Boston and another from DC. *whew*
Tuesday night was the Philly’s game, another Uber experience, then hanging out at the hotel before packing up.
Wednesday – Day 4
Greg and I finally got over to Reading Market for breakfast on Wednesday and ran into a few conference attendees. I then took 45 minutes to get my car (Philly traffic / roads are the worst) and headed home.
At one point, I was sitting in the blogger room and someone asked me how my show was going. I had to think for a moment, then realized: you get out of it what you put into it. Having a meeting with a merchant is one thing, but if you don’t follow up and push that merchant, it was a waste of time. All those business cards you exchanged, and all those flyers you picked up in the Meet Market? You need to act on them!
Each time when Affiliate Summit comes around, I find my pile of papers from the last show, and throw them out. If I didn’t act in 6 months, I’m not going to. But when Affiliate Summit West comes along in January, I won’t have any papers leftover. Let’s see what we can get done in 5 months.
Wil Reynolds held a session at Affiliate Summit East 2012 discussing Google’s recent changes (Panda, Penguin), how to diagnose the problem areas, and how to do real good. His session started with reflecting on the Keynote he gave last year.
Justin Rondeau, karaoke king and Chief Editor & Evangelist with WhichTestWon, presented on Day 1 of Affiliate Summit East 2012 with
Top Testing Tips to Optimize Your Site. This was a session all about A/B testing, guiding the audience with what to test, followed by many examples.
Curation was a hot keyword in 2011, and it’s going strong into 2012. Scott Jangro, creator of Shareist, held a session at Affiliate Summit West on Digital Curation, which answered some of my questions about what curation is, and why I (as an affiliate) should care.
The beginning of Scott’s presentation reaffirmed that affiliates should build sites with their future audience in mind. He then went on to discuss the (brief) history of curation, from a museum curator to Curation Nation to Scobleizer’s
Here are my notes: