Swag that I received from IZEAFest 2009

My box of IZEAFest swag.. I...

At every conference I have ever attended I’ve been loaded down with Swag. I have to pack separate bags just to take it home and sometimes I even have to ship it home. It takes me a while to go through all of it and make follow ups with all the great people that gave me things so I apologize for this post being rather late. However, the swag I’m talking about is not what you think.

Swag I received from IZEAFest 2009

Compassion – One panel got rough twitter reviews and even spawned a terrible and ugly twitter flame war. It showed class on Ted Murphy’s (@tedmurphy) part to have Sarah Austin (@pop17) come back up to speak. I gave her one of my water bottles and felt that she was not at all impressed by my swag or me. To be honest I felt that she looked me the water bottle and me as if we were some sort of dead rat. Of course this was right after she went back up before the crowd which was still a bit hostile towards her so I can understand that she might have been a bit upset. I did tell her how I felt that it took courage to come back up in front of a tough room. I felt that she didn’t care however Sarah dropped over and commented on my blog recently and we had a short e-mail discussion. I think that Sarah is a good person and unfortunately she came across poorly in her panel. However, she is someone who is making it online and does have good knowledge. So my inspiration for the swag of compassion comes from this whole interaction.

After Lunch at B.B. Kings

Friendship – I had an incredible time making new friends instantly: Buck Daddy (@buckdaddy), David Meyers (@ragingtech), Alan Parker (@foralanssake), Dwan Perrin (@MommaDJane), Christa Watson (@chirstawatson), Omarr Cantu (@omarrcantu), Kelly “PegLegPug” Walker (@peglegpug), John Raser (@JohnRaser), Rob and Melinda (@LkWhtMomFound) (@and_Dad_too), Steven (@steven_sanders) and Ashley Sanders (@bossanders), Meredith (@craftyGAgal), Craig Murphy (@cramur), John King (@Jking89), Juliet and Vanessa of PokenGirl (@PokenGirl) all became immediate close friends.


Also connecting with friends that I’ve made over time. Friends like: Missy Ward (@MissyWard)David Risley (@DavidRisley), David Brim (@David BrimCourtney Benefiel (@ridetoremedy), Jennifer Leet (@jentifa), Pat Curry (@catpurry), Danna Crawford (@powersellingmom), Tim Jones (@TheRealTimJones), Connie Roberts (@conniefoggles) Trevor Griffin (@magical_trevor), Andrew Beard (@anoo), Ashley Edwards (@Social_Citizen), Ted Murphy (@tedmurphy), Heather in BC (@heatherinbc), Elizabeth Edwards (@Table4Five), Brett Bumeter (@BrettBumeter), Christine Brandt (@starryskye81), Lisa Martin (@blm03), Eric Schechter (@ericschechter), Michael Daoud (@xshot), Marty Smith (@MartyatIZEA), Travis Andrews, Stephanie Lichtenstein (@MicroSteph), Famous Blogger Murray Newlands (@murraynewlands), Carrie Bright (@brightgirl), Veronique , Crystal (@CrystalDuncan), Annie (@AnnieElizabeth), Dina Riccobono (@dinariccs), Martha Decker (@MarDeck), the list continues to go on and on, so I apologize if I did not name you directly.


The friend that gave so much and showed amazing love for us was Maureen (@motarpey). She gave up her time in order to watch our daughter Eva for three days so Allison and I could enjoy IZEAFest without worrying that Eva was missing us or if she was safe. Auntie Mo took care of everything. Sadly she was rewarded for that kindness with some atrocious customer service from the Renaissance Orlando.


Inspiration – There were so many inspirational speakers during IZEAFest. I was most impressed with Aaron Brazell (@TechnoSailor) in his first Keynote. He gave us bloggers so much meat to chew on in his keynote that I even ended up starting a little Man-Crush on him. Aaron is certainly a person who is personable. He went out of his way to say hello to me even before he had ever met me or heard of me. Of course I was surprised that he had heard of me in the first place.


Chris Brogan’s (@ChrisBrogan) keynote was equally inspiring in a different way. Where Aaron’s keynote made us look within ourselves Chris’s keynote held us to dig deep and engage our audiences and build communities. Chris is a master of creating community. If you are not signed up for his newsletter then rush out and do it right now. Chris’s newsletter is an inspiration and each one feels like he is talking directly to me. Really that is a great feeling. Chris extends that well beyond the online life. Each time he sees me he says hello and says something funny and clever. He is all about building community. That was inspiring. It inspired me to start my own newsletter.


Generosity – I was floored by the incredible amounts of generosity from so many people. Ted Murphy immediately comes to mind in that he was incredibly generous to totally redesign my blog and also give me beautiful business cards. He also showed tremendous generosity in revealing that design during his opening keynote speech. He single handedly propelled the notoriety of my blog through the roof. I was incredibly humbled by his generosity.

So many other people showed great generosity to me and my family including Dina Riccobono, Michael Daoud, Dwan Perrin, and Jennifer Leet. Because of them I had to ship an entire box of swag home. Buck Daddy went and got me, Dwan and Alan front of the line passes at SeaWorld, that was quite generous as well.


Motivation – So many people motivated me to action like John Raser. John is a golfer and blogger who is such a personable and genuine person. I loved watching him speak during the 5 minutes of fame. His passion for what he is doing and his newness and freshness in the blogging world is very motivating. Murray Newlands is a man with a great passion to teach bloggers how to become better with very simple straightforward tips. He pulls people in to work with him and connects people together.


Humilty – During the convention so many people came up to me and said that they followed my blog and enjoyed my blog. I was incredibly humbled by those experiences. Then Thomas Thorspecken did a watercolor of the room at IZEAFest focusing on Allison and I, He captured our mannerisms and nuances in a beautiful way. I was also humbled by the sheer fervor of Tommy Fishback (@tommyfishback), a 14 year old entrepreneur who captured the hearts of the entire crowd by getting up for 5 minutes of fame where he told us about his facebook app called tagclass. He was fascinating and could easily keynote a future IZEAFest and he’s still in High School. The poise and polish and passion of Tommy made me look at my passion for my blogging work.

Thank you to everyone who had a part in making IZEAFEst 2009 one of my favorite weekends ever.

What swag did you come home with from IZEAFest 2009?

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Copyright (c) 2020 BenSpark Family Adventures

24 thoughts on “Swag that I received from IZEAFest 2009”

    1. Christine,
      It was great to see you again, always is. I am also going to attend next year, probably not going to stay at the Orlando Renaissance though but that is another story.

    1. David,
      You are very welcome. I know that you made a big impression on people there and I am glad that you had a positive experience at IZEAFest. I too had such a great time and it was like nothing else at all.

  1. Now this is one huge event I missed because of my geographical location… sheesh! I envy you guys! Imagine you get to see the very people you only see on ads.. and stuff all over the http://WWW... again I ENVY YOU GUYS… =) Thanks for this post, at least I get to see what it feels like when I’m there… hope you have things like these outside of the US too =)
    .-= Look at what KUMAGCOW wrote blog ..The Importance of Property Management =-.

    1. Kumagcow,
      I’d like to go to an international blogger event, that would be lots of fun. I hope that you were able to see at least some of the streaming stuff on the web.

  2. Thank you for the mention, Drew. IzeaFest was amazing and I feel the same way as you, what I walked away with was much more than material swag. The connections I made at IzeaFest have been the most powerful ones I’ve ever made at a conference.

    I am so far behind on my blog posts as well, I did start writing up my Top Ten list for IzeaFest, just need to finish it up.
    .-= Look at what MommaDJane wrote blog ..Early Christmas Cards Needed for Little Boy =-.

    1. Dwan,
      I was pretty behind but finally caught up. I am still behind on two posts from back in May, but other than that I should be good for a little while.

      And how could I not mention you my ultimate prize pack winner. How’s that laptop working for you? Have you gotten it? Dina and I carried it around the Hilton much of the night and we missed you. Hope to see you at another conference soon.

    1. Murray,

      I miss everyone in NYC and we missed you in Las Vegas. As far as Affiliate summit you better see me I’ll be sitting right next to you on our panel. 🙂 I booked flight and hotel for Allison and I a couple of days ago.

  3. That’s a great IZEAFest 2009 you have shared. Sorry I am not able to join it as i live far away from the place. I appreciate your work & hope for some more good posts.

  4. I’m sorry you felt that way when we met. Your kind words did (and still do) mean a lot.

    Thank you so much for the water bottle. It’s great and I’m totally using it as my work H2O bottle 🙂

    Compassion goes a long way and I thank you for that. I’ll remember this and you for years and years. In the end, I’m happy it happened because I learned some valuable lessons. I hope to talk with you one on one in the future.

    1. Sarah,

      Like I said I really appreciated your comments and glad that you are enjoying the water bottle. at that moment I felt like I wasn’t much of anyone when I tried to reach out. But I also understand that you went through a tough couple of days where people were very unkind, and that was unfortunate and unfair. I too hope to talk with you one on one int he future because I do think that you are someone I could learn from and enjoy knowing.

    1. Dina,
      Thanks so much. I really hope that I didn’t totally slight anyone by not mentioning them, I should have been keeping a list. This post was an idea and concept that I just kept coming back to in that what I received from everyone was much more than mere waterbottles and trinkets.

      Although our group lunch was so awesome because we got to spend time together as friends and share a meal. That is the best!

  5. So, I’m playing “catch up” with The BenSpark because of my silly computer issues…I was so happy and touched to read this post. You are so kind to say what you did-I really enjoyed my time with you all in Orlando and only wish we had more time to spend together:) I love the your concept of “swag” here because I know you absolutely take everything you can away from these experiences. My “goodnight quote” on facebook tonight is from Kahlil Gibran: “Your friend is your needs answered.” Thank you & Allison & Eva for being friends with me! Peace:)
    .-= Look at what Mo wrote blog ..motarpey: "Your friend is your needs answered." ~Kahlil Gibran Goodnight, Friends 🙂 =-.

    1. Mo,
      Thank you. I didn’t quite realize you were having computer issues till twitter last night. I hope that gets worked out. Time to back everything up, wipe out the computer and start it over clean. I love that quote too.

  6. This really captured the spirit of IzeaFest. Thanks so much for the mention Drew! It was wonderful seeing you again too and finally meeting Allison and Eva 🙂 I hope that we can spend more time together next time, if not in Vegas, then definitely at next year’s IzeaFest.
    .-= Look at what ConnieFoggles wrote blog ..No Worries Hawaii =-.

    1. Connie,
      I’ll see you in Vegas? Cool. Allison is coming with me for ASW10. Great to spend some time with you at IZEAFest, more time next time for sure.

    1. Kelly,
      It was great to meet you in real life. You were really nice and I am pretty jealous that you are at IZEA now. It must be a great place to work. I can’t wait to get back down to Orlando and visit the crew.

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