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.
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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