Posts Tagged 'blogging conference'

Bloggers Assemble!

Bloggers Assembled

     It was a rainy Chicago afternoon and evening, on a Spring day in May.  They’d come from all over the United States and the World.  Views and opinions as diverse as their points of origin.  Powers of observation and writing never before brought together were no in one place, on one busy block.

     Who were they?  Superheroes? Power brokers? Yes! They were Bloggers! And they came to take Chicago!  Well, not actually that last part, but it sounds better yes?

     SOBCon08 had drawn bloggers of all types.  Bloggers of politics mixed with technology bloggers as well as mommy bloggers.  Each brought with them not just a desire to learn and be engaged for the weekend, but they came to share, to support, and to blog.  They came to take blogging up a notch.

     Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker assembled a crew of presenters for a human scale event and it was powerful.  Chris Brogan, Anita Bruzzese,  Chris Garret, David Bullock, Terry Starbucker, Brian Clark, Lorelle VanFossen, and Wendy Piersall talked and presented on blogging and business throughout the weekend.  More than that, they shared deeply about blogging and themselves.  Each poured out tips, tricks and heart during their presentations and off-stage as well.

     The SOBCon08 weekend was jam packed with business and blogging information, but also with fun and friends making.  Shashi Bellamkonda and I have been online friends for most of year but had never met.  Leave it to a blogging conference to us together.  Rick Mahn and I had also been online only contacts for quite a while, this weekend allowed us to share a great experience and become real friends. There was the boat ride, where I took this skyline shot, and enjoyed the music of Christine Kane, and the wonderful dinners with my blogger friends.

     Did I take anything away beyond that? More than I can absorb.  On the mental and supportive side, I realized I’m not alone out there, and these other bloggers, even the most successful ones, are only an email away.  I realized others, yes those big name ones too, struggle at times with their blogs and their businesses.  The support and encouragement doesn’t end with the weekend.  Becky McCray has organized some of us into a biz and blog support and mentoring circle.

     As part of the take away from the SOBCon08 conference, I’ll be changing up things on the blog.  It’ll be slow at first, but hopefully the improvements will be noticeable both to readers and to me.  Also, I’ll be formulating some business plans, goals and more.  Don’t think either that I’ll try to work in solitude.  You, the readers, and you, my fellow bloggers and biz folks, will be on the spot.  I’ll be asking you for guidance, reassurance, and support because of the respect and appreciation I have for you all.

     In summary, the weekend brought me more than I expected, and I can’t express enough in blog posts even how much so. While I make some attempts here though, I’d love to hear from you.

     How did SOBCon08 impact you, your blogging and your business? What will you change?  Or have you been to another conference recently that made a significant impact on your life?  Tell me about it!  I want you to share here, on your blog, or drop me a line.  Don’t blog? I’ll be happy to post your story here.

     Come, tell us about your experience.

Vong’s Thai Kitchen – SOBCon08 Dining Experience

Panang Chicken Curry

     Several of us from SOBCon08 went in search of a restaurant on Saturday evening. What we got was an experience.

     Wow! That’s the first word that comes to mind about Vong’s. To the left you’ll see my dinner, Panang Chicken.  But that’s not where it starts, nor ends. Let me tell you more.

     After a short wait, we were lead back to a table with plenty of room for the eight of us, and Dawud is no small guy. Menus were handed out and water served but then we all kind of sat there.

     Oh, we were doing the normal pre-dinner chatter you’d expect of bloggers, but none of us could really decide what to get.  Thai food has differing tastes at each restaurant, and no one was quite sure what to order.  That’s when the real experience began.

     Then he showed up, Jose, the best waiter in Chicago. Jose began with a simple introduction and a hearty welcome to Vong’s. He then told us with obvious pride of the unique food style of the restaurant, and even some history.  While doing that, Jose began describing some of the food choices, starting with the seafood curry.  As he continued, he not only told us that they had seafood, but what type of crabs, and how wonderfully fresh and tasty they were.  That was when it got better.

     Jose gave us a tour of items on the menu from appetizers to main dishes, and house speciality.  With each dish, he had us more rapt.  Our eyes followed along in our menus as he went through them, and our mouths began to water.  He talked of curries and spices, of dinners and drinks, and we sat in silence, our whole attention focused on him.

     Soon enough he was done and we were all ready to chow, even Dawud and Adam, both of whom weren’t really hungry when we came in.  Jose finished up by not walking off and letting us stew but visited with some of us one on one to help us choose something just right for us each.

     As if my mouth wasn’t watering already, the Jose told me about the Panang Chicken. He described in earnest the peanut curry, it’s taste, texture, and spice. It is the house curry, and he was obviously quite proud of that. I was sold in a minute.

     Jose didn’t leave us too long at any point during the dinner, which came very quickly.  Each meal was hot and they were all served together.  Our drinks were never empty and the conversation over dining flowed wonderfully.  It was already one of my best dining experiences in ages.  And then it was over.

     Not quite really.  Only one of us, Tom, had ordered dessert.  So we sat back and relaxed, chatting.  But then it came.  Oh, not just Tom’s dessert but four more.  Jose had arranged to comp us one of each of four desserts for the table. Talk about wow factor!

     There were beignets, fried bananas, creme brulee trio, and warm Valrhona chocolate cake.  At this point, all I could mumble were ‘wow’, ‘oh my’, and lots of ‘ah’s.  My mouth is watering just imagining those again. Each dessert was rich and flavorful.  Even with 8 of us, there was plenty to go around to sample.  It made the meal perfect.

     The food was fantastic, the waiter the best, and even the manager stopped by.  She welcomed us with a smile, and graciously accepted our compliments of Jose and the whole experience.

     Too soon it was time to rise and head out, but our stomachs were full as well as our minds with the heady experience.  Needless to say, Jose got an incredible tip.  Cheers Jose!!

     If you visit Vong’s Thai Kitchen in Chicago, may you find Jose waiting your table.

Did you have any memorable food experiences in Chicago, especially at SOBCon08?

SOBCon08 – Where I found more than a blogger

Shashi - geek, blogger, friend
Let me tell you about one of my favorite takeaways from SOBCon08. Shashi and I started out as on the edges of common technologies, now I feel like I’ve gained a friend for life.

It was a pleasure to meet and spend time with him this weekend. What better way to know a man than to share things together.

We shared – learning, laughter, fresh air, excitement, joy, a hug, the skyline of Chicago, we broke bread together, and shared a beer. What better ways to know a man.

What did you share at SOBCon08? What did you take away?

Contest Ninja?

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In all seriousness there was no ninja in the contest that I know of.  But if he blogged, he’d have had a shot too.

SOBCon is all about the bloggers.  You can read here what last year’s participants had to say.

Here are 3 key reasons SOBCon08 is going to be even better than SOBCon07:

1. Bigger. More attendees. More planning. More to talk about. More to do. More, more, more, more.

2. BAP. “The SOBCon08 program guarantees to send each attendee home with a Business Action Plan that can be immediately executed for measurable success.”

3. Biz. School, that is. An even stronger focus on business blogging and how to use blogs to boost your business.”

Me? This will be my first time. I’m excited about the opportunities this will present. Not only a chance to mingle but learn.  The sessions will be very focused with the end result a plan I can take forward for blogging as a business.

Currently there are no ads on this site, however that is not for a lack of interest. What I’d like to do is get it right. That applies for social networks as well.  Where can I best spend my time and resources?

What are you doing with your blog and your social networks? Are you merely marking time or are you making progress towards your personal and business goals? Has your online life profited you today?

Check out SOBCon and see if it’s for you.  It might just help you answer those questions.

And the winner is…

Me!

The SOBCon Contest is over and I won. Yes, you can read the details on the SOBCon site, but I’ll give you the short and skinny here.

First things first, because the SOBCon contest is over, I’ve taken down the big cartoon encouraging you to visit the SOBCon site. No more need to do it to help me.  That said, I encourage everyone that’s into blogging and wants to take it up a notch to visit and consider going to the conference.

“The grand prize is a free registration to SOBCon08, plus two hotel nights.”

I’m planning on spending Friday and Saturday nights in the Club Quarters, near the conference center.

“We’d also like to give one more big shoutout to our contest co-sponsor, Plante Moran Financial Advisors.”

Yes, there is a sponsor.  I’ve not used Plante Moran Financial Advisors, but I’ll be sure to give them a look.  Thank you Plante Moran.

 “Congratulations Todd!!

And thanks to all who participated in the contest – your promotion of this event has been most appreciated.”

Thank you SOBCon Team!  See you there soon.

For others attending, please check out the wiki: http://sobcon.pbwiki.com

Why SOBCon Matters

Terry Starbucker brings us his take on why SOBCon matters to him and why it should to you and me.  Terry talks about conference planning and how it’s impacted him.  As well, he talks about SOBCon’s cofounder Liz Strauss and working with her.

Terry is convinced about the value of the SOBCon conference. He’s not the only one. I’m convinced as well.  Great bloggers from across the blogosphere will be on hand.  They’ll be leading us through several models or paths that a blogger can pursue.

Beyond just reviewing ways to make our blogs successful will be the networking.  It’ll be me and 249 other bloggers plus the conference presenters working together.  An intensive day of learning, planning and growing along side one another.  A day that will result in not just solid workable take aways, but friends.  The ground work for a success network will be layed that day.

I’ve not attended and yes, I have high hopes, but I want you to question yourself. Is your blog really successful? Can you even tell? Do you even have goals for it? Where will it be a year from now?

For a lot of us that blog those questions are tough to answer.  I believe at this time that the cost of the conference is worth it as investment in myself and the future of my blogging efforts.

What are you willing to invest to move your blog to a full time business?

Please take a minute to check out the SOBCon site and see if this is your conference for the year.

SOBCon Wiki for Attendees

Let’s network!  Swing on over to the SOBCon wiki and edit yourself in. It’s a great way to get together early and plan things. See you there!