Posts Tagged 'Chicago'

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.

Advertisements

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?

SOBCon08 – Brian Clark – Copyblogger

Brian gave me several things to think about, but here’s my quick list of take-aways:

  • Attention is valuable but not everything
  • Authority rules
  • Don’t think niche, think large audience and carve out a niche in that
  • Expertise creates authority
  • Think maximize my assets vs replace my job
  • Maximize my subscribers – build lists
  • Build destination pages

A lot of this stuff is immediately useful and gives me a whole viewpoint turnaround.  We are doing a model review out on our sites.  Pages is a big focus of the discussion.

SOBCon08 – Anita Bruzzese

What did I take away?

  • Use good resources
  • Make sure my sources are reliable – does my source have an agenda
  • Keep my credibility – keep away from hidden agenda
  • Post corrections – Immediately!
  • Don’t respond by attacking
  • Encourage comments – highlight great commenters – don’t let the bad comments take over
  • Get a roundtable of folks to keep me true
  • Put a line in the sand on what I will and will not due or blog about
  • Write things I’m not only proud of now, but I’ll be proud of in the future

Very good presentation. Anita is from www.45things.com.

SOBCon Spotlight – Todd Jordan

Hey, that’s me!

     In these days before SOBCon, the team over there is shining the spotlight on some of the attendees.  Today is my luck day. Myself, along with a couple of others, have been given a bit of blog love there.

     Why not stop by the SOBCon blog and check out all of the great folks mentioned there.  Some of them you may already know, and if not, you’re in for a treat. Some of the best bloggers around are attending this one of a kind blogging conference.

   Thanks Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker.  Can’t wait to see you there.

SOBCon Accomodations and Travel

I’ll be staying at the wonderful looking Hotel 71. I have my hotel confirmation in hand.  Now all that’s left to plan is the transportation.It looks like airplanes and Chicago Transit.  Since I’m not overly familiar with the transit system in Chicago, though I’ve used it a few times, I’m planning my rail time at their site.plan-your-trip-with-the-rta.jpgSo it’s only a short walk from the Red Line. Yahoo!  Now to ask my lovely wife to make my plane reservations and we’ll be set.What to pack is my next consideration.  That’s another post altogether.Going to SOBCon? Sign up on the wiki and see find other attenders. Let’s get to know one another before the conference.How are you traveling and where are you staying?