If you were awake until the wee hours every night and busy running around the Hilton New York all day, you’d probably slack on posting these updates, too. Just sayin’.
Where did I leave off, Sunday? Damn, I kinda suck at this, lol. Okay, here’s the last three days in a very large nutshell. We will have a more in-depth discussion of the event on the next episode of Zap! (to be recorded on Tuesday, August 21st).
Sunday evening, I introduced the Women in Affiliate Marketing keynote panel. This was well attended, and I’m thankful for that. Frank discussions of this kind need to happen in order for our industry to grow and mature. The panel was fantastic. Everyone brought their A-game. Directly after the keynote panel, I went to the Newcomer Program meetup, organized by my friend, Jen Goode. We had a great time networking and mingling. I will be organizing the Newcomer Program for Affiliate Summit West in January, and I’ll have announcements about in October.
Dinner Sunday night was at Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar on 31st Street. You must try the Angry Chicken Lollipops. I don’t know what makes them so angry, but they were delicious. Unfortunately, our large group had to be split into two tables. After dinner, everyone headed back to the hotel to get dressed for the Shareasale disco party.
Monday morning rolled around, and I was up for my first big emcee duty. Introducing the Sunday keynote panel had been a breeze because the room was a typical Hilton meeting room—the same that I’ve been speaking in for a few years now. Introducing the Monday keynote speaker was a whole new bag of cats. This happened in the Grand Ballroom, and, well, here’s a picture I took from the stage before people started coming in:
The gig went well, and keynote Sara Levinson was a pleasure to listen to. At 3:30 that afternoon, I kicked off the fourth Affiliate Improv! session along with Todd Farmer, Jen Goode and Trisha Lyn Fawver. Though it was sparsely attended (as were many sessions, I learned), the session went really well. We had a great time and got some really good preliminary feedback.
Dinner on Monday night was incredibly fun. I went to Pazza Notte—where I’d had lunch on Saturday—with Bhavik Modi, Trisha Lyn Fawver and Daniel Feinberg, whom I’ve known for some years, as well as Ashley Coombe and Shannon Vogel, whom I’d just met on this trip. For an idea of how wacky we were feeling… I created this new Twitter account while at the table. Shannon bought a domain from her phone, which… nah. I’ll wait until she builds it out before I say anything more. If it comes to fruition, it’ll be truly epic, in a People of Walmart kind of way. Dinner was followed by a brief (for me) stop in at Affiliate Karaoke back at the hotel. There was some truly great singing, but not by me ;)
Tuesday! The opening keynote gig… well, I know I’m my own worst critic. Everyone said what a good job I did as emcee… but when you mangle your keynote speaker’s first name as you’re introducing him, you lose points. The Tuesday morning keynote, Ntiedo (NT) Etuk, is a great guy. His name is Nigerian, and I practiced it over and over and over so I would get it right. En-tee-eh-doh. En-tee-eh-doh. En-tee-eh-doh. When I got up on stage… failure. So embarrassing. But he’s a great guy, like I said. Sitting in the front row, he says with a big smile, “just call me NT”. So I did. The rest of the intro went fine after that.
NT’s address was incredible. I strongly encourage you to check out his work at DimensionU and learn about his story. I’m just thrilled that I got to meet and introduce him—and not just because he recognized the Unreal Tournament emblem on my laptop and we had an awesome conversation about sci-fi books and video games.
Zap! co-host Greg Hoffman led Does Your Program Have the Juice? session at 11:30. This is a must-attend session for affiliate managers and OPM’s to get practical advice for optimizing an affiliate program. It’s a live version of the podcast that Greg produces on GeekCast.fm, and it’s great for affiliates, too. I suspect this will not be the last time this session takes place.
After a great lunch, I attended the Boost Your Income Using Social Media session, moderated by Dina Riccobono and starring Stephanie Lichtenstein, Eric Schechter and my long-time podcasting co-host, Drew Bennett. They had a lot of great ideas about social media, especially Pinterest, which is hot right now. Great speakers, great session (and Dina, you did a great job for your first time moderating a panel)!
The closing keynote was Dave Cupples, and I didn’t mess up his name! Dave’s a great speaker and a great personality. His keynote address was informative, funny and well-received. One of the highlights was a planned bit with Stephanie Lichtenstein. Steph had set up a collection for St. Jude Hospital and vowed that if she collected over $500, she would bust out as Wonder Woman at the keynote. She and Dave worked out the details, and toward the end of his address, her phone rang. Dave said, “is that someone’s cell phone?” Steph stood up and answered the phone saying, “I’ll be right there!” A quick wardrobe change, and she was running out of the ballroom in a Wonder Woman costume, complete with tiara. Drew Bennett managed to get most of it on video:
Tuesday night in New York means baseball! The speakers of Affiliate Summit were invited to attend the game, complete with food and drink, in a private box with a view down the first base line. It was the perfect finish to a nearly-flawless event. Great food, great company, and the game had a few really exciting moments. It was a true highlight of my trip. The night ended up back at the hotel with a group of people, some street meat from the halal cart on the corner of 53rd and 6th, and a 3am bedtime.
Wednesday was spent packing, having one last lunch with friends, and flying home… which was smoother than when I flew to New York last Friday, but far from perfect. My first leg was delayed by an hour, causing me to come within mere minutes of missing my connection. It all worked out in the end though.
Tune in to the next episode of Zap! for all the best stories of the trip… there’s so much I didn’t get into here since I was trying to cover the broad strokes, but I’ve got some awesome stories to tell. You’ll not want to miss it. We’ll broadcast the show live at 2pm Tuesday the 21st, and it’ll be up as a podcast (episode #5/175) shortly after.
I need a nap.