Aug152006

My SES-San Jose 2006 Experience

As you can probably tell from my last post, I had a rockin’ time at SES…

Sunday, August 6th

I left my condo around 2:15p for my 3:30p flight from Orange County to San Jose. It was probably the shortest flight I’ve ever been on and it was on the smallest plane I’ve ever flown in…

It was seriously smaller than a bus! I couldn’t even stand up straight inside of it…

Fortunately, I was in the one-seat aisle on the left. The flight was only an hour long, which was 15 minutes less than scheduled. I got to the airport around 4:30p, got my suitcase, hailed a cab, and checked into my hotel by 5:00p. It took me less than three hours for me to get from my condo in the OC to my hotel room in SJ… not a bad start!

This was my first time ever in San Jose and I stayed at the Fairmont, which was pretty nice and roomy…

I had a nice view, too…

I fired up my laptop, checked emails and got some work done, then headed out for a quick bite. I had a craving for Chinese or Thai food (I really wanted noodles – like pad thai or something…) and I found 2 places right behind my hotel, but they were both “temporarily closed.” Figures! What the hell does that mean, anyway? I ended up grabbing some grub at Johnny Rockets…

My friends, Audrey and Jesse, finally got in and checked in at the Hilton, so I headed over there to meet up with them. I snapped a pic of the convention center on the way…

Unfortunately, the shots I took of the system error message that appeared on the electronic billboard were just a bright blur… I hope a few of you saw it, too. It was pretty humorous…

Anyway, I used to work with Audrey and Jesse and they are still kickin’ ass for my previous employer. So, we caught up on goings-on and then headed out to the Marriot Bar. Apparently, most everyone else was at the BoDog party… and from what I’ve heard, it was a great time. Had I known, I would’ve asked for an invite… but I didn’t know so many peeps would be there…

After a couple drinks, we walked around town and ended up at Sofa Lounge. That place was pretty damn cool. There was a live band and a good crowd. The coolest part was the huge room that featured a bunch of different types of seating areas and curtains… it was like… a sofa lounge…

Monday, August 7th

So, I got up Monday morn, got ready, threw on my MP3 player, and walked on over to the convention center. On the way, I took this pic of the cool fountains outside the Fairmont…

One of my favorite sessions on Monday was “The Search Landscape” in which I thoroughly enjoyed Bill Tancer’s (Hitwise) presentation. I have his blog bookmarked, but never really read it. Now that I’ve met him and heard him speak, I’ll definitely be keeping a closer eye on his posts. Very interesting information from the datageek, himself…

My other favorite session was “SEM Via Communities, Wikipedia & Tagging” which featured an all-star panel that included Neil Patel, Rand Fishkin, Andy Hagans, Chris Pirillo, and Todd Malicoat. In addition to the useful information that was presented, it was really fun to see the speakers interact with each other. Being a big fan of his and an avid reader of the blog at SEOmoz, I took advantage of the opportunity to meet Rand after the session. What a cool and down-to-earth dude…

I also met Brent Norris, who was covering the session for wowtechminute.com… I’ve been looking for more industry podcasts to download and listen to on my drive to work. This one seems pretty cool because you basically get a minutes worth of industry news and updates for the day…

After the sessions, I ended up getting a free dinner at the City Bar & Grill inside the Hilton. It’s kind of a long story… but basically, the Hilton screwed up a bunch of things for Audrey and Jesse, so they got a bunch of perks and I ended up getting in on this one… :P The Seared Ahi Tuna Concoction Thingy I chowed down was delicious!

Audrey then took me up to the executive lounge to chill (another one of the perks she got). The view was awesome… you could see my hotel!

Then we met up with another former co-worker of mine, John… who also works with Audrey and Jesse. He introduced us to Mike who actually works just down the street from where I work.

We ended up going back to the City Bar & Grill for some drinks. Then, John called it a night and the rest of us headed out to the Giza Hookah Lounge where we smoked some raspberry and orange flavored tobacco and chatted the night away…

Tuesday, August 8th

My favorite session on Tuesday was “Reputation Monitoring & Management” which was very informative. I usually sit in the very front and towards the side where I can best view the speaker and the screen… when I looked back halfway through the session, I was suprised to see that the room was not even 1/3 full. As simple as it is for consumers to generate negative content on the web, I thought that this would be one of the hottest sessions. If you did not attend, I would definitely recommend Andy Beal’s free Online Reputation Monitoring Beginners Guide.

I also went to the “Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issue” session which was the first time I saw Mikkel deMib Svendsen speak. He was sporting his iconic orange suit…

The session was under the Advanced Organic Track, but I felt that the information presented was pretty basic.

After that, I went out to lunch at Johnny Rockets with Audrey and Jesse. Then I walked around the expo hall to check out the exhibitors.

I caught up with Todd Malicoat (Stuntdubl), who I briefly met in Boston, and we chatted at length about his recent announcement among other things. I also met Karl Ribas, who I’ve been chatting with through our blogs even before I started mine! Check out the pics up on Karl’s blog

I ran into Lee Odden a couple of times while he was connecting in the WiFi lounge to post his coverage of the sessions… I also caught up with Ron Butler, who I used to work with back in the day (not that long ago). He is now the Internet Marketing Manager at PlasticSurgery.com.

I also met Bill Slawski (SEO by the SEA) at the “Search Algorithm Research” session. John Glick from Become.com was also on the panel and, not knowing who he was, I was pleasantly surprised to find him to be very informative.

After the sessions, I went back to my hotel to change and then headed back to the convention center to board a bus for the Google Dance. By the time I got there, the line was down the block and two deep! Luckily, Karl Ribas spotted me and I got to hop in towards the front. I got to meet Jessica and Micheal, who both work with Karl.

The Googleplex was crazy! I had so much fun there and it would take me way too long to write everything I did, so I’ll just bullet the highlights:

  • Sat next to Brian Lutz, Director of SEM/SEO at autoeurope.com, on the bus ride there…
  • Met and hung out with Rebecca Kelley, Kat Ortland, and Matt Inman of the SEOmoz crew (quite a good-looking bunch there at SEOmoz, eh?)…
  • Met and hung out most of the night with Andreas Weigend, Ph.D., who used to be the Chief Scientist at Amazon.com and currently teaches at Stanford on top of a whole bunch of other big-time stuff…
  • Met and talked search with three Stanford students who are currently in the MBA program….
  • Met and spoke at length with Adam Lasnik during “Meet the Engineers” – what a super-nice guy!
  • Drank a lot of beer and ate a lot of those spicy corndogs…
  • Sat next to Roger Monti (MartiniBuster) on the bus ride back and chatted each others ears off about linking…

Here are Jesse and Audrey with Matt Cutts…

Audrey and I…

The horde of “Cuttlets” around Matt Cutts at “Meet the Engineers”…

Robot Wars…

Cool, blurry pic inside “Club Google”…

Wednesday, August 9th

Thank GOOGness the “Conversation with Google CEO Eric Schmidt” didn’t start until 10a. Even so, I strolled in about 5 minutes-till and could only get as close as the sixth row…

I’m not sure what I got out of the exchange between Danny Sullivan and Eric Schmidt, but it’s always cool for me to get to see someone of that stature speak…

Then I went to a session that I knew would be good… “Linking Strategies” with Debra Mastaler, Eric Ward, Greg Boser, and Mike Grehan. How can you go wrong with a panel like that? I’ve always liked Eric Ward‘s approach and I was lucky enough to get a chance to meet and chat with him after the session.

I finally caught up with my good friend (and also former co-worker), Mandy, who is now managing search campaigns for AutoBytel. We had a great chat over lunch…

I stayed in the Linking Track the whole day… another great session was “Link Baiting & Viral Search Success” with yet another great panel featuring Rand Fishkin, Cameron Olthuis, Jennifer Laycock, and Chris Boggs. I finally got to meet Chris Boggs (<-some pre-link-love to his new blog?) after the session and I was pleasantly surprised about his enthusiastic reaction when I told him I was Kid Disco! :P

After the sessions, I headed back to my hotel room to take a break from the late nights and full-days of sessions. I had a couple hours to kill before SearchBash, so I checked emails, watched My Own (?), and ordered room service for the Fairmont Super Sushi Special Thingie that I was craving since the day before…

Beautiful. I know some of you may think that looks gross… LOL :P You need to expand your horizons!

So, I headed out to SearchBash around 8p. I went straight to the bar, which was already three-deep, but I got in on the end and the bartender came to me right away. Sweet! I ordered a Jack & Coke for myself and another one for the guy I was next to who was waiting there longer than I was.

When I got the drinks, the other guy disappeared, so I ended up double fisting. I found Audrey, Jesse, John, and Mike and we all stared at the go-go girls for awhile. Then it was time to go back to the bar for more drinks. For some reason, a glass of Jack & Coke in each hand felt right that night, so I double fisted all night long…

The best part of the night was meeting the people that I respect in the industry. These are the peeps whose blogs I read, who I listen to speak at conferences, who I get advice from in the forums… who are highly esteemed…

Now Presenting Kid Disco’s Name Dropping Extravaganza

Not that I haven’t name dropped already, but I hung out with a ton of peeps for the first time at SearchBash.

Neil Patel (ACS), Cameron Olthuis (ACS), Jim Boykin, Joe Morin, David Zuls (Hawaii SEO), Jeremey Schoemaker (ShoeMoney), Loren Baker (SearchEngineJournal), Aaron Wall (SEOBook), and Dave Naylor (DaveN).

I also got to hang out with some peeps that I met before – Kat Ortland, Rebecca Kelley, Bill Slawski, Adam Lasnik, Chris Boggs, and Lee Odden…

I also got an obligatory pic of the discoball…

Between all of the “schmoozing,” I spent most of the night with my SES crush, Gillian (not Rand’s mom – who I’m sure I would’ve had a blast with, as well :P ), who I fully blame for the condition I was in… leading to my late-night debacle.

We ended up going to another bar after SearchBash… and that’s pretty much all I know. LOL… :P

A great party, it was.

Thursday, August 10th

I managed to make it to the last of the sessions, though they were quite a blur for me. I’ll have to go back through my notes, but it would probably be more helpful to go through Search Engine Roundtable’s coverage.

I sat next to Kat Ortland at the “Organic Listings Forum” and we were thinking along the same wavelengths as Barry in regards to those funky-ass chandeliers

After the sessions, I met Lyndseo and I got to chitchat some more with Bill Slawski… what a great guy. I don’t know where the handle “bragadocchio” comes from if it’s a play off of braggadocio. An alter-ego maybe?

Then, I had to head back to my hotel and quickly pack after I discovered that my flight was at 4:45p and there was some crazy security stuff going on.

I got to the airport at 3:30p and flew through check-in and security. I was at my gate by 3:45p. Three hours my ass! LOL…

Audrey, Jesse, and John were already there for their 6:00p flight, so I got to say “lates” to them.

I also chatted with the cops and took a pic of this gorgeous police dog…

I slept for the entire hour of the flight and got home safely at 6:30p.

A Recap of My Recap

Holy crap that was long! …and I’m gonna keep going cuz I’m on a roll!

Check out the sessanjose06 pics up on Flickr…

Anyway, this post is as much for me as it is for anyone who happens to read it. I like that I have this great experience documented now…

I know this is super-long, but I hope it was worth reading. I tried to do something a little different… Other than a few thoughts, I didn’t write any reviews or summaries of the sessions because there are great recaps of them already out there. I thought that it would be cool for you to “see” the experience through my eyes.

I hope that those of you who were at the conference, read through this post and said, “That’s what I was thinking!” or “I was that drunk, too!” or “Next time I’m hangin’ out with Kid Disco!” LOL… :P

Those of you who weren’t at the conference, I hope that this recap of my experience made you think, “I gotta go to an SEO conference and party with Kid Disco!” :P

I had the most fun at this conference, compared with the other two I’ve been to, so far… mostly because of the people that I met…

On that note, I will most likely be at the WebmasterWorld – PubCon Conference in Vegas coming up in November… so, I look forward to another great learning experience… heheh :P

Lates!
—kid disco

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11 pimp-style comments, so far... »

  1. Cameron

    August 15 2006 @ 3:29 am

    Yo, great coverage bro. It was fun chillin’ at the party, I look forward to PubCon.

  2. Chris Boggs

    August 15 2006 @ 7:38 am

    WOW Kid great recap! Thanks for the links to the SER coverage, and the “pre-link love.” Now I have to get that live :P

    It was great hanging with you and I look forward to seeing you when I visit my old haunt San Diego sometime…

  3. Karl Ribas

    August 15 2006 @ 7:57 am

    Great recap Disco… it was long, but cool nonetheless. Love the pics too!

  4. Neil Patel

    August 15 2006 @ 9:02 am

    Nice pictures. I never saw the “Matt Cutts makes me Google” shirt before, it’s hilarious.

  5. Audrey - The Matt Cutts Makes Me Google Girl

    August 15 2006 @ 11:41 am

    Excellent re-cap there CK! Very impressive!

    I really had no idea how much attention I was going to stir up by making those t-shirts for Jess and I. We’re all over the internet.. Well at least the content is appropriate, I’d hate for my Dad to stumble upon anything unsavory LMAO!!!!

    Dinner and Drinks soon!!

    ~Audie

  6. kid disco

    August 15 2006 @ 1:42 pm

    Cameron – What the hell are you doing up at 3:29am???

    Chris – Cameron & Neil are close by, too!

    Karl – Thanks!

    Neil – That pic has been making it’s rounds… very funny.

    Audrey – Thanks! Dinner and drinks, fo sho!

  7. Adam Lasnik

    August 17 2006 @ 3:11 pm

    A belated but hearty KUDOS on the comprehensive post. You really captured the *spirit* of the week better, IMHO, than any other blogger out there. :-)

  8. kid disco

    August 17 2006 @ 7:26 pm

    Adam – Thanks! That means a lot!

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