Blog World Expo 2008

Blogging Superstars!
Hanging out with three men who have really inspired me — Darren Rowse (top), Steve Pavlina (left) & Timothy Ferriss (right).


The Blog World Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada was an amazing event. When I first heard about it I was really curious as to what it might be like, & I was delighted that the stars aligned so that I was able to attend with my dream girl, Nubby Twiglet!

Arriving in Las Vegas in the early evening was pretty fabulous, too, & totally the way to do it. I had never been to Vegas before, & wasn’t sure what to expect, but as my taxi made its way down the Strip, I started to get really excited. Bright lights! Shimmering signs! Hotels in all kinds of ludicrous shapes! It truly is like Disneyland for adults — an amazing, gargantuan, ridiculously fabulous sprawl.

The expo itself was very impressive. It was really well organised, with free wifi, lots of areas to sit down & a convenient location (you can catch the monorail to the Las Vegas Convention Center from almost any hotel on the Strip). The ticket prices were quite substantial (ranging from about $400 to $900), which probably helped to maintain its appeal as an event for “serious bloggers”! I’d say that pretty much everyone there was either making a living off their blog or well on their way, so there were plenty of sessions on monetization (which, after you gather an audience & create some valuable content, is really the next big thing to tick off for anyone wanting to do it full-time).

The best panel I saw was the very first one on Saturday morning, called Making Money With A Blog, featuring John Chow, Jeremy Schoemaker, Brian Clark, Zac Johnson, Jim Kukral & Darren Rowse (my Melbourne BFF!). I made some great notes from listening to what they had to say on the subject of monetising blogs — & all the speakers were worth listening to. One of the panelists revealed that he had made $140,000 in the previous month from his blog alone. Pretty incredible stuff!

The other stand-out event for me (& for Nubby too) was the keynote speech on Sunday, featuring Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Work Week fame, & Mike Shinoda, MC for Linkin Park & Fort Minor, as well as a blogger. I knew that Tim would be great, & he was, but I was very pleasantly surprised by what Mike had to say as well. Even though a lot of his experience was more based in the music industry, plenty of it related back to blogging & the idea of personal branding. Both men had amazing things to say about brand extension, giving your customer (that’d be you guys!) an amazing experience, & even talked a bit about “karmic marketing” — otherwise known as getting back what you give.

Gala + Nubs forever

It was brilliant to go with Nubby, because as well as her super-popular personal blog, she also works on a professional blog for her employers, Nemo Design. A lot of what was spoken about at BWE was really relevant to her industry, & when we split up to go to different sessions, we would regroup & discuss what had been said. It was great to be able to mull & chew over all the new information we had, especially with someone who is doing something similar to me (which could almost be called “personality blogging”).

My only complaints about the event are thus (& they are few & far between):
I think there could have been more women on panels. I only went to one panel with a woman on it, which I thought was kind of strange. I know that there were a couple of other blogging conventions going on at the same time, so maybe that’s where all the women were, but there are plenty of girls kicking blogniverse booty, & I’d like to hear more from them & their unique perspectives next year! (I’d also like to speak next time — hint hint!)
I didn’t get to meet Guy Kawasaki. I saw him a bunch of times — he was wearing a bright orange shirt, he looked kind of like a traffic cone & was hard to miss! — but I was too shy to go up to him, & then he left the convention early! Talk about kicking myself!
$8.77 sandwiches. Enough said.

I came away from the conference bursting with ideas & inspiration, & feeling really good about the people I’d met & what I was doing personally. It was great to meet a whole lot of people in the same industry as me, too — I talk to bloggers online all the time but not so much in real life!

Before we left Las Vegas, Nubby & I were already discussing coming back for BWE09, which happens in October. We had such a fantastic time & are intending on making it into an annual pilgrimage! Vegas was the perfect place to hold it, because after an entire day of cramming your head full of information, it was wonderful to escape into the warm desert air & have a good time!

I think that anyone who is looking at blogging as a source of income would be silly to miss this event. It is definitely worth the money — if not from what you learn, then from a networking standpoint alone!

I also want to give a shout out (hee!) to Darren Rowse! His generosity & general awesomeness is unparalleled, & I really appreciate it. You’re a champ, I love ya!

Extra For Experts:
You can read Nubby’s write-up on the expo here.