Gah. I’ll never catch up on email; might as well blog a little bit.
I had a really good time in Seattle. I got to meet many more members of the Google Kirkland office, go up in the Space Needle, visit the Science Fiction Museum, walk around Pike Place Market, and even see a little bit of West Seattle. West Seattle was especially fun. I ate delicious macaroni and cheese at West 5 and picked up the new album from The National. It’s called Boxer and it sounds like a little like Lou Reed and The Feelies had a love child. I like it.
Also, there was a search conference. This was the first SMX conference, and it was a blast. I think Danny did the right thing by pitching the first conference to an advanced audience. It made for a really friendly, laid-back atmosphere. I had a lot more people just walk up to say hello than I usually do, and that was wonderful. I met nice people from Austin, Isla Vista, and all over the world. If you look at the end-of-conference picture, you can just barely see me at the very top left (I’m wearing my green Ale-8 Tshirt). I talked to several Googlers during and after the conference, and we all got good feedback and ideas from the attendees.
As you may know, SMX joins two other major search conferences: Search Engine Strategies and PubCon. I don’t know how the competition between the industry conferences will turn out, but it’s good that each conference is ready to offer what they believe is the best experience for SEOs and webmasters. Adam Lasnik spoke on three panels at SES Toronto last week, and I’m looking forward to sitting down with him and going over the feedback from the last couple weeks. Please be patient though; I’m still digging out from my vacation too.
A few highlights of the conference:
- Seeing all the familiar SEO faces at the MSN party the first night (and getting to meet a few new folks!).
- Starting out the conference with a Q&A session with Danny, me, and the audience. Danny and I got to use these little headset mikes as if we were a boy band. I pretty much despise PowerPoint-heavy presentations, so it was fun to just talk search with a few hundred webmasters. We covered everything from supplemental results (and how they’re indexed) to Wikipedia to Stephen Colbert. You can read the write-ups in live-blogging style, a slightly more cleaned up “Susan Esparza” style, an abbreviated summary, or even a write-up in haiku format. Some write-ups don’t mention that to keep the conference fun and casual, Danny agreed to strip from his normal suit into shorts and red Vans.
- Patrick from feedthebot.com asked why the webmaster guidelines aren’t more detailed, and then Riona and Vanessa managed to launch more detailed webmaster guidelines in time for the second day of the conference.
- If you like video, Mike McDonald caught me for a video interview later that day to recap the topics that had come up at the conference so far. I also got Matt-jacked into a dark room by Rand for the “SMX Diaries” video interviews. And WebProNews had some snippets of me from the Q&A session.
- If that’s not enough Matt-video for you, I just realized while doing this write-up that someone posted the video of the keynote Q&A session that I did at SES London a few months ago. That’s pretty funny.
- A nice Yahoo mixer, complete with Yahoo ice cubes (they’re purple plastic and light up when you put them in liquid). I saved a couple as prizes for my team.
- A good dinner with other search folks.
- Meeting lots and lots of cool people at the Google party. I never made it into the dance floor until the party was winding down, but I did get to see the vintage arcade games that were set up and the cool Google ice sculpture. Thanks to the Googlers who helped organize the party or manned tables to answer questions there!
- Meeting Satya Nadella and hearing his Q&A with Danny Sullivan.
- Lots of other fun panels the second day, including the “Give it up!” session.
- The end-of-conference photo and the general niceness of the Third Door team to take care of speakers.
- Woohoo for wifi! I really don’t want to attend any conference without wifi at this point.
- Hitting the SEOmoz SMX party. It was a bit of an off-night in terms of my ability to represent Google well. I bowled a 133, which is okay but not spectacular. Plus Rebecca “Bec” Kelley and Cameron Olthius beat me and a guy from Microsoft at eight-ball. I’d love to blame the MSFT fellow, but in truth I started the game trying to sink the wrong team’s balls. Of course, Cameron let me sink a ball before mentioning that. On the bright side, Danny and I got to rumble in pool. He brought his A-game, and I barely managed to eke out a win. Add in the chance to compare notes on how Google is doing with a couple blackhat spammers, and overall I’d call it a great party. Well done, SEOmozzers.
I know I’m missing a few things, but those are some of the things that stand out looking back a couple weeks later.