In DC for the inauguration

My wife and I decided to head to Washington D.C. for the inauguration, and I’m already glad that I did. On the way out of a party, I spotted Minnesota Senator-elect Al Franken (Update: he’s not a Senator-elect yet, as the results haven’t been certified). Someone asked him to do a short “Hi kids, stay in school” video message for a classroom in Florida. A lady was telling him his car had arrived, and he said told her to wait just a while because this was for a teacher. Then he told the kids to study hard.

For Christmas I got a Flip MinoHD and I’ve been carrying it around in my pocket in case anything worthy of video happened to me. So I whipped out my Flip and got Al Franken in video. Franken was in public and recording a message to inspire kids to study, so I really don’t think he’ll mind if I post it here:

Al Franken: if you do mind, let me know and I’ll take the video down. It was just a nice coincidence given that I’d been in D.C. for maybe two hours before seeing my first senator. Oh, and that’s not even counting how I saw Barack Obama after I landed at the airport:

Matt Cutts and Barack Obama

I’ll be in D.C. for a few days, so if folks could avoid emailing me this coming week, that would be appreciated. 🙂

Ideal conference badge

I don’t even know how many conferences I’ve been to in the last decade, but it’s probably 30-40. In that time, maybe 2-3 conferences have really nailed the conference badge for attendees. Here’s what the ideal conference badge should look like, in my opinion:

Best conference badge

I’ll walk you through the important features of this badge:
– Each attendee’s first name needs to be large and easily readable. When you’re walking up to someone and they look half-familiar, you want to be able to glance down at their badge and see a first name that will jog your memory or allow you to greet them. The last name and company name don’t matter as much, so they should be smaller to make more room for the first name.
Make the badge big. Four inches by six inches maybe.
– At every conference, about half the people are walking around with their badge facing backwards so that no one can see their name. That’s why conferences should put the attendee’s name on the front and the back of the badge.
– If your conferences costs hundreds (or thousands) of dollars, throw a little hologram sticker up in the top right to keep people from creating fake badges. If fake badges aren’t a problem, don’t bother.

There you have it. Conferences, please don’t write the name in a tiny 12-point font or put the name only on one side of the badge. See also Mike Davidson’s take on the right way to do a conference badge.