Tipping Pitches: Technology: Blog World Opening Day


Friday, October 16, 2009

Technology: Blog World Opening Day

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I'm in Vegas. When you write a Vegas blog entry, there is no need for order or purpose. Let's just recap this baby. Today.

I woke up at 6 am on the couch because my wife may have H1N1. You knew that if you've been reading. Anyway, I threw my crap together, jumped in the car, started backing out of the driveway.

Wait, I'd better make sure I have everything.

This is a rule that all men should follow. We're not the brightest. We're less bright at 6:30 in the morning. I nearly left for the airport without my wallet. Luckily, I caught myself. It was probably my wife's voice in my head screaming not to screw up.

Coffee, water, bags, on to the airport. Something peaceful about driving to the airport at 6:30 in the morning on a toll road against typical traffic.

Park. In the airport. In the plane. Text some stuff. Felt like I was the only one over the age of 22. Fly to Vegas.


Now, I was going to Vegas for the BlogWorld New Media Expo. The night before, I had decided on a schedule of events I would attend. It wasn't until then that I realized that the one I should attend most, about social media and cancer, was happening first.

My flight arrived on time. That wasn't the problem. Got in around 9:30 am-ish. Sprinted to the shuttles. Bought a ticket. Stood there. Waited. Stood there. Waited. Shuttle arrived. Got into the shuttle. Waited.

Finally the shuttle leaves.


I missed the entire first panel. Pissed off about it. It wasn't until later that I realized just how much I should have been pissed off about it.

Anyway, I got there in time to talk to one of the panelists, Natalie Lent. I don't know a whole lot about Natalie, but she seemed nice and I look forward to hearing more about what I missed. There was another panelist whom I should have noticed, but I'll talk about that later.

Went to a bunch of stuff. Understand that I know no one at this thing. I'm a new kid on the block. I've been to nerd conventions in Vegas in the past, but those were for fantasy sports nerds. These are nerds, too, but a different breed. Slightly cooler, to be honest.

One thing that bugged me throughout the day was the arrogance of people based on their number of Twitter followers or blog readers. Something needs to be said here, but you won't hear it at this event. I'm not on the inside, but I'm still techie literate. And I don't know who any of you are. Not trying to be a jerk or anything. Just be humble. If you're famous, it's a very small niche of fame.

If anyone understands this, it's me. I was famous for a while. In a very small niche of nerds. Very small. I wasn't nearly as cool or famous as I thought I was.

If you truly are famous, you're rich. And paparazzi are parked out front. But that ain't happenin', so get over yourself.

Regardless, it was a more eventful first day than a typical day at a fantasy sports conference. Even though I went in without knowing anyone, I met a few people. The highlight, though, came in the last panel about making money with Twitter and Facebook.

It wasn't the content that was so valuable (it was fine). I was texting my wife when the question of number of Twitter followers came up. Who has more than 5,000? One hand went up. How many do you have? 33,0000. What company are you with?

Alex's Lemonade Stand.



Our son Michael was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, in 2003. A couple of years later, we became aware of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, set up by a young girl with Neuroblastoma and her parents. They would hold lemonade stands to raise money to benefit cancer research. Many would follow suit in her honor.

It is because of Michael and Alex's Lemonade Stand that I am with American Cancer Society today. So when I heard this, I was excited to speak with the person representing ALSF. Texted my wife. We theorized about whom it may be. Finally, the event ended.

I immediately headed back two rows to speak with her. Turned out there were two people with Alex's Lemonade, Melissa and Jay. Jay, of course, is Jay Scott. Alex's dad. And he was on the first panel of the day that I had missed.

This, to me, is celebrity. Jay isn't famous to most of you. But, just as some bloggers may be important to your lives, Jay is that light for me. We have a lot in common. One is obvious. But we'd soon discover much more.

Alex was Jay and Liz's only daughter. Alex would eventually pass away. She had three brothers.

My wife Lisa and I worked with Alex's Lemonade Stand since 2005. We raised more money every year until this past summer, when the economy took a toll on everyone. Lisa worked very closely with ALSF during the past few years. They were on a first name basis.

We had a good initial conversation and agreed to meet up later.

In between, I listened to another talk to a room full of people I did not know. Figuring this group out.

It's about 6:00. I'm hungry. The batteries on my Blackberry and iPod Touch are both about to die. How does this happen? They were both fully charged before leaving this morning.

Head back to the hotel. Charge up the devices. Talk to my sick wife. And wait for the charging to finish.

And wait.

Seriously, my patience on the Blackberry is wearing thin. Not only do their apps suck, but it loses its charge way too fast. Same is true for the iPod Touch, but at least the Touch charges quickly. I would have had to sit in my room for two hours to charge the Blackberry. Eventually I gave up and left for the Bellagio.

Ah, yes. The trek.

You see, on a map it looks like the Bellagio is pretty close to the Renaissance. It's not. Something I forgot (or maybe never knew) about Vegas is that nothing off of the strip has a sidewalk. I spent 30 minutes running and speed walking along traffic, trying to find my way to the strip. It was a little crazy. I thought I'd get mugged. I didn't. I'm a hero.

Eventually, I arrived to the Bellagio in a ball of sweat. Should I be embarrassed? Of course not, I know nobody in this place.

Walk around. Push through crowds. Start getting flashbacks of college 12 years earlier. Starting to remember that, while I have fond memories of college, it wasn't as great as I remembered.

Then I spot Jay and Melissa. Thankfully.

Great time. Love these people. Learned a lot about ALSF that I didn't previously know. Compared some stories. Talked about parenting three boys. Getting older. The non-profit world.

Eventually, Jay and I realized we were too old for this joint and headed back to our respective hotels.

Then I remembered that I hadn't eaten since lunch and had a Renaissance burger and fries. Can I tell you that these are the greatest fries ever created? Freaking amazing. They should call this meal "Fries with Burger." The burger is the side.

I still know only a small handful of people in this world. Still not real sure how I feel about the group as a whole.

But I'm at home.


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