Michelle recently wrote an article about some of the networking events that the BatchBlue communications team is attending. We then hosted an #sbbuzz Twitter chat discussing with our fellow small business owners how to make the most of those events (thanks for the tips, buzzers!). So I thought I would share some insights and stories from a few of these events as they happen.
I recently flew down to Washington, DC to attend Network Solution’s Grow Smart Business conference. I heard about this event from my very good Twitter friend Shashi Bellamkonda (@shashib), the Social Media Swami at Network Solutions. I knew anything that he is involved in would be worthwhile, but honestly I had not predicted just how productive this travel would be.
I flew down the night before the one day conference and visited my old co-workers at Matrix Group International. While at their offices I learned that Matrix CEO, and my former business partner Joanna Pineda (@jmpineda) was one of the speakers at the Grow Smart Conference (such a small small business world). I also learned from Joanna and from Twitter that the socially over-achieving @shashib and the nice folks at WASP Barcode were hosting a happy hour that night about 2 blocks from my hotel. Don’t have to ask me twice!
At the happy hour I was delighted to see more great friends Brent Leary from CRM Essentials (@brentleary) and Anita Campbell (@smallbiztrends) from Small Biz Trends. I first met Brent a few years ago at the Inbound Marketing Summit (I sat in the front row and devoured his then prescient talk on Social CRM). We’ve kept in touch through Twitter, occasional conference sitings and surprise radio interviews down south. And Brent introduced me to Anita this past winter at the Small Business Technology conference in NYC. I had always loved Anita’s site SmallBizTrends.com and could tell immediately why it is such a valuable resource. Anita personifies the resourcefulness and integrity you find in every article on her site.
I also got a chance to meet iPhone application developer Barg Upender from Mobomo.com and test his latest iPhone game, a combination pinwheel and target shooting challenge inspired by his son. I held the high score for about 3 seconds until the very tall and much more skilled Eric Olsen from TransFS.com and Tech cocktail took control. Very excited to work with both of these folks on some BatchBookiness fun in the future.
And yes, in case you are wondering, I did make it to the conference. I’ve been to more than a few events now and prefer this formatting – one large room with a succession of speakers and some vendor booths, information tables, and munchies on the periphery. It was easy to sneak in and listen to the juicier parts of the programming and then check in with a few of the vendors in between.
I helped chip in at a Network Solutions “Experts Booth” for part of the day and had to leave early to catch a plane back to Boston. But I did catch a few of the great speakers including headliner Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and author of The Long Tail and Free. Since the tabby stripes down at the end of his metaphorical tail refer to the global niche markets small businesses are so successfully serving, I was understandably captivated.
The rest of the sessions were captured in live webcasts – a generous move by Network Solutions and treat for the small business world. They are worth a listen. Unfortunately I missed my pals Joanna and Ramon Ray from SmallBizTechnology.com in the final session on small business social media. I was able to listen in later, though and follow some of commentary on Twitter. What better way to learn the power of small business social media?