I had this list. I even had a plan. I had a plan for the event that The Plan made no sense, so I’d have another one in case. I even packed my suitcase the same way I was packing my head. Upon arriving to the Search Engine Strategies Seminar in New York City last Sunday night, I felt really good that I was organized and had a plan.

The plan had some easy parts. The first one was to convince my husband Eric that he needed to join me, as he does every time I attend any search engine marketing event. I’m seeing impaired enough that he’s not only my husband and best friend, he’s also my seeing eye person. As long as they have beer at these events, he never refuses to go. He is “Mr. Tech Toys” and can tap into his (software development performance) work via his gadgets. He’s happy to work in the hotel room, lobbies and bar lounges while I do my thing.

Eric has met all my friends and even made a few himself. So, after he drove us to New York city Sunday night, and we were later comfortably settled in the lobby bar, he had his beer and I was soon catching up with my long-time friend, Bill Slawski of SEObytheSea.

Twice, on the way to New York, Bill and I called each other on our cell phones but I live in the boonies of Pennsylvania and kept losing my signal. He knew when we’d be arriving and so it was easy to meet up and begin the official Bar Ritual.

The Official Bar Ritual Rules

This is where you choose your table, prepare the waiter or waitress you’ll be there for 5 hours and make sure that every empty seat nearby is tagged and ready to be grabbed for the incoming “rest of the gang” that will eventually appear.

Eric saw Mike Grehan before I did. Always surrounded by a crowd, Mike called out my name, in his lovely British accent…“And here’s the lovely Kim Krause” (he probably just said “And here’s Kim Krause” but when he speaks with that accent, I can’t help but imagine I’m suddenly gorgeous.)

I stood up, gave him a big hug and stupidly said, (I’d had a few drinks by then), “I’m your buddy!” (in reference to a post he made in his blog, where he said that.)

I believe he took this announcement well, and after working the room a bit and greeting everybody and anybody in New York, Mike joined Bill, Eric and myself. He brought with him Jim Banks, which really was an immense thrill for me. Jim used to be a Moderator at Cre8asiteforums. He was introduced to me online by Ammon Johns and I trusted Ammon’s recommendation. Jim later went off to become rich and famous, and of course too busy to moderate.

He is hilarous. His company was bought up by Mike’s company, which made the news. But, what you may not know is that he is engaged to be married. Not only that, he shared his dream of working from a hammock on the island of Cyprus, which appealed to me very much.

A Traditional Dinner Experience with Mike Grehan

The legend goes that if you wish to join Mike for dinner, half the fun is watching how quickly the plan goes from “just the three of us” to “Does the resturant have a floor that can handle this crowd?”

There was plan for Monday night. Because, you see, I have been to SES without a plan and learned my lesson. So, Christine Churchill and I were trying to put together a “dinner somewhere” weeks earlier to celebrate her birthday on February 27, as well as Matt Bailey’s birthday (and the birth of newborn daughter), and my husband’s 40th birthday. She mentioned this to Mike, who was wishing to take Barry Schwartz for dinner, in honor of his years of blog coverage at SES seminars. Mike knows that Barry and I are good friends, and so he asked Christine if we’d consider combining our efforts.

And so it came to be that the small dinner became a 15 person gathering after the SEMPO “meet and greet” Monday night. We walked several blocks in the windy, freezing cold to LeMarais, at around 8pm, but the food was worth it. Jill Whalen was with us, as well as two of her co-workers from Search Creative. There was also Jim Banks and Christine Churchill. Rebecca Lieb, Kevin Newcomb, Erin Brenner were there (all with ClickZ) as well as, Bill Slawski, me, my husband Eric, Barry (RustyBrick) and his fiance, Yisha (whom I truly enjoyed meeting and chatting with), Mike Grehan, and Diane Aull (aka “Torka” at High Rankings Forum).

Matt Bailey, who has just launched his new company, Site Logic wasn’t flying in until Tuesday, so he was unable to attend the dinner. Happy Birthday Matt, anyway!

Danny Sullivan was our missing guest. He told Mike he was coming (Mike had said), but we presumed he was too busy or had to be at the ASK.com event held that night (which we heard was VERY LOUD and not conducive to networking.)

Nevertheless, we had Danny’s chair. It was across from me and between Jim and Barry. I have met Danny. It was last year and he had long enough to say he wished he’d more than 2 seconds so we could chat. In honor of him, I put the extra piece of birthday cake that Mike had presented to the birthday folks, in front of Danny’s empty chair.

Yesterday afternoon, while standing near the esclators on the second floor talking to some people, my husband, Eric (who never forgets a face) suddenly elbows me and says, “There goes Danny.” I went all buggy eyed, scanning the crowd, but alas, Eric said he was racing at high speed and there was no way I’d see him. I’ve often heard that Danny is “always running at these things” during an SES event.

Maybe Jim Banks should get a hammock on the island of Cyprus for Danny Sullivan too.

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Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, SEO and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, information architecture and persuasive design. She shared her passion for Usability and SEO through her site and private consulting at Cre8pc for 17 years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability testing, customer experience and conversions design.

My Online Course: Web Site Usability 101


American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)

Information Architecture Institute

Usability Professionals Association (UPA)