For about five minutes this morning, when my cell phone alarm clock went off, I started to talk myself out of attending the Keynote talk with Danny Sullivan and Netscape General Manager, Jason McCabe Calacanis. I behaved myself and went. Which is a good thing because I found Lisa Barone standing alone waiting with a hundred other people packed into a tiny area outside the doors to the International Ballroom. And, I got to sit with her.
It probably sounds lame but sitting with your favorite blog writers is really fun. It’s more than finally putting a face on the person whose words you seek out in your blog feeds every day. Most times, the face never matches what you imagined. I had in my head that Lisa is a blond, for example. She’s got dark hair, like I do. And huge brown eyes. She’s sweet as heck, and young. You wouldn’t get the impression, in casual conversation with her, that she happens to write in one of the funniest blogs in the SEO/M industry.
Bloggers remain the secret under-belly of the Internet. Our voices are loud and clear. And scraped. But, at the end of the day, we’re just like everybody else on the planet. It’s the same thing with “A-list” people in any industry. Or, “B-list”, which is where I apparently fall. When you attend a conference in your industry and start to meet the people who are your teachers, or who helped you get your business off the ground, or inspired you in some kind of way, you suddenly are all on the same plane of existence. It’s a level field. The god and goddess energy dissolves.
I took notes from this morning’s keynote. The huge ballroom looked packed. We got right down in the front. Andrew Goodman was behind us. (He does a near perfect imitation of Mike Grehan, btw.) I tried to record it and had trouble with my tape recorder. At breakfast later, Eric took a look at it and discovered I had somehow moved some settings so that the recorder really did work. It was trying to tell me it couldn’t hear the talk that well. I laughed at first at how smarter the tape recorder is than I am. But, in thinking about it more, how sad that I didn’t understand what it was trying to communicate to me. This is why I’m into usability. It’s so much more than link decoration, logical navigation and even the perks of Web 2.0 interaction.
If we don’t understand the message, the communication device is failing to perform effectively.
Which leads me to Rand Fishkin. At breakfast, his body was telling him that he over-did it last night. Most likely he had warning signs last night, but this is a man who networks and usually seems injected with unseen energy resources. This morning, at brunch, he had only one mission and that was to get himself hydrated and build up some new energy again. I got to play “mom”, which comes naturally I guess because I didn’t hesitate to put my hand on his forehead to check for a fever. (I know, I know. You’re all jealous now.) He was warm. But, with juice and lots of fruit, he seemed to be improving by the time we all left. Seeing Joe Morin certainly cheered him up. I hope that Rand continues to feel better today. Take it easy on yourself!
Rebecca, also from SEOMoz, was also at breakfast. I got to spend time with her last night too. She’s a bright young woman, and with all the training she’s getting, will be one to watch if she continues in the marketing industry. She’s working with and being exposed to many of the search engine industries top brass. I hope they don’t wear her down and that she holds onto her sense of humor. It will save her as the years go on and keep her strong.
About Last Night
Despite a lot of “Please go to the Yahoo! party,Kim” invites, I was content to hold down the Hilton fort with Eric, Matt Bailey, Joe Dolson and Jonathan Hochman. For awhile we were in one bar, at a table next to where Shoemoney was hanging with a bunch of folks. Liana Evans dropped by with her hatbait hats. (See below for more on that.)
We were waiting for Kitty O’Shea’s bar to open to get dinner, but there was private party being held there and we couldn’t get in until 7:30. So, Matt, Eric and Joe ordered Calimari and Rebecca and I ate from the bowl of nuts. Rand dropped by and eventually dragged Rebecca away, kicking and screaming, to some wild party somewhere. I was taking pictures and learning how to use my new camera at the same time. That was hilarious, because I was also drinking Fuzzy Navels on an empty stomach (‘cept for some peanuts and cashews.)
We got to Kitty’s at 7:29 and watched as they opened the doors to the public. A gentleman told us we could enter and “find a table”. As if. But, Matt, Eric, Joe and I did find a small round one with stools near a room where the free food was. Jonathan found us soon afterwards and got the idea that nobody was eating all that free food in there. Some Chinese cook guy came out, talked to somebody important, and soon we were invited into that room for free dinner! I thought the guys were so funny, as they made first one trip with plates piled high of food, followed by a shrug, and “Why not?” group thought, whereby they all marched back in again and got seconds. I have a picture of these same men eating tiny slivers of finger cakes. I ate a small carrot, piece of celery and a piece of ham. Dan Thies joined us, and the guys tried to get him to eat the free food too, but all he wanted was a beer.
Matt and my husband, Eric, get along famously. So much so that when Matt saw me earlier in the day in the press room, he says, “Hi Kim. Where’s Eric?” They have the same odd sense of humor and can finish one another’s sentences. I like to watch men drink and talk. It’s similar to watching boys playing on the playground, only they don’t each other off the swings or race to the cool slides to see who gets there first. Now, they simply try to outwit each other with trivia on movies and music, watch other guys try to pick up women, and make sure they always know where the waitress is, so they can get more beer.
Joe Dolson is pretty busy these days with a new home and more work coming in, but I hope to be able to send you to something he wrote that is very helpful for those who want to design pages with accessibility built-in from the start. He and Matt are my first choices for staying on top of accessibility issues.
Say what you wish about linkbait, drinkbait and heavenknowswhatbait, but I think the one true gem of wisdom in Liana Evans’ Hatbait riot is that this woman is passing out her business card and asking for the business cards of everyone she is taking pictures of. She can make people put on a silly hat and hold up a sign. I watched her convince people who really didn’t want to do it. (It was funny to stand by and listen as Liana asked Barry (Rustybrick), who is Jewish, if he’d like to wear a Santa hat.). WritesLi,
“The winner (as long as I have their contact information) will win a $25 gift card courtesy of Search Marketing Gurus.”
I decided to kick the sex goddess image and be a Princess instead. I especially liked the blinking lights on the wand.
My husband chose to wear the Fisherman’s hat, because I drag him to every conference I go to so he can get a “vacation” from his job. (Not true. He’s been dialed into his office and glued to work from our hotel room.) I love the picture though. Btw, David Temple, thank you for the kind toast to Eric and my second wedding anniversary on Sunday. That was really thoughtful, and also to Rand for the public shout out on it as well.
I’m out of time. I’ll be covering two sessions today and have an interview scheduled, as long as my tape recorder holds.