Okay so we have all been to our share of panels... and I have one to do at 9 am tomorrow -yet did not rush to my room to get a goodnight's sleep - so where is the real benefit of this event?
The after hours networking...newbies and seasoned attendees we all learn so much more in those moments between loud noises in the bars and clubs where things become more relaxed.
Step up to the bar and order a drink and the guy or girl next to you works for Google, Yahoo or MSN or spends large amounts of money with them and will tell you their stories.
The night before last Yahoo threw a fun event - even though I hate disco - drinks flowed and the food was good and everyone had a smile on their faces as they talked to an ear explaining what they did while partnerships formed over the noise of a band or DJ.
Have you tried this.... I have explained ways to succeed and have heard others tell me things that work for them.
We love what we do... or so the consensus seems to be the last couple of days.
Embrace it.... there is no need to feel as if you have to hold those cards that close to your chest... relax the grip and you can walk away with friendships and information that you may never grab at the panels. This is an event... a place to learn and develop relationships.
Don't get me wrong the panels are another vital source of information and if you want to know where various parts of the industry are - they are invaluable. But the after hours events are a great source of networking. People like Jake Baille of TrueLocal embraces that belief and his event last night at a small but really fun Blues club shows the understanding of this principle.
Google, on the otherhand seems to be stepping away from their customer based roots and moving to a more corporate approach - hey the party last night was fun and the drinks and food were in abundance - but I have heard they had a close vote about discontinuing the Google Dance (not wanting to get people full of liquor and launching them in to the night - somewhat responsible) but the impact it could have on Wall St. and stock prices convinced them to continue their event.
Guys wake up - forget about Wall Street - it is the people that attend your event that oversee the PPC spends... and beyond a short impact in your stock value the people that impact your numbers are at the Mountain View events every year.
I will add my views of the exhibitors tomorrow... but grab me anytime if you need some help!
Discuss the SES networking events in our forums.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!