For those that don’t know, Blog Indiana is the place that inspired my career. Back in 2008, with the exception of a beautiful side writing gig I regret not taking full time, I only saw infomercial and niche product ecommerce websites, blogging and live event registrations. We saw heavy traffic from TV budgets and only cared about profits. We started testing and working on SEO & social media – even have some incredible results – but it felt empty until that August when Nichole Baiel, Jonathan Thomas and I made the drip down from Duneland for the first #BIN.
Blog Indiana 2008 didn’t have an event hashtag that year, but we sure went to town on the tweet wall. It was the first year everyone was Twitter-happy.
I was so invigorated we went out to the Apple store and I bought an iPhone 3 just to be able to better communicate via social media. There we met a community to which I’m glad I get to listen in on and contribute occasionally. Shawn, Noah, Douglas, Erik, Robby and PLacy – when you could get him away from GenCon.
It was the weekend of incredible cookies and construction traffic on the west side where our hotel was located. It was when we realized the 45K monthly hits our review blogs were getting compared with the rest of the community and had enough experience to argue over the duplicate content filter vs. user experience where Jonathan & I sarcastically got to go, “really, you ranked for ‘Absinthe Indiana‘ all by yourself?”
I realized we could contribute to the community and that though we were in our little Duneland home town, our skills were reaching international appeal. But the people in Indy were doing work that actually helped the everyday people instead of only selling to them. It was a breath of fresh aire. I felt at home for the first time in my career. And from there, I’ve only got to meet more and more incredible people – as well as have another reason to sneak down and act stupid with the boys from V-Town.
From that first #BIN we realized the possibilities were endless. Jonathan is now a world-reknown niche blogger & founder of Anglotopia. Nichole is living the dream life in Chicago. I’ve got Project 03 coming up like a flower sorry, McCartney fans. But I wonder if any of us would have seen those possibilities given the unconscionable work stress of which we were enduring. I would like to think so.
So every year, while others look to speak and network – all for great reasons – I sit back, recharge my batteries, see old friends, listen and give back wherever I can. I missed 2011 to tend the the OldOld man
though I think I’ve actually attended more sessions than DK! while he recovered from heart valve transplant but I got to liveblog 2010, host the Blog Indiana Valparaiso event in 2010 and help push the other road trip events. I event showed off my old Valet Parking Skills that year. I also got to do the interviews for 2012 and I hope to do more if they’ll have me. And yeah, who was watching the snacks in the Vitamin Water room this year? This guy!
Because if I miss another year, I could miss things like this:
- BG Kahuna in a bunny costume (2010)
- Jason Bean’s obnoxiously huge smiley face on the back of his laptop (2008-10?)
- Mike Magan giving perhaps the most gentlemanly presentation I’ve ever seen (2012)
- Jane Byers Goodwin going on beautiful rants about her students horrific grammar skills (2012)
- Nathan Hand depicting a beautiful story of a random millennial raising over $700k for an abused bus driver with the help of a social media platform. (2012)
- Jason Falls wonderful defense of his lack of need to “SEO” Social Media Examiner anymore (2009 keynote day 1) –he was right.
- Falls & I showing Chris Brogan the Gourd’s “Gin & Juice” on my iphone 3g at Scotty’s Brewhouse downtown Indy (2009)
- Chris Brogan’s keynote and our back and forth on using tweets for defense / offense (2009)
- Chris Baggott’s buying the group a round at Scotty’s on day one and forgetting to pay the tab. (2009)
- Liveblogging Falls, Baggot & Jay Baer during a panel discussion (2010)
- Jenn Lisak reminding me to not forget the Robert the Bruce from the best brewery in Indiana – Three Floyds in Munster. Speaking of that, Lindsey, why weren’t they on the craft brew panel? And, Jeremy Williams, have you had their smoked turkey sandwich with bacon on pretzel bun? – and that is what they call, “Defending The Region.” Though:
- Three Floyds has been having such demand for their beer they’re struggling to keep up with demand let along any attempts at public appearances
- And, Jeremy, the list of 46 sandwiches was tasty otherwise. Just remember we can get to Indy in under two hours, buddy! (2012)
- Still being owed a day of having my chair politely pulled out and pushed in for me by two of the Slingshot SEO red-shirt contingency for winning in Duckpin Bowling. I even did that 10th frame and tiebreak 11th frame left-handed. That’s crap! And while I’m at it – Holly Hammond – Daver was the one throwing the duckpin bowling ball down your lane when you were duckpinning. I swear (2012).
- Speaking of Daver: rooftop dinner. Yeah. It was romantic. What? Look!(2012)
- And Bob Burchfield sitting in the back, keeping a low profile unless he’s asking poignant questions, and yet probably running the biggest blog out of all of us – aroundindy.com (2008?-2012)
Without Blog Indiana I wouldn’t have some great traditions:
- Being in chronic agreement with Robby Slaughter
- Having a philosophical connection to Erik Deckers – F*** yeah
- Chris Theisen! (2010) Wish you could have come out this year, buddy! Glad we can still grab food when I’m in town. I’ll be around Indy in Halloween to hopefully get another lesson in theater hopping from my “mentor,” Douglas Karr. Hope you can learn with me from the master.
- BeanCup / Cafe 120
- 2010 AFC Championship game with Noah & Shawn – who knew Drew Brees would get them next week?
And I’ll go back again next year and the year after and the year after, if they’ll let me in the doors.
About Blog Indiana
If you at all have a tinkering for Internet Marketing and have any real ties to the Hoosier state, make it out to Blog Indiana. It’s in August every year. It’s the best internet marketing convention in the state for a reason. That reason. Well, here’s a hint: note how I haven’t even touched on the lessons which you can pick up along the way. That is another post for another day!