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Any tips for a PubCon newbie?

first timer conference goer and first time pubcon

     
4:46 pm on Sep 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Since this (PubCon Las Vegas) will be my first conference of any type and first pubcon, I figured I'd see if I could get any tips or guidance from those who've been there and done that.

I tried to do a search for pubcon tips, and was surprised there wasn't a post like this already (that I was able to find). So here are my questions:

(1) Care to share a couple of tips on getting the most out of PubCon?

(2) For the conference part, if I'm interested in 2 session topics that run at the same time, is my only option cloning myself, or am I misunderstanding how they work.

(3) Lastly, what does the registration fee cover exactly (getting in the event. lunch? drinks at pubcon? free namebadge? :)

Maybe the answers to this could be added to a FAQ page at pubcon.com?

5:16 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi Rodney;

I've only been to one Pub Con, but I'm headed for Las Vegas also.

Take lots of notes.

Introduce yourself to anyone you can, especially the folks standing around by themselves.

Chat up which sessions you are going to attend, and which you can't because of scheduling conflicts. You might be able to find someone with a similar scheduling problem and trade notes after the session.

Take lots of notes.

5:27 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Take lots of notes

and lots of business cards!

dazz

5:39 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Having run out of business cards at previous WebmasterWorld events, I highly suggest that you get extra business cards printed. ;)

Notes are good, too.

5:59 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Like everyone else said: Take lots of notes, you'll be glad you did.

You'll need a lot of business cards.

Talk to everyone. Even if you're normally shy, do it anyway - you won't be disappointed.

Pace yourself - there's a lot going on after the sessions, too. :)

LisaB

6:10 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Just being in a friendly, relaxed way is a great start. Most people I've met at PubCons are pretty friendly and approachable.

<Tips>
Find people drinking beer and settle in to the periphery. Smile, relax. You might get invited to join in.

Get with a group that's going to dinner, early in the process, as taxis and reservations are issues late in the process.

Me, personally, I'm not great with remembering business names or keeping business cards.

I'm much better at "remembering" enjoying some laughs, enjoying a good conversation, enjoying listening to a good war story, smoking a cigar, enjoying a good meal, going out for a drink, shooting the breeze at a card table, enjoying a gab in a cab on the way to a show.

"Do business" if you wish, just don't push business on anyone. Relax. Don't sell. Don't pump for info. Just go with the flow. Make some new friends.

There's lots of chances for small get togethers. The lunch table. Morning coffee. In between the end of sessions and the beginning of dinner. After dinner.

Late into the night at central bars is a great place to hang.
</Tips>

6:16 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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(1) Care to share a couple of tips on getting the most out of PubCon?

The most important has already been mentioned - talk to people! I've only left one PubCon feeling disapointed and that was my first. Why? Becuase I was too shy to introduce myself. (this will be my 4th, btw, and my 1st as a mod)

The sessions are great, but the real value is in meeting other people who are doing what you are. Oh, and yes, bring twice as business cards then anticipate needing;-)

** Keep your WebmasterWorld conference badge on in the hotel. This way people who are looking for others to hang out with after the sessions will know who you are.

(3) Lastly, what does the registration fee cover exactly (getting in the event. lunch? drinks at pubcon? free namebadge? :)

Good questions. I've let the 'higher powers' here know about them.
6:17 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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...not great with remembering business names or keeping business cards.

I have found that it's important to write a note about the person who is giving you their card. Helps you sort what kind of contact you may want to follow up on.

Does this card belong to someone to exchange links with?
Is this someone who has a money making opportunity?
Does this card belong to someone you want to invite to IM?

etc.

6:33 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Thanks all for the great tips (keep 'em coming :)

So far the theme I'm hearing is: get over the shyness and bring business cards and take notes.

I think ken_b answered my question about the sessions (you can only attend one "track").

mona: thanks for looking into number 3 for me.

My own tip to share is: "get in early". I missed out on the hotel deal while I was making arrangments and found out that a lot of the hotels around the convention center sell out early. Ended up at the LV Hilton (although I'm hoping a better rate will pop up).

6:42 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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write a note about the person who is giving you their card

hmmm..... I think I'll have some cards printed up with check box notes already on them.......

[ ] Buy this man another!
[ ] Send this man money ASAP!
[ ] ken who? Trash this card ASAP!

6:53 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think ken_b answered my question about the sessions (you can only attend one "track").

You can attend any session you want to. You aren't required to attend the same track sessions.

I think the above reference was to the fact there are often two sessions at the same time you might want to attend, so by finding people with conflicts as well, you can trade notes after the sessions.

The best thing I get out of pubcon is the midnight-5am talks in the bar.

There was a tip above about wearing your badge around the lobby - this is a great tip as it helps people find each other. If you see someone with a badge wandering around aimlessly looking for people - time to introduce yourself.

7:02 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think the above reference was to the fact there are often two sessions at the same time you might want to attend, so by finding people with conflicts as well, you can trade notes after the sessions.

Yep, I guess I should have been more clear. I meant you can only attend one at a time.

There was a tip above about wearing your badge around the lobby - this is a great tip as it helps people find each other. If you see someone with a badge wandering around aimlessly looking for people - time to introduce yourself.

So even though I'm staying at the LV Hilton, should I hang out in the actual conference hotel after sessions just to find folks, or are they usually milling about in the general area of the conference center?

7:47 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Rodney,

I'm not a newbie at conventions (and certainly not shy) but a PubCon first timer and the best advice I can give you is:

PACE THE DRINKING!

When it gets late some people lose their perspective about booze and start ordering rounds of shots and shooters. That's a clear signal to put the skids on the drinking or you won't hear 2 sentences at the conference the next day. As a matter of fact, you may be looking for nicely padded carpet area in the corner of the session room in which to curl up and die.

Vegas can be even worse for this as cocktail waitresses in the casinos bombard you with drinks if you tip well, and if you tip REAL well will even bring a drink AND a shot at the same time ;)

Just don't go crazy or you'll miss out on a lot.

7:54 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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PACE THE DRINKING!

Nonsense!

;)

8:10 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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This will be my first time attending. I had expected that transcripts for each session would be made available to the attendees so that we don't miss anything. If any conference were to offer daily transcrpits, seems like it should be this one.
9:06 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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> PACE THE DRINKING!

Actually, I agree with that. If you pace it, you'll be able to keep doing it all night. ;-)

9:19 pm on Sept 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Break bread. Long lazy meals with good food and good company.
1:25 am on Sept 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>> Find people drinking beer and settle in to the periphery. Smile, relax. You might get invited to join in.

One piece of advice.. sticky / email the people you want ot meet up with. Given the number of distractions Vegas has to offer, two people in the same room might not have a chance to meet up... unless its been scheduled.

<ot>
Just picked up some nice cigars yesterday (on holiday in the Philippines) for the usual suspects. :)
</ot>

2:40 am on Sept 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Agree with Shri's comment re getting to know some of the people in advance so that they know a bit about you. This means more than one sticky or email. That way you are higher up their list of people to see when you arrive at the Pubcon.

Also become more visible by posting insightful posts, so people can instantly recognise you.

The badge is not all that useful where the person's WW nickname has no bearing on their real name, which is shown on the badge. Some of them will pen in their nickname but most don't and some just turn over the badge so you cannot read their name. (I have been to events where the person's name is printed on both sides of a clear holder, so they can't try that trick. :) )

3:36 am on Sept 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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People will be running and hiding from me, or peeking around corners hoping I didn't see them, so I probably won't bother sending sticky's.
4:20 am on Sept 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Not at all Bill. Many of us look forward to meeting up with you in Atlantic City November 14-18.

See you there. ;0)

5:07 am on Sept 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Already booked my flight, staying at the Taj Mahal, see you there! :)
7:39 am on Sept 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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PubCon grew out of an informal meet-up in a London Pub. The whole purpose was relationships, mutual help and personal sharing of information.

For the first few conferences there were no session tracks, no presentations. Yes, members gathered on one PubCon afternoon for the main event, but they also came days early and stayed days after -- and hung out in the hotel lobby and really had fun. The information flow and professional connections were just a natural byproduct of the week.

And now, with the highly useful session tracks, there is still great value in this more informal side to PubCon -- moreso than at any other conference I've attended. There WILL be an "unofficial" hangout or two - and that spot will be the place to be. And because this is Vegas, 24*7 gatherings are a strong likelihood. You'll probably find many of the speakers there at various times, just being people instead of "experts on the podium". For example, one of my fondest memories of a London Pubcon was chatting in the hotel lounge with Google's Matt Cutts (he's got a great laugh) until the sun came up.

I find I pick up more from the overview that people have than I do from specific information bits -- although the occasional juicy tidbit is always nice, there's an intangible value in learning the various ways that we all approach what we each do. You think we all do the same thing? Not hardly, and in learning those differences is often the greatest value.

3:04 pm on Sept 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Will anything be happening on Monday night before the con?
6:14 pm on Sept 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Yes, the most important event: The first night hanging out at the bar. Be there or be square.
6:20 pm on Sept 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It's funny how the night before the conference officially starts, the bartenders are cocky about their ability to handle the workload. They have no clue that the perfect storm of drinking is about to hit.

I remember telling the guy in New Orleans he'd better call for back up for the next five days. He's like, "Oh, I handled the dentist's convention all by myself... I can handle you guys."

Two days later he looked about ten pounds lighter and grayer around the temples.

6:24 pm on Sept 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Rodney,

Remember that you get all the PP files on CD a few weeks after PC. Personally, I attend the "live" site reviews and discussions, as those are NOT going to be on the CD. Plus, you need some time to go through the booths without massive crowds. If you can, get there a few days early, get your partying out of the way, so you can get plenty of sleep and are at your best - as each time I attend one of these, my income takes a nice jump.

Cheers,

CaboWabo

7:23 pm on Sept 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Remember that you get all the PP files on CD a few weeks after PC.

Sorry for the newbie question, but what does this sentence mean? Too many abbreviations for my first PubCon :)

Thanks for all the great tips guys!

One I'm still wondering about is number 3:

(3) Lastly, what does the registration fee cover exactly (getting in the event. lunch? drinks at pubcon? free namebadge?
9:21 pm on Sept 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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PP = Power Point Files (presentations) on a CD.

I would say get there early and stay late, try your best to talk to everyone. Send stickies before hand, exchange cell phone numbers, and have at least one good meal with friends.

I have noticed that most of the people are layed back and love talking about the web.

No comment about the drinking at these events (c;

5:54 am on Oct 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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another pubcon newbie question... is internet access available at the conference?
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