Saturday 9:20pm, Austin
A final word or two on the Las Vegas trip. On the whole a great experience. Next year it will probably be bigger and more work with less fun, but that’s the inevitable result of success. But I did manage to top off the whole trip with a giant screwup. Remember a few entries ago when I had the brilliant idea of shipping my suitcase back to Austin? Great idea to make my life easier for the 7 hours between the end of the conference and my flight. The problem was that I had left the keys to my truck in the pocket of the suitcase which isn’t going to get to Austin until Thursday. So when I arrived in Austin at 4:30 in the morning I didn’t have any way to drive off in my truck which was conveniently and expensively located in short-term parking. There also aren’t a lot of cabs at the Austin airport at 4:30 in the morning. So I didn’t get home until around dawn, and the real end of the story came this afternoon when I got a lift to the airport to pick up my truck with the spare keys.
Friday 11:15pm, Las Vegas
Last entry from Vegas. Just got to McCarran Airport after a nice dinner with the BlogCritics crew at the Monte Carlo brew pub – which is inexplicably neither a pub nor does it brew its own beer. It’s a sports bar. It has a TV the size of a bus. Call it a damned sports bar. The food wasn’t so great, but they had these giant towers of beer which were pretty cool, and I got to talk informally with some nice folks before heading out for my Red Eye flight back to Austin. Before I left I made an impassioned pitch for another BC meetup in Austin for SXSW Interractive in the Spring. There was some enthusiasm which I hope will stick around when everyone sobers up.
Friday 5:30pm, Las Vegas
The show is more or less over now. I’m remarkably tired and my feet hurt like hell. The exhibit area is closed and I actually shipped my suitcase back home by FedEx since I have to hang around in town until my flight at 11:40. All that’s left is a farewell dinner with the BlogCritics crew at the Monte Carlo. Maybe I should head over early and play some poker. It is Las Vegas, after all.
Friday, 3:40pm, Las Vegas
I’m spending pretty much all day today in the exhibit hall talking, talking, talking with people. I have to admit that some of the booths are pretty interesting and there are some innovative ideas, but others leave me utterly bewildered. I’m still aghast at the woman who wants to charge me something like $7,000 to take someone’s blog articles and turn them into a book. Given the POD industry and relatively approachable design software you ought to be able to do the same thing better yourself just about for free. Plus the copies of her own book on becoming an author which she had on display looked like crap. If you want to get your blog into print – especially if it’s heavy on graphics, check out blurb.com whose setup for producing coffee-table style books is very impressive, with their own online design software and excellent production quality.
Friday 12:45am, Las Vegas
Before heading to bed I wanted to make a couple of observations from earlier in the day.
First off, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of interesting bloggers with big ideas who are looking for ways to get those ideas out to the public. I’ve certainly made some good connections for the politics section at Blogcritics to bring in some new blood and establish relationships with other sites.
My other observation is on the exhibit hall. On wandering through the hall as people were packing up today I noticed how many booths had catchy names on them which were in no way explanatory or even comprehensible to the casual observer. Just putting some goofy Yahoo-style name on your company and then providing no real explanation at your booth may seem cool and cutting edge, but it’s really just an example of unreasoning trendiness. After wandering through all these mystifying booths, I found myself happy to be at the booth of the Center for Threat Awareness, because their name told me immediately what they were all about, plus their booth sign had a lovely subhead with further explanation. Refreshingly sensible and straightforward.
Friday 12:10am, Las Vegas
Well, as you can see there’s a big gap between my last entry and this one, and this one isn’t all that ‘live’. Seems it wasn’t a great idea to update both of the PowerBooks I brought with me to OSX Leopard right before going on a trip. Leopard hates Eudora and seems to have a hard time with the WiFi they’re providing at the convention, and even better my cellular modem has issues with the cellular network here too. Plus Leopard is making both laptops run so slow that they’re almost useless. Though it seems not to be as much of a problem in my hotel room – for which I have no explanation. Enough whining.
I wrote a great entry after my second panel was over but it got bizarrely deleted with Leopard locked up my browser. Basically, the panel on Building and Online Community had a great turnout and a lot of good ideas were generated by the three panelists in response to some pretty serious questions from participants who seemed to be pretty bewildered by the way blog users behave and how to keep them coming back. Quick plug for my fellow panelists Matt whose last name I can’t remember from cocomment.com who had some great insights into the technical aspects of comments and what they being to a site and Wendy Piersall who runs the interesting community emoms.com and had some ideas on business blogging which I found enlightening.
Thursday 2:45, Las Vegas
On to my second panel now. Building Online Communities. Very well attended. Biggest attendance of any panel I’ve seen and just 3 of us talking, so lots of bloviating time. More later.
Thursday 1pm, Las Vegas
I’m off to find some lunch before my impending panel on building online communities. I plan to use the opportunity to paper the convention center with RoD cards featuring the sexy logo to the right.
Thursday 11am, Las Vegas
Well, I finally got to meet the other Blogcritics folks this morning and they seem like a fine bunch.. Not scary at all, though head Blogcritic Eric Olsen had a very intimidating suit. On meeting him in person I was happy to find that I’m not the only persom usimg a slightly out of date photo to look younger and hipper.
So now I’m sitting next to Hugh Hewitt who turns out to be a pretty nice fellow. We’re on a huge panel on the power of the blogosphere where some pretty interesting ideas are being exchanged. Some if the good points raised have to do with knowing your audience, being an expert on something, maintaining a civil comments section and knowing your audience. To my surprise they did manage to dig up some more genuine lefties to join us including someone from Huffington Post and a major LGBT blogger. The diversity has made the exchange more interesting, though we’ve wandered into some contentious areas as a result.
Wednesday 10pm, Las Vegas
I was stuffed way at the back of the plane – I wasn’t aware until today that Continental had reintroduced the concept of Steerage class – so no I didn’t get to meet Ron Paul when he got off in Houston.
But I did make it Las Vegas which is just as much of a nightmare as I remember. Special ‘no thanks’ to Travelocity, when I go to the Las Vegas Hilton conveniently located next to the Convention Center where BlogWorld is being held, I discovered that without pointing out the difference, Travelocity had actually booked me into the North Tower which would be the north tower of the giant parking garage rather than the actual hotel, which puts me a mile from the convention center rather than right across the street. The upside is that I got a business-style suite instead of a regular room, plus it seems to be the only hotel with no gambling of
any kind in it. The downside is that it also doesn’t have a restaurant, so I’m going to be working off my calories as I trudge miles to get meals, or else I’m just going to live at the convention center.
Haven’t found any of the folks from Blogcritics yet. They may all be at the pajama party for conference guests. Maybe I should go track them down.
Wednesday 3:50pm, Austin
I’m going to be liveblogging during my trip to BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas.
Right now I’m on a continental flight getting ready to take off from Austin.
Have to get off the Treo asap, but have got to mention that Ron Paul or someone who looks a lot like him is in First Class on my plane.