So. BlogHer Business ’07. I had this awesome post rattling around in my head about the overarching vibe of the conference. I was thinking about it all the long (silent!) drive home, and I was eager to sit down and make sense of it and communicate to you all just how different and awesome it was. Not that this past summer’s BlogHer in San Jose wasn’t also great, because it was, but some of the follow-on from that event was less-than-lovely, and I just don’t see that happening this time, for various reasons.
I was all set to lay it all out and share with you many epiphanies about what made the difference and why and how incredibly great it was, but then I discovered that Liz already wrote the post I had in mind. Damn her! If not for the fact that she is hilarious and fun to hang around with AND let me feel her belly when her baby had the hiccups, I’d probably be annoyed. But read her take, because she nailed it.
Anyway, we’ve already had (probably several times) the OHMIGOD, LIKE, I’M A WRITER conversation where I completely dork out and try to pretend that’s not what I’m doing. But it is quite cool to look around and realize that yes, I do what I like for work, after many false starts doing things I didn’t enjoy nearly so much.
Likewise, it’s immensely gratifying to look around in a room filled with people who either 1) are like me (that is to say, other writers) or 2) want to hire people like me. Not even because it may lead to more work—and maybe it will, but at a certain level that’s almost beside the point—but because you have a captive audience of people who give a damn about what you do. That’s powerful. And in many case, we were learning right along side those folks, which is even better.
I thought maybe my brain was just full from the NOISE of Manhattan, but it turns out there’s a lot of other interesting info stuffed in there as well. Stuff I can apply to my current work, stuff to keep in mind for future work; stuff that will affect how I pursue clients in the future and how I help the ones I already have.
To get all of that in an atmosphere that was very much “we are all here because we want the same things and we all have things to teach each other” maybe sounds sort of kumbaya-ish but instead it was electrifying. It made me want to be better at what I do. And I don’t care who you are or what you do, that’s an inspiring place to be (and a place that I land all too infrequently).
And the people, THE PEOPLE. Listen, I am aware that I need to get out more, but I spent time with the most awesome people, most of whom I wanted to take home with me.
This is the lovefest part, where I gush and offer link love and gush some more. You can skip it if you’re not interested in finding new awesome folks to go read. But don’t do that, because you’re bound to find someone on this list that inspires you as much as they did me.
Reunited and it feels so good:
Chris is my favorite intrepid travel partner, and I have decided never to go anywhere without her again. She is utterly unflappable, even after wedging herself in a turnstile at the subway station. We did manage to get her out, and went on to have a fabulous trip that culminated (well, before yesterday’s ordeal at the parking garage) in pounding the streets of New York to buy her daughter every adorable outfit available.
Liz is too kind to say outright that she wanted to slap me silly for my constant fretting over how expensive everything was, coupled with my periodic “how do you people LIVE HERE?” wails. I was not trying to be ungracious, but fear that I was. She was very tolerant of my neuroses. And not even a third as fat as she’s been telling everyone. She is not only looking amazing for being 7.5 months pregnant, she led the way to dinner one night and even pregnant and in heels strode along faster than most of the rest of us could manage.
Karen is sort of like a unicorn… she is lovely to behold, but very difficult to actually spend any time with. This is what comes of being a popular lady, I suppose. So once again, I didn’t get nearly enough time with her, but what little I had was lovely as always.
Contrary to what she seems to think, my love for Rita goes beyond the bottle of wine she brought to our room. Rita is a self-made business maven as well as an warm and genuine lady, and I’m so glad I got to spend a bit more time with her on this trip.
Maria Niles was someone I only saw briefly in San Jose, but had the good fortune to hang out with a bit in NYC. Not only did she rescue us on our first night there by knowing where we were supposed to go, but she often carries a small dog in her purse. What’s not to love?
The BlogHer trifecta of Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort, and Jory Des Jardins were all just as I remembered them, only moreso. The more intimate setting meant I actually got to TALK to them this time (what a concept) and my admiration for them continues to grow. These women throw a helluva party, somehow firing up your brain WHILE stuffing you full of gummy bears and other snacks. How do they do it? I don’t know. I don’t need to know. I’m just glad I was there for it.
Stephanie interviewed me at the conference over the summer, but I never really got to just chat with her. This time we not only got to hang out a bit, I learned that she’ll practically be a neighbor once I make the move south. Little does she know what trouble she invited when she told me to contact her once I get down there. Poor Stephanie.
Hello, I love you:
Megan swears we’ve met before, both in that she’s been to my church to hear me sing (though, if you recall, that didn’t turn out to be a great night for me), and last summer in San Jose. She practically lives in my backyard. Of course now I get to spend some time with her and see how great she is, just when I’m about to move away. Hmph.
Laura is not only gorgeous and smart and fun, she knows my story. As in, she too married, um, some guy… and after divorcing, married the One Who Got Away. She immediately took up the role as Otto and my number one cheerleader, because she knows what it’s like to finally get it right. Needless to say, she was adorable and felt like meeting One Of My Kind.
Marc Levin snapped a really unflattering picture of me, but I forgive him because he seems like a cool guy and he has a smooshy little toddler that I wanted to steal. Oh, and he seems to know stuff, too. That’s always a plus.
Kristen was not only lovely in her own right, she came toting 6-week-old Nathan in a sling, and as we all know, I am a sucker for babies. I managed to restrain myself for about the first twelve hours, but as soon as I saw her letting someone else hold the baby, that was it for me. From that point on I would make a beeline for her any time the baby wasn’t nursing and insist she needed a break. I know, I’m a freak, but just take a look at that face. Nathan and I spent a lot of quality time together. He sang me a few songs (I swear! a singing baby!), and I walked and dipped and swayed and nibbled on him whenever I thought Kristen wouldn’t notice. He was delicious.
After long admiring Kristen’s sister Jen Lemen from afar, I got to meet and hang out with her and can definitively say that she is even more amazing than you can tell from her online work (which is pretty darned amazing already). Have you ever met someone with whom you immediately feel comfortable? Someone who you can sit next to and actually feel your breathing and heart rate slowing as the relaxation and sense of wellbeing just flows through you? That would be Jen. I am not a “mystical crystals” person by ANY stretch of the imagination, but Jen got more than the usual serving of good juju. It makes perfect sense that she’s a doula. Meet her if you can. She will soothe your soul without even trying.
Kristin insisted that I was supposed to be taller. That’s okay, because I think she was supposed to be shorter. And even though she says “aboot” I found her charming. I remember Tall ‘n’ Lucky but it should’ve been called Tall ‘n’ Stunning. Yowza.
Beth Blecherman has been sending me funny emails ever since I left NYC, which is making me like her even more. From sweatpants to Stanford to how raising boys is just different than raising girls, we covered it all. And she says next time we need to go shopping together, so you can see how I’m feeling the love.
Listening to Isabel talk about her plans for blogging really drove home how much EVERYONE was there to learn. And it certainly didn’t hurt that she was funny and engaging and bound and determined to send us somewhere good for dinner (she both wrote out directions for us AND called the restaurant). She makes an excellent concierge as well as an entertaining companion.
I spent some time at the Yahoo! cocktail party talking with Roxanne and Bill, both of whom made me rethink my prior certainty that videobloggers are a completely different sort of people. Actually, that’s not quite right. They ARE different. They are much cooler than me. So there’s that. But I was surprised at how much we have in common in terms of how we think about our work.
I’m sure there are other folks I’ve overlooked in my good-lord-my-brain-is-full fog, and to them I say: Feel free to leave a comment chiding me, because I deserve it. I don’t think I met a single person who didn’t have something interesting to share. (And I’m not even thinking about the dude from oomph.net who gave me a mood ring, when I say that.)
It was definitely worth the trip, parking garage fiasco and all. In case I haven’t mentioned it lately? I love my job.