After having the weekend and a few days to digest my experience at ALT NYC, I wanted to share what I learned, especially for those of you about to attend ALT SF or those who have never been able to attend an ALT conference.
The vibe: Totally creative, from the sponsors, to the speakers, to the attendees. This is the day to wear some color and whatever makes you feel GREAT!
The people: I honestly did not know anyone who was going to be attending and I thought I’m confident enough and outgoing enough to handle 300 brand new faces. Well, I discovered introducing yourself to people who are on a mission to connect with a brand or a blogger they admire isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. But, I did get the sense that bloggers who attended the Wednesday night dinners with sponsors had made “connections” and seemed to have the comfort of seeing a familiar face.
Take away? Attend the sponsor dinners if at all possible. I wish I had.
The speakers: It was a really interesting mix of speakers, but we all fell hard when Martha, yes, THE MARTHA walked in and spoke to the group.
Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge was the opening keynote speaker and spoke on Surviving the Internet: Adapting to Change, Technology and Demands. The main take away is that you have to continually evolve and adapt to the changes as they are introduced. The bloggers who gain the most from Pinterest, Instagram, etc…are usually the first ones to adopt them. So, whatever is coming down the pike, jump on that bandwagon!
- Haters are going to hate
- No is not a bad word
- Prove yourself everyday for the rest of your life
The sponsors: were cool. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia had welcome crafts to break the ice and get everyone involved. MailChimp was printing out instagrams taken at the conference on this cool photo paper. Vivint gave us these cool organizers filled with all kinds of fun things to keep the business cards organized. And many, many more.
The business cards: OK….these really are important. Your calling card. Your personality. Your business. You can see for yourself which ones stand out. Can you see mine? No? Well….on it’s own it’s fine, but in a crowd it’s a little uninspired. So, for those of you attending the next conference, make sure yours stands out. And, if you are really proud of it….set it on the chairs of the attendees. It can be nerve wracking and embarrassing to just hand them out, but if yours has some pizzazz, I assure you that people will be happy to have it. So, just leave it on the chairs.
Overall: I was a little more out of my comfort zone than I thought I would be. But, I think that’s good. As Martha Stewart says, “When you are done growing, you’re just done.” So whether you’re thinking of attending the next ALT conference or just joining the tennis team or wanting to write a novel, just do it. You’ll only regret the chances you never took.