I find myself speaking at a good number of events these days, but last week’s Social Story was one of the first whose speaker photo looks like a promo for a new TV superspy show. Left to right – Murray: The master strategist and brains of the operation. Buvala: The master of disguise and infiltration expert. Yanov: The gadget specialist and tech/surveillance guy. Pennington (a.k.a. “Suits”): The idealist boss with a penchant for formal attire. TV: The cat-burglar/safe-cracker/Kung Fu expert. Destructo: Cars, helicopters, guns and explosives. Frenchie: The hapless decoy.
I will be talking a lot more about #MIMA later this week (Here is the link if you want to attend), but what I can say about Social Story is this:
1. It was nice to finally speak at an event in Greenville, SC. No planes, no hotels, lots of familiar faces. Aside from Social Media Club, that’s never happened before. As much as I love to travel, it was nice.
2. 1/3 of the speakers had blue hair. That’s a pretty interesting statistic. Usually, 0% of the speaker roster at events to which I am invited can boast blue hair.
3. Most of the presentations were done without slides, without bullet points, without “decks.” Small audience, small venue, real engagement. It was kind of refreshing to go analog in a field so often dominated by slide presentations. Personally, I felt a better connection with the audience than when I bring my 700 slides along for the ride.
4. This must be the first conference of this size and of this type that attracted such a range of speakers. At one end of the spectrum, it had an incredibly versatile fire-breathing multimedia artist (Tim TV), and at the other, the head of Edelman’s global Digital practice (Rick Murray). I love that.
5. The conference did not settle for the typical endless stream of Social Media douchebags with something to sell. BIG thumbs up.
6. Social Story’s ticket prices: Not $659. Not $329. Not $199. Forget all that. I think the price of a ticket was around $50. In this, #Likeminds and #SocialStory have something in common: Attendees don’t get fleeced at the box office. There’s a lot to be said for that. While some conferences warrant a high price tag, most are horribly overpriced. This one was well worth the price of admission.
7. The event production team was phenomenal. Hats off to all the folks in black shirts. 100% professional, friendly, efficient and dedicated. I was impressed.
8. Trey Pennington likes to wear a coat and tie.
9. The live-streaming of the sessions was a great idea. I enjoyed getting feedback and questions from people from around the world via twitter. (Let’s face it: Not everyone can fly to Greenville, SC for two days just to attend an event.) I can’t stress enough how important it is for events of this type to think beyond “asses in seats.”
10. The first rule of swagclub is… Oh, never mind.
11. Trey Pennington definitely doesn’t take sponsors for granted.
Oh, and I almost forgot: The above speaker photo should put an end to #stachegate.
Have a great week. Back in a few days.