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Archive for the ‘greenville SC’ Category

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. 😉

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BMWm3

Below a little video of the afternoon several local bloggers and twitterati got to enjoy, courtesy of Kamran Popkin and the BMW Performance Driving School. Look for cameos by @JimSharp, @Nullvariable and @brainsonfire (Matt Reese).

Incidentally, Matt is insanely fast in a car, so never EVER let him race you for money.

I really can’t thank Kamran enough for hooking me up AND the BMW PDS’s staff for taking such good care of us while we were there. Everyone – from the catering folks and event coordinators to the driving instructors – is absolutely top notch, as is the facility.

Something I learned today: Any new BMW owner in North America can take delivery of their new car right here at the factory, then drive it to the school for an afternoon of classroom and practical driving instruction. You pay to get here, but once you’re in Greenville, BMW takes care of the rest: Hotel, food and the driving instruction. How cool is that!

BMW classroom

A few other things I learned today:

@Jimsharp likes to live (and drive) on the edge (of the road).

Also, he doesn’t stop. For anything. Not even puppies. (Okay, maybe for puppies.)

BMW2car

Good luck flipping an X5 out on the range. These things cling to walls like spiderman.

Pedal to the metal feels GOOD.

Not hitting any cones is more important than a little extra speed.

Real drivers don’t use traction control.

BMWx5

Some BMWs drive themselves.

It’s all fun and games until someone loses control of their bodily functions.

BMWs aren’t just cars. They really ARE ultimate driving machines.

Driving fast makes me sweat a little bit.

I like the smell of burning rubber in the afternoon.

What you’ll see in the video:

The first driving exercise was a slalom course designed to teach us how to take tight corners at high speed in varying surface conditions (wet/dry).

The second driving exercise was a timed run in the M3 designed to teach us to a) negotiate sudden sharp turns at high speed. (The turn is sharper than it looks.) Also, b) precision stopping from max acceleration.

The third driving exercise was the X5’s 4×4 course. (No racing there.)

The fourth exercise was just a fun ride with one of the school’s professional drivers.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what tunes you heard in that video:

“Shooting Star” by David Rush

“Throw Water On Them” by Asher Roth

Thanks to Jim for shooting most of the in-car stuff. If the video doesn’t play for you, go watch it here.

Also, check out Jim’s video (most of the in-car footage was shot by yours truly). Great editing and music by Jim. Good stuff:

If Jim’s video doesn’t load for you, watch it here.

BMWlineup

PS: No cones were harmed during the shooting of this video. (At least not by us.)

PPS: Want to play like we just did? BMW has a ton of programs for drivers of all levels (even for teenage drivers). Check out the performance driving school’s web page for more info.

PPPS: I don’t work for BMW, didn’t get paid by BMW and have no ties to BMW whatsoever. Everything mentioned on this blog about BMW comes from the heart. (Disclosure.)

Have a great weekend, everyone! I look forward to seeing some of  you at Social Fresh Monday (Charlotte, NC).

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socmed0ne1001

Come listen to me speak about Brands, Social Media and how to turn your business into an engine of ass-kickery Monday, February 9, 2009 at Soby’s on Main Street in downtown Greenville. (And yeah, I’ll even let you pick my brain a little bit.)

We’ll have delicious Soby’s coffee and pastries ready at 7:15am and will begin our meeting at 7:30am, ending at 8:30am.

I know 7:15 is CRAZY early, especially on a Monday – ugh… – but look at it this way:

a) You won’t be late getting to work (for once)

b) You will start your week pumped up and full of fresh insights

c) Breakfast at Soby’s. Come on. What? Seriously. What better way to start your day?

d) Dancing bears, sock puppets, clowns and me. LIVE. How often do you get to actually see me speak in front of a live audience? You can’t beat that.

Cost is $5.00.

For directions, click here.

Sign up / reserve your spot now. Click here.

See you there!

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Geno Church speaks at SMC Greenville

From Lydia Dishman’s piece on FastCompany.com:

Energy. Enthusiasm.  Optimism.

Hardly words that come to mind when describing a 7:30 am meeting on a chilly Monday morning.  But the main dining room of Soby’s on South Main Street in downtown Greenville, SC fairly crackled with the energy of the 100 people packed in for the inaugural meeting of the Greenville chapter of the Social Media Club (SMC).

Live feeds made the meeting available to groups in Shanghai, China and Orlando, Florida. A welcome message by Steven Weathers, an American professor currently residing in Shanghai, kicked off the high-octane feature presentation by Geno Church, “Word of Mouth Inspiration Officer” of Brains on Fire, a local branding agency in Greenville.

Using slides, film clips (including the hilarious “These go to eleven” sequence from This is Spinal Tap), and stories, Church chronicled the success of campaigns such as Fiskars “Fiskateers” and the Park Angels in Charleston to illustrate how social media played a role in the viral building brands. As enthusiasts connected to each other, relationships grew and consequently strengthened the brand’s image. “Community loves company,” explained Church… Read the rest of the article here.

(Then recommend it and come back.)

So what do you think really motivated 100 people to get out of bed a lot earlier than normal on a freezing cold Monday morning to come hang out together? (Aside from Geno, of course.) Do you think it was to talk about FaceBook or Twitter? Do you think it was to exchange tips about apps, widgets and how to get more followers? Do you think what brought these people together – not only in Greenville but all around the world in this case – really had anything to do with Social Media tools or tech talk?

Or do you think that maybe, just maybe there is something a whole lot more relevant and important going on? Something much more human and powerful?

I welcome your thoughts.

To connect with the Greenville Social Media Club, go ahead and say hi to @SMC_Greenville on Twitter. The group will follow you back. 🙂

Event Photo Galleries: @nullvariable, @linkerjpatrick, @thebrandbuilder (If you have more photos of the event, we’d love to share them here.) Also Check out Channel 7’s coverage of the event here.

Social Media Club Greenville

Cheers!

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2008dec2-043b

Proof once again that I do get out from time to time, here are a few photos from last night’s “Drop-In” party at the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, where I met many very smart, talented people – some of whom are already on Twitter, and others… well, soon will be. I should have taken more photos, but I was too busy yapping my mouth, as always.

First up (above, right to left): Liquid Highway‘s @BigJonEvans (John Evans), @benchmarkngbabe (Jessica Smith), and with the bottle of coke and the gray dinner jacket, Ken Flournoy (The picky people’s plumber).

Below (left to right this time): John (again) and G-Magazine‘s Jack Bacot? (Is that right? I met a dozen peeps from G and – maybe it’s the wine – but I am getting them all mixed up in my head. Sorry about that, but that’s what happens when you don’t wear a name tag.)

2008dec2-042b

And further below, some young handsome lad drinking blush wine out of a plastic cup while wearing diagonal stripes (two more reasons he may have gotten kicked out of France) and the ever present Jon Evans – whose quasi empty beer cup was in desperate need of a refill. (Someone please buy Jon a beer.)

2008dec2-044b

As a bonus, check out this photo of the Liquid Highway setup. I have absolutely no idea what was going on there. The best I can figure is something along the lines of coffee kung-fu. Oh, and yes, a team of pretty ladies to make sure no one got to jacked up on caffeine.

2008dec2-041b

Okay, that is all.

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Don’t get me wrong: I am very happy with a 1:10:45 finish (a personal best on the Greenville Sprint Triathlon course)… But I was chasing 1:08:12.

Next year, Green Goblin. Next year. Muhahahaha.

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The Microsoft gang enjoyed seafood carnage at Greenville’s posh AZIA restaurant last night.

Two words: Yummy.

Awesome service, cool digs, $5 martinis (Wednesdays), and basically a flawless dining experience. If you’re in Greenville (or ever pass through), I recommend it.

Great food. One of the many perks of hanging out with Bill Gates’ crew on a regular basis.


Top: Volcano, Dragon, Shogun rolls + yellowfin, tuna, eel and octopus nagiri.
Above: A delicious sea bass.

Yes, I’m a freak who carries a camera everywhere he goes.

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Where am I going to be hanging out while not at my desk Tuesday and Wednesday?

At Innoventure 2008, of course!!!! (It’s where all the cool kids and innovation junkies in the South East will be. How could I miss it?)

If you’re going to be anywhere near the Carolina First Center and want to do lunch, call my cellie.

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