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Posts Tagged ‘trey pennington’

Heartbroken.

I know I’m in the habit of writing Proust-length posts but today, I won’t. I can’t. It isn’t that I don’t have a lot on my mind, a lot to share. I could write chapters on the time I got to spend with Trey Pennington these past few years. I could sit here and tell you how much respect I had for the guy and how much I liked him – genuinely liked him – like when you meet someone for the first time and you instantly know you’re going to be friends for life. I could tell you about all of the Social Media Clubs he started all over the South East, about all of the lives and careers he touched all over the world, about the selfless work he did behind the scenes that no one knew about, that he never sought to take credit for. I could tell you about the rat-hole of a hotel he and I accidentally stayed in on one of our trips to London, and in a spectacular turn of fortune, the conversations about life and love and the future he and I had a year later, stretching late into the night in the warm heart of Dartmoor’s luxurious Bovey Castle. I could tell you so many anecdotes about Trey, about his infectious “aw shucks” southern charm, his gentlemanly disposition, his generous heart and the infinite kindness of his spirit. Hanging out with Trey, you got to glimpse a side of humanity that we seldom see anymore. He was the most caring and unselfish individual I have ever met. There was a pure, innocent quality about him that, once glimpsed, inspired you to be a better, kinder, gentler man. There was only one Trey, and now he’s gone.

So… my heart just isn’t in it today. I’ll never again hear the distinctive timbre of Trey’s voice reach for me across a crowded room. We’ll never again run into each other half-way across the world and joke about how, although we live less than five miles from each other, we only see each other overseas. We’ll never again clink glasses and quietly sip perfectly aged Grand Marnier in the world’s most out-of-the-way pubs and random hotel bars. And now we’ll never have that coffee he and I always planned on having. I always thought I was too busy. I always put it off. If there isn’t a lesson here, I don’t know what else to tell you.

I could go on and tell you that the world was better with Trey in it, that we needed more of him, not less, that he should have made a great CMO, the perfect marketing professor, a golden mentor for an entire new generation of marketing and business professionals, but so what. All I know is that he was my friend, and now he’s gone. Gone. Forever. No rewinding the tape. No turning back the clock. No re-do. Gone. I couldn’t have given two shits if he had been a janitor or a fry cook instead of an international speaker. I never knew how many twitter followers he had or how many friends on Facebook or how much klout he had. None of it ever mattered to me. I just liked hanging out with him. I liked talking shop with him. I liked to hear him laugh at my stupid dick jokes. I am heartbroken. Completely, utterly heartbroken.

Guys like him don’t grow on trees. He was the only Trey Pennington, and now he’s gone, and that’s it. I feel like someone just hit me in the stomach with a cricket bat, and writing post really isn’t helping, so here are some pictures I found of Trey, stuff I shot or that other people snapped with my camera. This is how I knew him.  This was the world we shared. Aside from the memories and the record of his blog and Facebook page and Twitter account, this is all that’s left.

Godspeed, buddy. I miss you already.

 

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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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onourminds

I am pretty excited to announce that I will be speaking at the Like Minds Conference on October 16th in Exeter, England. The conference is the brainchild of Scott Gould, Trey Pennington, and Andrew Ellis who… presumably got the idea for this event while holding on to a pint or two. (At least I hope so.)

What I like about Like Minds so far:

1. The conference will focus on two things dear to my heart:

a) Sustainable social media practices (how to develop, manage and integrate social media programs, how to turn customers into brand advocates through social media, how to blend social media into your business mix, etc.), and

b) Best practices for social media measurement (particularly how to define and measure social media ROI).

Already, you can see how this is right up my alley. We’re finally tucking evangelism away and getting to methods and best practices. It’s about time.

2. It’s in Exeter, England.

As much as I love living on this side of the pond, it’s nice to fly back to the other side every once in a while and reconnect with my roots. (Yeah, I need a regular dose of euro living every once in a while, just to make sure all my systems are still properly calibrated.) And given the proximity of the UK to France, I’m guessing I’ll probably take advantage of being in the EU to pay my patria materna a quick visit, stuff my face with croissants and brie, shake my fist at a moped or two, and argue about art and literature with complete strangers.

Not to mention some of the sight-seeing I intend to do in the UK.

On a more serious note, the prospect of speaking at a conference in England is pretty cool, but more importantly the opportunity to learn from social media practitioners in in the UK and EU, compare notes, share stories, etc. is pure gold to me. Sometimes, you kind of have to hop out of the fishbowl a little bit and go see how the other fishies swim. I know I am going to come back with my head abuzz with ideas. (I won’t sleep for weeks.)

3. The roster of speakers.

Aside from moi, this is what it looks like so far:

Andrew Ellis @drewellis

Andrew is a creative director with extensive startup experience, a seasoned innovator, and co-founder of Like Minds. He pioneered Eyetoeye Digital as one of the earliest ‘new media’ agencies in 1993, working with both household brands, and multinationals. His work has received international acclaim, from the iconic slogan T-Shirts for Kathryn Hamnett in the early 80s, to Grammy nominations, and most recently, ‘Orbit’, a documentary-come-musical with extensive CGI of explored universe which is touring the US in 2010. Drew’s accomplisments, past and present, are available in full at his personal blog.

Trey Pennington @treypennington

Trey is leveraging social media to connect with audiences around the world. HubSpot ranks his Facebook profile as the #4 most influential in the world. Since January 2009, Trey has started or helped start ten Social Media Clubs—eight in the southeastern United States, one in the United Kingdom, and one in Australia. His home club now has over 550 members and was, for most of 2009, the second largest Social Media Club in the world. Trey’s book ‘Spitball Marketing’ is being launched at Like Minds. For more information, visit http://www.treypennington.com.

Laura Whitehead @littlelaura

Laura is a web developer and a consultant on social media integration and online community development. Based in South Devon and the founder of Popokatea, she works with awide range of clients including the nonprofit and public sector, and small business enabling them to use innovative methods and online technology to extend their reach, engage with their audience and achieve their goals. Laura was quoted in Fast Company as “the queen of nonprofit technology in the UK.” (Pretty cool.)

Andrew Davies @andjdavies

Andrew is co-founder of idiomag.com, an personalised publishing platform that is at the cutting edge of the digital publishing revolution. He also previously co-founded thruSITES, a London-based social media development agency with clients such as Universal Studios, Sky, ITV and Number 10.

Carl Haggerty @carlhaggerty

Carl is the Enterprise Architect at Devon County Council. He guides social media usage and change in businesses and organizations, creating and installing frameworks and policies for social media and networking. He has a broad background ranging from Sustainability and Community Development, Tourism & Economic Development to Business Administration and Communications. Carl’s blog is at http://carlhaggerty.wordpress.com.

In other words, no fluff. And some new voices, which I like.

4. Meeting a whole new batch of tweeps in the real world, all of whom will have really cool accents.

You can’t beat that.

5. The price of admission.

While some social media conferences charge upwards of $1000 for the privilege of listening to celebrities talk about their twitter adventures, this one made sure to make admission affordable, therefore open to all. I like that. If you book now, You’re only looking at 25 quid. At the door, 35 quid. I have a lot of respect for that.

So if you’re able to make it to Exter on the 16th of October, I encourage you to drop by, share your stories, listen to ours, and join the fun. Find out more here, or just go ahead and book today.

And if you intend to be there, drop me a note. 😉

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networkbash-vid

Thanks to Bobby Rettew and View (these guys do an awesome job with anything that touches video or event coverage) for organizing the event, mediating the panel and also covering the event. Talk about multitasking! (All we had to do is just sit there and answer questions.)

On the panel (left to right): Me, Steve Gonzalez, John Warner, Phil Yanov and Trey Pennington. Lots of Community Management gravitas and Social Media savvy on that panel.

Click on the image (above) to go check out the videos. You’ll notice that there are three: The first is the intro, the second is the panel discussion, and the third is the Q&A session.  Enjoy.

Follow-up to this post.

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Jay Handler (@sellphone) presenting

Jay Handler (@sellphone) presenting

So I spent most of Thursday morning at the Greenville Chamber of Commerce with Chad McMillan, Geoff Wasserman, Trey Pennington, Adam Landrum, Jay Handler, Amy Wood and a roomful of business folks – and we talked about various aspects of Social Media as they relate to business. Great little event with a pretty impressive panel and an even more impressive audience composed of Ad agency and PR folks, major players like Michelin North America, and a number of small businesses looking to gain a competitive edge. Topics covered: Brand development in the age of Social Media, digital relevance, creating brand ambassadors, traditional and new media working side by side, opportunities and dangers in a hyperconnected world, etc.

We took a few pictures to give you guys a glimpse into Greenville’s super double-top secret Social Media underworld. I hope you enjoy them. 🙂

Photo credits: Yours truly, Trey Pennington and Doug Cone.

Geoff Wasserman moderating the panel

Geoff Wasserman moderating the panel

Using my trigger finger to make a point.

Using my trigger finger to make a point.

Elabortaing on one of Chad's points.

Elaborating on one of Chad's points.

Chad demonstrating his mad Macarena skills.

Chad demonstrating his mad Macarena skills.

Chandler's impossibly cool suite of Macphile SocMed geek tools

Chandler's impossibly cool suite of Macphile SocMed geek tools

Michelin North America starting up a discussion

Michelin North America starting up a discussion

The Jackson-Dawson team and their Macs

The Jackson-Dawson team demonstrating their patented "attention rotation" technique

Chandler's knowledge acquisition method: Pulling up a chair
Hanging out before Jay's session

Hanging out before Jay's session

Between sessions

Greenville Chamber's Claudia Clanton Wise between sessions

Jackson-Dawson's launch operations control center

Jackson-Dawson's shuttle operations control center

The mini muffins I ate

The mini muffins I ate

The notes I took in my trusty Moleskine notebook

The notes I took in my trusty Moleskine notebook

@Geoffwasserman and @melbrooke exchanging knock-knock jokes

@Geoffwasserman and @melbrooke exchanging knock-knock jokes

Jay Handler (@sellphone) showering knowledge upon the crowd

Jay Handler (@sellphone) showering knowledge upon the crowd

Amy Wood (@tvamy)

Amy Wood (@tvamy) being a goof

Merge's Adam Landrum rocking it out as an MC

Merge's Adam Landrum rocking it out as an MC

Copiuos note-taking going on there.

Copious note-taking going on there.

Amy Wood (@tvamy) talking about Social Media and the News Media

The conversation continues

The conversation continues

Amy has a Flip video too. Standard issue gadget for us Social Media types

Amy has a Flip video too. Standard issue gadget for us Social Media types

The Jackson-Dawson team pulling triple attention duty

The Jackson-Dawson team pulling triple attention duty

Trey Pennington (@treypennington) taking the floor.

Trey Pennington (@treypennington) taking the floor.

Trey Pennington answering questions

Trey Pennington answering questions

Talking shop

Marketing peeps talking shop

Trey and Amy hanging out

Trey and Amy hanging out

In case we were wondering where we were this morning...

In case we were wondering where we were this morning...

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Taking a "don't forget the milk on your way home" call.

Taking a "don't forget the milk on your way home" call.

In case you still aren’t sure that I am indeed a real person (made of like… matter), this may be proof. Here, I even interact with my environment:

iv20090045

Me (left) and Jordana Megonigal (right) trying to look busy

Singing McDonald's "I'm Lovin' it!" jingle, Elvis style.

Singing McDonald's "I'm Lovin' it!" jingle, Elvis style.

I can't even think of a smart caption for this.

I can't even think of a smart caption for this.

Here are a few more pics of some of the behind-the-scenes shenanigans that were going on in the main exhibit hall during Innoventure 2009. Check out earlier posts to get a feel for what the sessions were all about.

Trey Pennington and Colin Martin

Trey Pennington and Colin Martin

Trey Pennington - Communications multitasker

Trey Pennington - Communications multitasker

MacBook Karaoke... I think.

MacBook Karaoke... I think.

Innoventure 2009 Tweetup

Innoventure 2009 Tweetup

Checking the Twitter action during the Tweetup

Checking the Twitter action during the Tweetup

The BrandBuilder Laptop

The BrandBuilder Laptop

For the Twitter lowdown on Innoventure 2009, check out #Innoventure09.

For video coverage of the event, go straight to the source, check out the video uploads (starting March 25th).

It was a great event. Thanks a bunch to John Warner, Sean McDonald, Phil Yanov, Bobby Rettew, innoventure 2009, the GSATC and Jute Networks for letting me hang out with some of the smartest people in the South East today.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone. 🙂

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