So yesterday, I had the priviledge of meeting a bunch of my online heroes in real life at the Social Mix 2012 conference in Toronto. And while stuff is fresh in my mind (okay not *fresh-fresh* after a *few* post conference beers), here are a few things still bouncing around the old coconut.
Stuff I learned at Social Mix 2012:
- Danny Brown and his team at Jugnoo throw a mean conference – and on pretty short notice from what Jugnoovians Lindsay Bell and Hessie Jones tell me. They put together a top notch group of speakers with a great venue and a great cause to make one really memorable event. Congratulations to all, and to Hessie’s question: “should we do this again?” YES!
- Danny has a great accent (“rogue with the brogue” they called him), but despite that handicap, he’s a brilliant communicator, and all-around great human. Imagine a heavy Scottish accent while Danny says awesome, off-the-kilt stuff like this:
“I’m a marketer, so I’m greedy and spammy anyway.” Danny Brown
- The biggest, and most pleasant, surprise of the day was Tim Burrows who manages social media for the Toronto Police Force. Yup. A cop. Talking social. And he’s a brilliant, self-deprecating speaker who demonstrates how focusing on your core brand values allows you to do your job better, respond to a crisis fast, and win back jaded hearts and minds for the forces of law and order. Deeply inspirational.
- Gary Vaynerchuk owns the stage. It was my first time seeing him live. But I’d seen video, so I already knew that he swears a lot, and that sometimes he says stuff that really pisses me off: like “What’s the ROI of your mother?” But the thing is, in person, you still get pissed off, then realize a moment later that he actually does understand, care, and is keenly aware of Return On Investment in his own business. So yeah, he pokes sticks at lots of sacred cow nests (huh?), but he’s such a great performer, that you still end up in the palm of his hand. That’s his shtick, and it works.
“Marketers ruin everything.” Gary Vaynerchuk
- Gary’s actually at his best when he’s “off-shtick”. Yesterday, we saw him deftly handling questions yesterday from the three kinds of fans he seems to attract (1. sycophants, 2. brown-nosers, and 3. sycophantic brown-nosers), but he spikes their loaded suck-up questions back at them, and then riffs out a series of long, cogent, scary-smart ideas.
- Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston are superstars and nice folks, who can lead an engaging off-the-cuff session. Yesterday they free-styled on their book Marketing in the Round. Which is hard, because they’re still in the middle of a long and (from the sounds of it) arduous tour. But even so, they made some time for a riotously fun evening out afterwards That’s Gini’s picture of me (left) and Geoff (right) at a downtown pub.
- Geoff is a scary, scary man. In a totally cool way. One might almost call him punk. Almost.
- Susan Murphy is spooky-good at networking. Not that I’m impressed by – or jealous of – social media “A-listers”…. no really! But holy crap my Ottawa friend Susan Murphy is good friends with a whackload of them! Including Gary, who never struck me as a huggy dude, but he veered out of his way on the way out the door to run up and give Suze a massive bearhug.
- Matt Hixson from Portland Oregon is a smart cookie, and his company Tellagence is onto something with the idea of intelligently mapping and predicting social connections based on people’s real influence in specific interest areas. That’s all I can say… okay, it’s all I understand. But stay tuned. There’s cool stuff to come from this company.
“I don’t care about your friends or followers. I care about relationships you build – in context.” Matt Hixson
- Apparently I have a very loud laugh. But the origin story? Not so interesting…