8am: Coffeeâ€¦I need coffeeâ€¦ This is my first industry event experience, and somehow Iâ€™m late.Â But first things first:Â I need a Starbucks.
9am:Â Clutching my Starbucks like itâ€™s my life, Iâ€™m trying to figure out why there are in excess of 500 people in the line to register, even though Iâ€™m technically running a half hour late.Â Apparently, thereâ€™s something wrong with the registration session, so anyone who has the confirmation email on their email-bearing electronic device can use that to get in.Â The opening keynote starts in 10 minutes.Â Awesome â€“ I made it after all!
The opening keynote was given by Todd Maffin, and opening remarks made by Lindsay Smith.Â I liked hearing what Todd had to say.Â â€œWorking less, getting more doneâ€ is all the rage right now, but Todd made an honest, candid case for taking things one step at a time, abandoning multi-tasking, and working no more than 8 hours a day.Â I also liked his theme:Â â€œTaking Back Crazyâ€.
10.30am: First session; â€œSocial Media Metricsâ€ with Darren Barefoot, Kris Krug, and Alfredo Tan.Â They covered the basics of how to measure your social media presence and general sentiment.Â It was informative but covered very little I didnâ€™t already know.Â I guess the discussion panels are meant for people looking to gain an overview of things that arenâ€™t their expertise.
12.45pm:Â Lunch Break.Â Well, lunch started earlier than this, but I just wandered around and looked at trade booths.Â By 12.45, I had wandered back out into the hall and ran into Brian Wong, a friend of mine from UBC who was on the App Development discussion panel later on.Â We were talking for about 5 minutes when I realizedâ€¦ that the guys he was standing with were none other than affiliate marketing guru John Chow, and Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes!Â Whoa.Â I feel a little bit star struck, but theyâ€™re both very friendly and easygoing guys.Â After a bit more running into people I know (and meeting a few I didnâ€™t know), lunch break ends.
Rest of the afternoon:Â I attend 2 more discussion panels, Cost Effective Video Marketing and Mobile Marketing:Â The App Explosion, before I realize that discussion panels really arenâ€™t my thing.Â I go back to the trade floor and see Adam presenting to a standing-room-only crowd.Â It looked to me like the mini-presentations in the trade show area were more popular than the discussion panels.Â There are massive screens showing tweets about #F5EXPO.Â The tweetsâ€™ general consensus was â€œ#F5EXPO:Â fun times, basic stuff.Â Oh, and registration failâ€.Â Â Itâ€™s amusing to see dozens of opinionated tweets on one giant screen.
3.45pm:Â I head home.Â I wasnâ€™t able to get in to see Malcolm Gladwell, so I grabbed another coffee and left.
Because this was my first time at an event like this, I didnâ€™t even have time to blink because there was so much to see.Â Rubbing shoulders with the Whoâ€™s Who of the internet marketing world also made for an exciting day.Â Overall, I thought that the conference went over very well.Â Despite registration woes, everyone managed to get in and learn, mingle and network.Â I didnâ€™t enjoy the discussion panels as much as I thought I would; I wish Iâ€™d spent more time on the trade show floor, watching the smaller presentations.Â Also, the biggest thing I learned was this:
People attend trade shows to make connections and socialize.Â The best place to pick up industry buzz, make connections and learn something worthwhile is in the hallways outside the expo rooms.
Probably a basic concept that most people would have known, but even so, I felt like it was well worth it for me to attend.Â I canâ€™t wait for the next one.Â See you there!