As I write this we’re circling San Francisco Airport, and I expect to be told to shut down the computer in a moment, but I wanted to give my blog post about the first night at the elite retreat.
There’s a limo that’s supposed to be waiting for me at the airport, and even though I’ve tried that two other times with no success I suspect that this time it will work, and there’s going to be a guy waiting for me with my name on a sign. Sweet.
The anticipation of this trip has been building literally for over a year,since the last time I opted not to come, and have been kicking myself ever since. I’ve got my list of things I want to learn, my list of things I hope to learn, and my list of things I plan to ask about if they aren’t discussed.
Okay, the limo was there, my name was spelled right, and the conversation on the way in with another attendee (Justin from Legalzoom) was fascinating. At just over 30 years old, he’s lived in a dozen different states & countries, and been a computer geek even longer than I have.
I got to my hotel, call the Mosser, and was pleasantly surprised. This place has recently been remodeled, and my room is neat, clean, furnished with trendy modern stuff, and is TOTALLY well worth my two block walk to the conference, compared to spending an additional $210 a night to stay in the conference hotel!
Last nights networking event got off to a slow start because I got there early, but within an hour the place was packed, and the drinks were flowing. I’m glad I stopped at Mel’s Drive-In on the way, (awesome burger) because other than a couple of bowls of snacks, there was nothing to eat.
The first person I met, while waiting downstairs before heading up to the networking event was named Slaven, and he described himself as a PPC affiliate.
For a minute I thought he meant that he gets others to sign up for PPC advertising and gains a percentage, but in talking to him more I realized that what he does is find affiliate programs he likes, joins them and build the site, and then just does PPC advertising, tweaking things to make them work.
I found this fascinating, because that’s always been my weakest area, and something I need to learn more about. I’ve never really had the guts to throw much money at PPC for my affiliate stuff because I don’t have the confidence that I will take the necessary time to tweak the landing pages, improve the conversion rate etc. so I really enjoyed talking with him.
Conversely, his primary goal in coming here was to learn more about the organic side, because he says it makes him very nervous to have all his eggs in Google’s PPC basket, and he’s afraid the bottom could somehow fallout.
Walking into the networking event, the first face I saw was a familiar one, Dr. David Klein, the infamous San Diego chiropractor who seems to have become famous in the search marketing world, because of his genuine interest in the subject, his ability to network with others, and the fact that he’s just a really nice guy. He’s the one who put on the SEO poker tournament in Las Vegas at Pubcon.
For nearly 2 1/2 hours I talked to people in all walks of internet life, from casino affiliates, two independent SEM firm owners like myself, to in-house SEO’s sent here by their company. It was interesting to hear the different motivations in attending this event, and I’m looking forward to meeting them all again today.
I talked to more than one person who had come to Elite Retreat before, and I found that to be a great testimonial. I met a woman here who’s has been has been to Elite Retreat twice, and she decided to attend, after recently leaving her job to go into full-time affiliate marketing.
Oh yeah, got to talk with Shoemoney and Aaron Wall too quite a bit, and met Aarons wife too. also talked very briefly with Neil Patel, but more about all of them later… Time to jump in the shower and head to the show!
Visit the Elite Retreat site