When the Ninjas Crossed the Street, I Completely Lost My Train of Thought

SOBCon Blog NinjaBut it made for a great start to a great weekend.

I was riding to the hotel for SOBCon in the airport shuttle. Jason Alba from JibberJobber and I were discussing the start-up life, when two ninjas crossed the street in front of the shuttle.

I haven’t been to Chicago in a couple of years, but I didn’t remember it having a large ninja population.

Turns out, there was an anime convention in the same hotel as SOBCon. I had to check my bag at the airport because I had a 4-ounce bottle of shampoo — but strangely dressed people carrying weapons, freely roamed the street and hotel.

Next time, I’ll try dressing up.

SOBCon – Beta Edition

I’ve been to lots of conferences, conventions, seminars, and meetings over the years. Too many to remember.

I can honestly say this was by far one of the best.

Chris Cree, his amazing wife Lisa, Liz Strauss, and Terry Starbucker did an outstanding job of coordinating everything. They’re also incredible people and good friends.

It’s fitting that a great blogging conference mimics a great blog…

  • Stays on topic, but remains flexible
  • Is informative, but friendly and welcoming
  • Is a conversation, rather than a lecture
  • Makes is hard to leave, but easy to want to come back

That’s exactly what the beta edition of SOBCon was. And like other really good online betas, it was hard to distinguish from a production version.

Too Many Highlights to List Them All…

but here are a few:

Sitting beside Troy Worman on the flight in. I read his blog, we did some Mastermind Group stuff together, and we live in different states. Yet, his connecting flight just happened to be out of North Carolina, so we ended up in seats right next to each other. Weird synchronicity.

Meeting Easton Ellsworth, a fellow work-at-home dad, and the one who left my very first comment.

Seeing in person (and hugging) Wendy Piersall and Kammie Kobyleski two of my earliest blog buddies.

Shaking hands with (and some more hugging) friends and the grand poobahs of the Iowa Gang – Make Sansone, Drew McLellan, and Mike Wagner.

Finally getting to have some face-to-face conversations with my friend Ben Yoskovitz. Also, thanks to the fact that he wanted to get rid of his American money before going back to Canada, he covered my share of the cab fare when I didn’t have cash.

Seeing Christine Kane (who’s music I’ve loved for quite some time), perform. We also hung out, talked, and laughed a lot. She’s helped prove to my girls that I was cool — by writing it on the CD she autographed for them.

Discovering that Phil Gerbyshak is just as crazy cheerful and funny offline as on the interwebs. If he could bottle his positive energy, well, now that would be a start-up.

Having a conversation with Dawud Miracle that easily transitioned from parenting and childbirth, to the benefits of hand-coding, CSS master pages, WordPress, and GIMP.

Meeting Lorelle VanFossen, and selecting her card from the punchbowl to be my blogging buddy. The person next to me said “Oh, you can put that back. I won’t tell anyone. I’d be intimidated to be Lorelle’s blogging buddy.” If you wanted to be a rock star, and you pulled Eric Clapton’s name to do a project with, what would you do?

Having Adam Kayce find and bring a bunch of us to the Tandoor Restaurant. A place that very well may be the best Indian food in Chicago.

Talking with Ashley Cecil about her artwork and activism. I loved hearing her talk about her marketing strategies and business plan. I deal with so many creative folks who struggle and whine about being able to turn their work into a business. They could learn a lot from Ashley.

Discussing small town Georgia and the crazy things kids do with Robyn Tippins. Oh, and she also made some little announcements, that are all over Techmeme.

Seeing Director Tom Clifford without his beret, and Bob Hruzek not as a blue shark.

Talking visual communication and the origins of our kid’s names with David Amano.

Though my friend Doug Karr couldn’t make it, I did get to meet two people I found through his blog, Sean Rox and Jim Walton. Two very cool and talented guys.

For someone who prefers brevity, this is becoming a long post. I’m sure there are highlights and people I missed, but maybe I’ll live-blog next time, so I don’t miss anything.

For a more in-depth view, check out the live blog notes from Easton, Jesse (updated with his new site), and Jason. They have some pretty detailed coverage. Phil and Chris posted some pics, and I’m sure there are others.

I can’t wait till next year…