We just spent four grueling weeks on the road in four cities in March. SMX West, SXSW, SES and Web 2.0. Before we left I felt like Flounder in Animal House exuberantly exclaiming, “Oh boy, is this greeeeaaaat!” and by the end of the month I felt like Chris Tolles’ alligator jacket after a four night bender in Miami Beach.
With a full tank of gas we started off with a local gig down the road in San Jose at Search Marketing Expo West where Rich was on two panels ‘The Spam Police’ and ‘Ask the Search Engines.’ Mike also presented to a packed crowd of search engine experts explaining the benefits of blekko’s free SEO data.
A few days later we landed at SXSW in Austin, Texas co-hosting the ‘Search Party‘ with Chomp, Hipmunk, PopChips, SV Angel and aplusk. The party was successful with over 500 guests hanging out on the roof top patio of the Hangar Lounge. SXSW was gigantic this year as the film, interactive and music components were all combined in the expo hall. The blekko booth was swarmed the first morning and we gave out over 600 shirts in the first three hours of the show. Downtown Austin turned into Mardi Gras meets Fort Lauderdale spring break as soon as the music segment of the festival started. At this point I was content hiding under the covers of my hotel room bed.
Tips for the Road Warrior at SXSW:
- Register and book your hotels nine months in advance if you want to stay downtown instead of in San Antonio.
- Wear comfortable shoes that you can wear for 24 hours straight.
- Stay hydrated, try to eat healthy and take your vitamins.
- Try to hit every BBQ joint in the area to find your favorite for next year.
- Go see some live music. You’re in the ‘Live Music Capital of the World.’
- Get sleep and take naps whenever you can.
- If you drink, stick with one drink; don’t mix. Lone Star beer surprisingly agreed with me.
- Experience some real Austin culture and visit places away from downtown like Artz Rib House, The Broken Spoke and the Horseshoe Lounge.
After spending a short weekend at home doing laundry, we headed to New York City for the Search Engine Strategies Expo for two days of expo hall excitement. The last show of the month was Web 2.0 in San Francisco and at this point the extrovert in me had become an introvert and my brain was turning to mush. The blekko elevator pitch robotically rolled off my tongue like Twinkies off the Hostess assembly line. Fueled on Starbucks, banana walnut bread and warm Pepsi we gave demonstration after demonstration to an unrelenting crowd.
As I look back it was all good. We gave away 4000 trading cards and 2500 t-shirts and 4 iPads. Large amounts of pork were consumed. Everything arrived on time thanks to GES Logistics. Folks in the crowd constantly yelled out, “I love blekko!” and others were convinced to give us a try. It’s all part of spreading the word and you can’t do that without hitting the road.