Its been more than a week since I have gotten back from Affiliate Summit West 2011 (#ASW11) and wheels are turning. I am thinking it may have been the most productive few days of my life, even though all I did was get wasted all night and wake up at 5pm each day.
Here is a video of my time in Vegas. (click here if you cant see the video)
You may notice there is very little of the ‘actual conference’. That’s because I didn’t really go to much of the ‘actual conference’…. Hell I didn’t even use my free breakfast’s, lunches and I think I used about 2/10 of my drink vouchers…
Some people may say that I wasted the time there because I didn’t go to any of the sessions and didn’t learn anything (which I know is what many of the others who entered Shoemoney’s Contest wanted to do.
But I beg to differ.
I learned HEAPS. But what I learned, will never be told at a session or keynote. Its the real shit. I also made some deep relationships. I went to Affiliate Summit knowing nobody. Like literally nobody. But I have gotten very used to rocking up to places knowing nobody and quickly making friends. It is kinda necessary when you are a solo traveller.
I left ASW with a bunch of new contacts. But not just business cards. Real projects that are in the works. On top of that I made new friends.
It is really hard to really befriend someone when you meet them during the day at a networking event. Sure you may have things in common, sure you may have an interesting conversation, maybe even go for lunch or something. But it is still surface level.
To build a relationship and you need to have shared experiences. There is almost no way around it. So how do you do this?
Well… going out partying until 8am is a good start. Doing stupid shit helps too:
My goal at ASW11 was to make some solid connections. I didn’t want to come back with a bunch of business cards and no follow up plans and I didn’t want to come back having not met anyone but listed to a bunch of speeches which I could learn in a few hours of research on my own (no disrespect to any of the speakers).
But hey, that was just my strategy going in knowing nobody. Next time it will probably be a little different as I will arrange to meet people in advance now that I know a few people.
What is your general conference strategy?