FINCON11 – Proof That PF Bloggers Do, In Fact, Know How To Party
To be honest, I’m not sure exactly what I expected out of the first annual Financial Blogger Conference. Maybe I was even a little nervous. After all, I was about to finally meet in person a bunch of fellow pf bloggers who I’d known, collaborated with, and talked with for years. That’s a lot of pressure! Regardless, I think it’s safe to say that whatever my expectations were, they were absolutely blown away by what transpired this weekend in (near) Chicago. The only negative? Not much sleep.
I should’ve flown in Thursday night. Apparently there were several of bloggers already there and dealing with an early Friday morning flight was a pain, primarily because I stayed up way too late on Thursday night and didn’t get much sleep (this would become a pattern). I got to the hotel around noon or so, took a short nap, and headed down to register around one. Once there, I met a few blogging friends I recognized and we ended up going to lunch together. Somebody correct me if I’m leaving somebody out, but I think the complete list is Pete, Ben, Ryan, Jeremy, and some of the guys from Wisebread and Money Crashers. It was a pretty small group, which was good, because helped ease me into the the all-out hyper networking nature of the rest of the weekend.
After lunch, we did some charity work through The Love Drop, which was organized by J Money. The target organization was Phil’s Friends, which provides support for cancer patients in the form of care packages, hand-written letters, and just flat out caring for the sick. It’s a really good cause and I’d love to see the organization grow to become nationwide so please, if you or somebody you know has ever been effected by cancer (and who hasn’t?), please donate. Every little bit counts. Anyway, being the lazy bastard I am, I forgot to RSVP for the event but decided to tag along anyway. After all, who ever complained about too many people showing up to do charity work? Unfortunately, I was told later that the bus was too full and some people ended up having to take separate vehicles. Sorry guys, that was my bad. Hit me up on Twitter (@KyleAAA) or via email and I’ll send you some gas money.
After some hard labor, it was time to party. The evening started off with MD and I making a trip to the local grocery store to pick up a 12 pack of Latrobe’s finest. I subsequently began passing them out to random people which, as you can imagine, made me very popular the rest of the evening. That leads us to the conference happy hour (read: free social lubricant) followed by a speed networking event. This is where things get a bit hazy. I made it a point to try to meet every single person in the room. Naturally, I didn’t quite get there but still, I probably met well over 100 people in the span of a few hours. Obviously, I couldn’t possibly mention everybody here but among the highlights for me was meeting Flexo, Rick Ferri (every investor should read his books, seriously), MD, Pat Flynn, Paula and Smart Money Chick (since we live in the same town, which is awesome), and about a billion others I can’t bring to mind. I also met a lot of really fun people representing various vendors. I would list you all but a bit too much wine had been consumed at that point so to avoid leaving anyone out, I just won’t try.
Festivities continued long into the evening. Not much sleeping was done.
I woke up with a bit of a headache on Saturday. Oops. But I ended up bumming some tylenol off somebody and was good to go before long.
This was the meat of the conference and honestly, every single one of the presentations I attended was excellent. Most conferences have a few stellar presentations surrounded by a bunch of fluff, but not this one. And I really mean that. All the presenters did a great job. Of the presentations I was particularly excited to see were JD’s and Ramit’s. Honestly, I thought I had a pretty good handle on most of this stuff, but I was shocked at how much I learned. The presentations I feel brought the most value to me personally were the one’s about email marketing and landing page optimization, as those are two things I am really, really not very good at.
After the day’s sessions was dinner, the Plutus Awards (congratulations to all the winners!), and an after party hosted by Ramit. It’s probably unwise to give too many details about what went down at the party, but suffice it to say that a.) yes, PF Bloggers know how to party and b.) I was sore all over the next day. Draw your own conclusions.
I proceeded to stay out past 4am. Again, no sleep.
Sunday brought more excellent sessions and opportunities to socialize but, to be honest, I was still not feeling so hot from the night before and so wasn’t in much of a socializing mood. I think I had popcorn and coffee or something ridiculous like that for breakfast. After the last session (by Pat Flynn, which was excellent), I had one last parting lunch with some of the guys from the conference. Since I had eaten way too much crap and generally been as unhealthy as possible all weekend long, I decided to limit myself to soup and salad for lunch. Naturally, that didn’t really fill me up so I gorged myself on McDonalds at the airport.
An Invitation To Everybody I Met This Weekend
It was great meeting you all. Really. Every. Single. One. Of. You. The hard part, though, is going to be maintaining contact over the next year. I believe we can all help each other enormously if we just work together. After all, we all have different skillz, experiences, and perspectives to bring to the table. There is no doubt something valuable I can learn from you and hopefully there’s something valuable you can learn from me. So consider this an open invitation:
To everybody I met this weekend, I want to help you achieve your goals, both personal and professional. Do you need a link to that awesome post you wrote last week? Need advice on optimal Adsense placement or maybe have a technical question? Need help promoting an ebook you wrote or product you created? I want to help you succeed. Please, please, please get in touch with me if you have any questions, comments, requests, or hell, just want to connect socially. I don’t want to wait until FINCON12 to reconnect with you guys again! Let me do something nice for you. Anything. Hit me up on Twitter (@KyleAAA) or via Email (Kyle at [this domain] dot com). I look forward to hearing from you guys!
In conclusion, I’ve been to plenty of conferences and this is, no joke, by far the best-run and most fun of any I’ve ever attended. I was inspired, excited, and energized by all the great presentations and truly fund and interesting people I met this weekend. Phil from PTMoney did an absolutely phenomenal job. Hey Phil, if there’s anything I can do to help out with next year’s conference, let me know.
I’m not the only one who had a great time. Here are some other (mostly better) accounts of the conference from a few others.
- How To Handle Meeting Hundreds Of Colleagues by Flexo of Consumerism Commentary (and who I stole this list from).
- A Gathering Of Financial Minds – FINCON11 A Smashing Success by Ryan of Cash Money Life.
- A Meeting Of The Minds: FINCON11 by JD at Get Rich Slowly.
- Moving Beyond Blogging At The Financial Bloggers’ Conference by Kelly at The Centsible Life (I loved your presentation, by the way).
- How Can One Personal Finance Blogger Make So Many Bad Money Decisions? by Miranda Marquit, one of the best freelance writers in the personal finance space and an absolute pleasure to interact with.
- Share Your Favorite FINCON Moments And Win $100 by Will at Wisebread. Would it help me with the $100 if I said it was meeting you?
- The Financial Bloggers Conference Saved This Blog by Jenny at The Jenny Pincher. I’ve been there. More than once. Blogging is a lot harder than most people think, but if you stick with it good things will happen eventually.
- What I Learned About Personal Finance Bloggers From FINCON11 by the Mighty Bargain Hunter.