It’ll take me a while to get to why I am an idiot, but please bear with me.
This past weekend Wiebke and myself headed to Leeds for ThinkVisibility. It was the first industry conference either of us had been to, so we had no idea what to expect. We definitely didn’t expect it to be quite as great as it was!
Friday night started well with us meeting Paul and James of NorthSouthMedia. I’ve "known" Paul for what seems like an eternity but it was the first time we’d actually met. What a thoroughly stellar chap he is, as is James.
As luck would have it the next two we met also greeted us with West Coast Scottish accents (which if you don’t know it is like an East Coast Scottish accent, only not as good :p). I’ve seen a lot of Shaun and his company Hobo-Web online, but had never spoken to him. Shaun is extremely social and someone you really should get drunk with if you have the chance! Chris of Sunshine was making sure that we did get drunk with exceptional generosity in the form of beer and vodka redbulls. I’d not heard of Chris before, but seriously what a great guy!
The only other couple we encountered were Dave and Elaine from Allkids.co.uk, we met these lovely people (I hope) just in time before I started slurring my words.
Ok, this is where it starts to get a bit hazy… but I think we met Alastair of WebsiteDoctor and Al from SelfMadeMinds both of whom are sterling gents too, though there’s more about them to come later…
The Conference Proper
TheHodge welcomed us all to ThinkVisibility and I’d like to give him a little extra attention just now, because he deserves it. Thinkvisibility was full of brilliant presentations which I will come to. The other phenomenal thing for me was the broad spectrum of people there. I have written about the people we met before the conference above and will write about those we met after too. So Mr. Thehodge, I would like heap praise upon you for organising ThinkVisibility to entice all these fine people away from their desktop! Well done Dom.
Tim Nash Tim’s presentation was a great start to the day. He told us how he’d been challenged to explain how a search engine works to pre-school children. He then had buckets with red water in them – apparently gJuice is red, who knew? By using holes in the buckets he showed how gJuice is transferred but by bunging up those holes only a few drops escaped. At some point he expected the buckets to explode, despite this not happening it was a wonderful analogy which I haven’t heard before. Ranking for white coat SEO would have worked had Dave Naylor not have hijacked him ;)
Chris Garrett‘s presentation fitted ThinkVisibility very well: "25 ways to get visibility with blogs". Chris ensured everybody knew to use quality as opposed to tricks, concentrated on people over numbers and realised there were only 3 sources of traffic. He then went on to share his 25 ways of getting visibility (sounds almost like a linkbait resource post, doesn’t it?) including some that I had never considered. Q&A sites for example, sheer genius.
Tom Smith came the closer to Twitter that I have ever seen any live person come. His style of presenting and evident enthusiasm for Social Media left eery second sentence unended. I must admit to never having heard of Tom prior to Thinkvisibility but anyone with such passion and energy is worth keeping an eye out for!
Guy Redwood did a phenomenal job of debunking the F pattern myth that I, as many others in the room, had subscribed to wholeheartedly. Despite having seen eyetracking usability testing from "both sides of the mirror" in the past, Guy’s presentation gave much more insight into the whole field of usability testing – the fact that male and female users don’t differ on the whole was new to me for example.
Lunch was a buffet and a chance to retank some electrolytes in the form of scotch eggs and crisps to help with the dehydration from the night before. We did get a couple of offers of going to the pub, but being the lightest of lightweights declined graciously.
Just before the next presentation started poor Chris Garrett got caught between two hatted and booze fuming Scotsmen:
Dave Naylor answered more questions than anyone else and was frank and open throughout it all. He gave both sides of the coin: From the 3 month old website that had 1500 pages of exceptional content outranking older more established domains without a single backlink, to sites being disappeared in a Van Helsing stylee ;) Buying links is bad kids m’kay.
Tom Critchlow had a raft of advice and knowledge on reputation management to share. From putting stories straight, to the evil wikipedia-press-wikipedia cycle that can take months and legal proceedings to fix. Ryanair of course got a wee mention too, but Tom’s presentation will be remembered above all for informing us of the current market value for Thai brides ;)
Patrick Altoft gave a great talk on linkbuilding, underlining that the vast majority of people forget to figure out what type of links their site needs. He then went on to describe 3 main types of links and how to go about getting them, truly invaluable. The Q&A at the end of his presentation also revealed a further Van Helsingesque technique ;)
Kieron Donoghue enlightened us about affiliate marketing. Some of his successes with older content getting found again really drove home the point that you should archive and not delete! Announcing to all that Chris would be buying beers in the pub was a great finish to his presentation too ;)
Post Conference Dinner
After leaving the conference and heading back to our hotel Chris, Dave & Elaine really kindly asked us if we’d come along for dinner with them later on. We went with them all to meet Kieron and Ray / @befuddle for a cracking Thai meal. The name of the restaurant escapes me for it to get a link too. Good food is always all the better when shared with good people :)
Booze upon Booze
The Hog’s Head was our after dinner booze destination to catch up with the other good folk. From this point on my hat got passed around a fair bit as my lovely assistant helped to capture:
After the Hog’s Head we went back to our hotel bar where we got more and more drinks in with Tim, Chris C, @Caius, @Peterc, Shaun and Alastair joining us after retrieving his passport ;) More hat swapping ensued:
At some point I fell over, in a spectacular fashion it must be said!
The hotel bar had closed so, as is customary it was decided MacDonald’s was a good idea. The last men standing were snapped by the last lady standing, and proud of her I was too!
Other Posts About Thinkvisibility
Why I am an idiot
I am an idiot for many reasons really, but I realised on Saturday is that:
- I should write a lot more often
- WebArchitecture is a dozy tag
- Half of the photos I should have taken I didn’t
- AndrewBurnett.com should be my personal blog
- Realising you’re an idiot is better than not realising it!
- I’m still hosted on this server.
If you can think of any other reasons I’m an idiot I would genuinely love to hear them!