This was an awesome year. I set out last December to expand my network, mainly so that when my job was eliminated I would have some contacts.
The good news is that my job didn’t get eliminated, but the better news is the people who I met have enriched my life in ways I never envisioned a year ago.
Ashley Berman Hale
Ashley’s SEO Meetup was my first baby step. I was doing more and more SEO work and wanted to connect with others to compare ideas and get some new tips. The meetup is far and away the best one I’ve ever attended. Ashley has found the sweet spot in connecting with small business people, techies, marketing people, novices and advanced search marketers. I now compare all other meetups to this one, and none have even come close, here’s why:
- Fantastic subject matter – Ashley has a knack for picking really smart sessions to appeal to a wide audience
- Feels casual because it has an expected structure – people are encouraged to participate, share, brag and question. The less lecturing the better her meetups get. She’s a true rock star.
- Handouts. Ashley goes the extra mile and always has handouts and other take-aways that let you work on your specific checklist.
- Expert – Ashley has made her bones in organic search and is now a Top Contributor and Bionic Poster at Google Webmaster Forums, which requires Google reaching down and picking you out as super helpful and knowledgeable about search.
- Fun – I’ve always had fun at the meetups, which is why Ashley has been able to attract over 300 people to join the meetup.
If you need a starting point for your SEO journey, Ashley’s site audits are the best in the industry.
I know a bunch of people learn from Seth. I remember running across a video of his Tribes presentation posted at Mixergy and being so moved, I started writing this blog in earnest. What struck me were just a few catch phrases that gave me the courage to keep moving forward in an environment that doesn’t always value straight-forward honesty and sticking to your guns.
I hadn’t heard of Tim Sanders before running across his name while reading something. I was intrigued by the name of his book, Love is the Killer App. I grabbed the book from my local library and it really helped me refocus on the importance of actually being there for the people around me. Although I sometimes get weird looks followed by, “really?”, I try to let people know how much I appreciate them, it’s a nice feeling.
I’ve written about Morgan already this year, but that’s why she’s in this list. The impact of Morgan is her presence. She has the ability to walk in anywhere and be confident, charming and memorable. It’s so rare to see, I had almost forgot that such people existed. Meeting and getting to know Morgan has made me remind myself to put forth a little more effort at being memorable when meeting people.
I ran into Jeremy at an impromptu Tweetup at The Pit BBQ in downtown Raleigh over the summer. We hit it off right away as a couple of smart-asses. I later found out he runs Twine Interactive downtown. Jeremy has offered me guidance and suggestions ever since. I can always count on him to give it to me straight, and he can count on the same from me in return. I value that, it’s not often you find someone who will point out your warts.
Brian and I had passed each other a bunch of times over the year, but finally became friends at the end of the summer. Brian has more marketing knowledge in his head than any other dozen VP’s of Marketing combined. He has the lethal combination of old-fashioned core marketing know-how, new 2.0 marketing savvy, tech skills and people skills. He is simply “the shit” when it comes to getting it done, and it doesn’t much matter what “it” is. I’ve snuck into his pack to get a better angle to observe him from and every week he does something that I label as brilliant (and then write down in my notebook).
I know, I know, Twitter’s not a person. So what, just keep reading. Using Twitter has allowed me to talk to and meet people who in the old 1.0 world never would have had time for me. It’s allowed me to look in on the people who I want to learn from, and see what they’re doing with their time, what they’re reading, what they’re interested in. Anyone who doesn’t see value in that is missing the best part of Twitter.
Who did you learn from this year?