Searching Beyond the Paid

Friday, April 20, 2012

HeroConf – The Class Reunion of PPC

On Monday, about 100 PPC pros converged in Indianapolis for the first annual HeroConf, put on by the great folks at PPC Hero. Being the first conference, none of us knew exactly what to expect, but there was a sense of anticipation and excitement in the air in the PPC community during the days leading up to the show. Everyone was looking forward to a conference focused solely on PPC.

HeroConf didn’t disappoint. It was a day jam-packed with PPC goodness, covering everything from account structure to mobile to remarketing and tons more. The sessions were insightful, and the speakers were a who’s who of paid search.

Yes, I spoke 3 times and moderated a lunchtime roundtable, but this isn’t meant to be a brag. I am humbled to have been included in such stellar company. As I sat on the Q&A panel at the end of the day, I honestly couldn’t believe I was up there with 2 of the people from whom I learned PPC back in 2002 – Brad Geddes and Andrew Goodman. The days of me harassing them with questions on the search forums are behind me, and they’ve both become good friends. Still, it was an awe-inspiring experience.

Because of the small size, the best part of the conference for me was the networking. I think I got to personally speak with nearly everyone in attendance, which is unheard of at the major shows. At the meet and greet Sunday night, I met old friends for the first time – people I’ve hung out with every Tuesday at noon EST for PPC Chat. It was a total blast, and I stayed up too late both Sunday and Monday, but it was worth every second of lost sleep!

After last year’s SMX Advanced, I wrote a post saying the show was like homecoming. Well, if SMX Advanced is homecoming, HeroConf was a class reunion – the group you were always closest with and knew the best. The camaraderie and knowledge-sharing was unmatched – I don’t think I’ve ever felt so relaxed at a show, especially one where I was speaking so many times! Usually that’s a recipe for all-day nerves, but I felt totally comfortable because I knew I was among friends.

It would take me all day to list all the amazing PPC people I met at HeroConf, but I do want to give a special shout-out to a few who made the conference especially meaningful to me.

To Melissa Ferrigan, who was a friend before I was even doing PPC, I’m so glad you were there to share it with me.

To Matt Umbro, it was totally awesome to share the stage with you at the Account Structure and Q&A panels, and to geek out on PPC over drinks.

To James Svoboda, I really enjoyed hanging out at IND. Thank you for turning the usually-mind-numbing time waiting for my flight into a fun chat!

And finally, to Michelle Morgan, my PPC little sis, I had an absolute blast swapping stories and rants with you. I knew we’d hit it off, because we already had on Twitter, but I felt like we became true BFFs at the show.

And to everyone else I met, know that I feel blessed to have chatted with you. I can’t wait for next year’s show!

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