SMX: Was it really ‘advanced’?

Filed in Conferences/Educ. by Matt McGee on June 5, 2007 4 Comments

So long, SMX…

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So, SMX Advanced 2007 has come and gone, and it was a real treat for me to not have to travel out of town to attend a search conference. The Bell Harbor Convention Center is a nice facility, and the waterfront location was fantastic. As always, it was great to hear new material in the sessions, and great to see old friends and make new ones.

As a matter of housekeeping, I believe I’m done adding to my SMX Advanced 2007 photoset on Flickr. If you weren’t able to attend, maybe the pix help tell you a little bit about what the conference was like.

But if you weren’t here, I bet the question you want answered most is: Was it really “advanced”?

Answer: Yes, but…..

I started asking that question on Monday afternoon to other search marketers, partly to see if my own thoughts to that point were similar to what others were thinking. I asked some more folks at the Google party Monday night. And then at lunch on Tuesday, I spent about 15 minutes chatting with three attendees I’d never met before to get their feelings. In all, I think I spoke with about 12-15 people, and the comments were incredibly consistent from person to person:

Nearly everyone agreed that the Q&A during each session is where the most advanced material was discussed. That tells me that Danny Sullivan hit a home run when he targeted an advance audience. Sure, there were a couple dud Q&A exchanges here and there, but that’s to be expected. As a whole, the Q&A was engaging and informative with good questions and panelists willing to answer openly (including the search engine reps).

Some of the speaker presentations left a little to be desired. I’m told that at the end of the Duplicate Content Summit session, one of the search engine reps asked if the material was advanced enough, and got a chorus of “no”s for an answer. I don’t share that as criticism of the speakers, because when I spoke at SEMpdx back in March, it was on the Advanced Track, and I had no idea what the attendees would consider “advanced” material. I appreciate the difficult task of putting together a presentation for what’s advertised as an advanced audience.

When Danny first announced this conference, I remember thinking he was taking a bit of a risk by calling it an advanced conference. Who’s job is it to define advanced? What’s advanced for me might be basic to you, or vice versa. As I was talking to those 12-15 people, a couple folks shared some very good ideas for future shows, and I hope those folks will share their thoughts with Danny directly and/or write about them on their blogs.

Ultimately, there were a couple bumps in the road over the past two days, but SMX is off to a good start. And given the way Search Engine Strategies grew and developed over many years, I have no doubt Danny and his team at Third Door Media will make the appropriate tweaks and changes so that future SMX Advanced shows get better and better. If you missed this one, I’d suggest you think about not missing the next one.

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  1. Search Engine Strategies or Search Marketing Expo? | June 7, 2007
  1. Hey Matt, was it advanced? Hmmm I must first think about that one. But my honest opinion is that everything went really good from my perspective and the bumps that occurred will quickly and swiftly be corrected by Danny. I am going to write about this more, but my quick take is that as far as a first try of a obviously challenging thing (“advanced”, er, what is that and how can that be defined for everyone?)this thing rocked.
    This is mostly due to the fact that I didn’t have to pay for my drinks, but even beyond that, I gotta tell you, this thing was successful from just about every angle and I truly expect the hiccups to be gone in the next one.

  2. Matt McGee says:

    Hey Pat – I’m with you 100% on that. Minor bumps and they will be corrected. Danny’s proven that he can grow a successful conference series from scratch, so there’s no reason to think SMX won’t be a big success. Thanks for joining and leaving your first comment. 🙂 It was great to meet you in Seattle….

  3. Ciaran says:

    Good point about what matters is your own definition of Advanced. I guess that this matches with my point over at SEOmoz about whether expectations were managed properly…

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