A Different Type of Presentation

Yesterday, I learned how to give a new type of training presentation, as my life in the web-world took another turn, as I completed recording 14 lectures for the University of San Francisco. Before I get into the details of the lectures, I need to take a step back.

Right from the beginning of my web career, the currents of economy have helped me along as I "tripped & stumbled" my way through life. I didn't set out to 20+ years ago for a career in web consulting or search marketing. Frankly they didn't exist yet. I did use one of the ancestor of the Internet (bitnet) back in the mid 1980's while attending the University of Waterloo and fell in love with email and Usenet groups. It was the opportunity that presented itself when the first ISP's starting popping up that drew me back to this evolved/evolving technology. Just after I had immersed myself in all it had to offer in the early 90's, I started telling friends all about it and before long they were recommending me to their bosses as a consultant to help them understand the potential that the Inernet (specifically the web) had to offer them.

It's hard to remember that there was a time when major corporations didn't have email nor websites. Yet there was and to many young web and search marketers it seems like ancient history because they never experienced it. It was during this time, that I expanded my knowledge and started speaking about the Internet at corporate events and conferences.

As the role of the Internet & web evolved so did my career & business. So when I was approached a couple of months back to become one of several lecturers for a new on-line certificate being offered by University of San Fransisco on Search Marketing, I could say know and so my career has evloved again.

I'm a veteran of the conference circuit having spoken and keynoted at more conference than I can count. I've been teaching something to adults for more than 1/2 my life off & on including Webinars, numerous web analytics courses, Webtrends training, SEO coursed etc. through my company, yet yesterday sitting down in a recording studio in front of a teleprompter was revelation. I really didn't think it would so different than teaching a small class or giving a talk at a conference. Well I now have a new respect for TV news anchor people. I really couldn't believe how difficult it was to keep my eyes focused properly, to keep my head straight, to keep my energy up, too pace the lectures perfectly, etc. As such under fire I got to learn a new skill and while not expecting to perfect it at least coming close to something much better than acceptable.

It will be a few weeks until the sessions are edited and I'll get to see the final product. I do hope they are great and that I get more chances to continue to develop yet another skill I've learn as I've tripped & stumbled along the "Internet Super Highway".


2 Weeks 2 Conferences and What I Learned

It's been a crazy couple of weeks for me. First I attended, spoke and moderated sessions at SMX Toronto (Arpril 8 &9) and then with just a weekend to recover I head down to Dallas to Attend PubCon (April 13-15). While I had hope to drop in on the PubCon training sessions on April 13, sadly conference calls and a work hang over from SMX Toronto, kept me away until the evening networking event.

By attending these two conferences back to back I discovered a few things. Here at the Toronto conference which was paired with eMetrics many of the SMX attendees were gravitating to the eMetrics sessions (despite not having the combo pass) and the SMX analytics sessions (I spoke on one and moderated another) which very well attended.

A PubCon, the web analytic focused sessions were not well attended. Perhaps it was the time slots (my session was the last one on day 1) or some of the topics pitted against them. Regardless simply talking to people at the PubCon show there seemed to be only a small interest in web analytics and greater focus on Social Media.

Once thing I also discovered at SMX/eMetrics while most people were using Google Analytics, they were also using one of the other major tools (Omniture, Webtrends, etc.) to get more advanced information. At PubCon most people I spoke to seemed content with their Google Analtyics. Perhaps this explains the minimal interest in the subject matter. People seem to believe that all they really need is Google Analytics and that it will tell them all they need to know.

This concept was stressed at SMX by the keynote speaker Avinash Kaushik when he said "Google Analytics has more in it then any company needs, so you don't need to spend money on the other tools" (I'm paraphrasing of course). Of course most of the people at this conference gasped & groaned at the comment realizing that measurement of specific KPI and paths to conversion are critical in the continual evaluation and improvement life cycle of a web site and are absent from Google Analtyics

The biggest highlight of the two events was the Day 1 keynote at PubCon by Scott Stratten (from Oakville, Ontario) President of Un-Marketing (twitter ID unmarketing). I met Scott for the first time last fall in Las Vegas and despite living 30 miles apart and only catching glimpses of each other at different events where we both speak, we finally managed to hook-up in Dallas. His keynote was simply the best keynote of recent memory at any conference and may very well be the best one I've ever heard. What set this keynote apart was not the content (the content was great), but his style. True to what Scott preaches in his tweets, he didn't talk to us (or shout at us), but he grabbed a chair sat down and proceeded to have a conversation with the entire audience. No one even noticed that they couldn't get a word in until the Q&A portion, because the gems and insights that flowed from Scott's mouth were so captivating. From what Scott told me, it sounds like his upcoming book (due out this fall) will follow the same style. I just can't wait.

As with all conferences, you get out of it what you put in. By speaking, moderating and attending sessions, I picked up lots of new ideas and techniques to apply to clients. Yet the best part of both of these two amazing events was what happened out side of the sessions room at the various networking events. The connections, the exchange of ideas in an unstructured manner - yes in conversation provided even more applicable knowledge and insight. It is this face to face meeting and conversations that can't be replaced by on-line lectures and it is why I always try to find the time and budget to attend as many high quality conferences as I can.

Right, I'm not booked into any events in the short term, but I'm hoping/planning on SES Toronto in June and the main PubCon Las Vegas is November, plus with a little luck perhaps another 1 or 2 before the year is over.


SMX Toronto

Well SMX Toronto is finally here. Sessions start tomorrow and I've got a full slate.

I'll be moderating 2 sessions:
- Organizational Readiness: where we'll look at how you get the whole organization to play nicely
- Post Click Behaviour  & Landing Page Optimization: This title speaks for itself

Both sessions, have expert in the field and I know will be fantastic sessions.

I'm also speaking in 2 sessions
- What is Search Analytics and Why Should I Care?: I'll be talking about tracking off-line conversions
- A site review session with Barbra Coll - get there early for a chance to have your site reviewed.

Even if you don't attend on of the 4 sessions I'm involved in, be sure to get my attention and say hi.

Also, next week I'm heading to Dallas Texas for PubCon spring. This is another 2 days of information packed sessions and I'll be speaking on Off-line conversions once again.

Follow me on Twitter @aknecht for live conference updates and I'll do my best to get a few blog posts done as well.