After 48 hours in Las Vegas, I’m worn out – but it was a great time! This was my 4th Pubcon, but the first one that I attended with an exhibition instead of a full access pass. I don’t have a lot of feedback on the sessions as I didn’t attend any, but the word I kept hearing was that there wasn’t a lot of earth shattering information shared. For me the real value in Pubcon is connecting with old friends and making new connections and that came through in spades this week.

You get out of a Conference what you put into it
This is an obvious statement, but the truth is you need to make a point to meet new people at a conference if you want to get the most value. Attend all of the networking sessions, meet up at the hotel bar at the end of the night, schedule meetings during the day and strike up random conversations – you never know where it might lead. One of my most interesting leads came from me being locked out of my room then having to go back to the front desk to get a new card key and having a serendipitous meeting at the elevator bank.

Exhibitor Booths
Overall there was a few more exhibitor booths than last year’s Pubcon (and up from about 8 total booths in 2010). The quality of companies with booths was high so that was nice, stopping by and chatting with the different service providers and tool sellers was a useful exercise as we explore partnerships and adding additional features to Content Runner. The strength of Pubcon isn’t their exhibition hall (maybe someday) – if you go there expecting Ad Tech, you will be disappointed.

Networking and Dinners
The meetup on Tuesday night for SEO Book at the Pink Taco was a hit – thanks to Dave and Keith for sponsoring!  Connecting with SEO Book members was valuable and talking to people about the different opportunities and pain points they are having was extremely informational. On Wednesday night we booked a dinner at Del Frisco’s great steakhouse and even a better conversation, thanks to all of you who attended: Kwan, Charles, Todd, Robert, Rich and myself.

What Pubcon Needs
Pubcon needs a speed networking event and they needed it yesterday. Most of the larger conferences are adding structured speed networking events and Pubcon would be well served to consider this. I would enjoy a larger exhibition hall as well, if that comes down to pricing, I suggest Pubcon tier their prices to encourage more companies to come and represent, I know Content Runner is considering a booth for next year!