A Personal Observation Of What Was Blog World LA 2011 [#BWELA]

by Marcus Sheridan

blog world LASo here I sit, headed back to the LAX airport on a Saturday evening to catch the ‘Red Eye’ back to Virginia, and contemplating my thoughts, lessons, observations of what was Blog World LA 2011. Like any event of this magnitude and duration, my mind and body are zapped, but considering my previous post on BW New York 6 months ago, I feel it important that I take a few minutes to write this.

An Industry of Humble Leaders

With thousands from around the globe in attendance, there will certainly be many reviews written of BWLA over the coming days. But instead of talking about how impressed I was with the experience, the content, and the organization as a whole, I simply want to talk about a subject that has touched me the most from this experience– the love, passion, and humility found within the incredible leaders of this industry.

As I was standing in line to catch a bus from the Sheraton on  the morning of the first day at BW, I happened to find myself next to ultra A-lister Darren Rowse, founder of ProBlogger. Immediately Darren and I struck up a conversation and I was quickly impressed with his humble and kind disposition. The guy, despite having huge amounts of success in this industry, showed not even the slightest degree of arrogance. It was obvious he saw anyone he talked with as his equal, and in his excellent seminar later on, he showed those exact same characteristics.

Later on during the first day, I walked by a group of folks that were talking with Chris Brogan. Wanting to say hi to Chris, but not wanting to interrupt the group he was with, I just walked by and started to go into my next session. But before I could go in, Brogan broke away and came right up to me with an extended hand, saying, “Marcus, it’s great to see you. I’m so impressed with the work you’ve been up to. How are you?”

For the next few minutes, Chris and I had a great conversation. In fact, he likely would have chatted for much longer had his assistant not informed him that he was late for a book signing. (Which obviously was not nearly as important to him as just chatting with fellow bloggers.)

Without question though, Chris displayed the characteristics that anyone who has ever met him talks about– humility and interest in others. To say his kindness was staggering would be an understatement.

At the end of the first evening, I was invited to a dinner with the staff and writers of Social Media Examiner. With the simple purpose of wanting to thank all those persons and writers that had blessed and helped him these past two years, SME founder Michael Stelzner exuded appreciation for all in attendance at the dinner.

Social media examiner

The Social Media Examiner Crew

What surprised me so much about being invited to this event was that I’ve never really done anything for Michael and his blog (my first post on his site will be out in a few weeks). In fact, he is always the one helping and guiding me. But during the dinner he leaned over and kindly said these words: “Marcus, I know everyone here has written for SME, but I wanted you here tonight because you’re going to be a part of this community moving forward.”

Just as with Brogan, to say I was honored by Michael’s kindness to an average Joe like myself would be an understatement.

An Industry of Dedicated Teachers

On the following day, Friday, I had the opportunity to chat with Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income before his session. To say he was ‘anxious’ about his class would be an understatement. It was obvious he had an overwhelming desire to deliver value to his audience.
When his session begun, there immediately was a problem–his slides on Powerpoint weren’t keeping up because of some tech issues the room was having. Notwithstanding, Pat went on flawlessly, as his preparation had been so intensive that he literally had all the slides memorized.

This alone demonstrated to all attendees just how much time and effort Pat had put into preparing this event. And to say the guy truly ‘cared’ about his audience would be an understatement.

But Pat was not alone in his efforts to give great value. On the third day, I attended a session with Derek Halpern of Social Triggers. For 45 minutes, Derek spoke without the help of any slides or notes. With his big smile and New York accent, he wowed attendees with his psychological break-down of blogging and the science of conversions while making huge fans of everyone in the room.

Like Pat and Derek before him, Srini from Skool of Life and BlogCast FM was literally ‘giddy’ to give his presentation. He told me of the hours and hours he had put into preparation, going so far as to video record it more than once to work out any kinks and deliver the best product possible.

Fact is, EVERY speaker I saw this week at Blog World this week had given their all to make each session a great one. Amy Porterfield’s session on Facebook was an absolute gem.  Chris Drucker’s enthusiasm for the movement that is Virtual Assistants (and life in general) was palpable.

All of this, and not a single one of these speakers was paid a dime to leave their homes, families, and daily lives so as to help other bloggers to be the best they can possibly be.

An Industry in Good Hands

I could literally go on and on about how impressed I was with so many bloggers in LA this week, but I’ll just leave it at that. Without question, it was an enriching experience. Some people might think I’m just name dropping with this post, which if the case, is a crying shame.  I think much too often folks give A-listers and other bloggers flack for this or that, but once you get to know these people in real life, and once you get to see just how much they care, it’s hard not to smile at the direction of the blogosphere and this rapidly developing industry that is literally changing the world as we know it.

Note**: A special thank to Rick Calvert and the rest of the Blog World gang– Heck of a job ladies and gentlemen.

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