Long overdue post: SMX wrap-up

SMX logo

I’ve sat down to write this post at least a dozen times, and I’ve either been too tired to write coherently, or been busy and otherwise preoccupied. So, I apologize for the completely untimely nature of this SMX summary.

The Space Needle in Seattle, WA
The Space Needle in Seattle, WA

Here’s the quick play-by-play of the trip…
I left for Seattle early in the morning (at like 4 am) on Saturday, June 2nd. Arrived at SEA at 10:30a local time. Spent a couple hours in the lounge twittering about how bored I was. Wandered through the duty free shop and got sprayed by a lady testing perfumes, so I smelled very flowery for a few hours, which I suppose is better than smelling like sauerkraut or something. Got a limo to the hotel (yay). The weather was fantastic, the hotel was very nice. There were flowers waiting for me in the room for my birthday (peonies — my fave).

Saturday night, we walked to Belltown. Stopped in a couple shops… had dinner at the Queen City Grill (very good steaks). We ate outside and people watched a bit. I noticed a disturbing trend… apparently it isn’t usually quite that warm in Seattle, so there was an overabundance of very, very, very, very white people in shorts and sun dresses. Let’s see… after dinner we cabbed over to the Space Needle… It was prom night, so the place was packed with teenagers and tulle. We bumped into Danny Sullivan, Matt Cutts and Vanessa Fox on the oberservation deck. We (exclusive of the aforementioned people into whom we ran) hung out until sunset so we could get some pictures of the skyline, and then I think we just headed back to the Fairmont.

The Fairmont, by the way, was very nice. The customer service was excellent and I had a wonderful stay. We had a bit of a mix-up once I got home and realized they charged the room to my card instead of the company amex, but I’m sure that will be sorted out. I’m still just tickled they found an extra charger that worked with my cell phone and let me use it the whole trip so I didn’t have to go out and buy a new one.

Sunday was my birthday, so we walked around a little… had a nice lunch and shopped a little. Went to the MSN party and picked up my registration stuff. The MSN party was fun. The waiters were walking around with blue cocktails of some type (less than affectionately referred to as Blue Screens of Death). I didn’t actually have any of the food for some reason. Probably too busy talking. Danny gave away some Zunes and an Xbox; I didn’t win anything. After the party, I went to some dive-y 24 hour diner type place called Minnie’s for a very late night omelette. The food was good. They didn’t have ANY sweet ‘n’ low though, which was a minor crisis until I remembered that I keep my emergency stash of little pink packets o’ death in the little zipper pocket in my handbag.

Monday morning I walked to the conference center (which was far, but downhill, so not too bad). Got there in time for the keynote. Twittered a little during the keynote. The wireless in the conference was happy, especially since the internet access at SES NY blew. It was a trifle on the slow side, but I figured everyone else and their mother was online too… so I should just be happy to get what little throughput I could. I was covering the paid track sessions this conference, but the first session I covered really seemed like just one big long pitch for the companies involved… pretty disappointing; however, subsequent sessions were much better.

On Monday, I ended up leaving for lunch and walked over to the Red Robin a few piers down from the conference center because, well, I love Red Robin, and conference boxed lunches generally suck. Boy was I kicking myself when I found out how the food was at SMX. I’ve been to some pretty swanky catered events, and this was by far some of the best food like ever… oh. my. lord. The food was fanfreakingtastic. The second day I stayed for the buffet and I went back three times to the carving station for the turkey. I’m making myself hungry writing about it. Seriously. Oh… and linen napkins. Real silverware. Real glasses. Brewed iced tea (I’m somewhat of an iced tea snob, so this was a very big deal to me). Seriously…. food was worth the price of admission.

The Google Dance was a lot of fun. Personally, I LOVE 80s music. Some people who shall remain nameless were kvetching a little, but said people who shall remain nameless listen to weird techno crap that is impossible to dance to and clearly have no love for Bon Jovi.

After the Google Dance, a group of us went to a “bar” called Cowgirls or something of that nature (and the name should have been a tip-off, but my only other option was to take a cab back alone and be a party pooper). So anyway, it was a western themed bar with scantily clad bimbettes dancing on top of the bar and performing all sorts of interesting gyrations and calestenics by swinging from ropes wrapped around a pole suspended above their heads. Two members of our party had their conference badges swiped by the dancer, but luckily they were able to retrieve them before we left. (Would have been a fun conversation to hear the next morning at the registration desk… “Um yes, I need a new badge because a dancing girl took mine…”)

Tuesday sessions were good. I blogged some of them for Search Engine Roundtable. I got to chat with Matt Cutts in the press room for a little while. Cleared up some residual questions from the Vegas PubCon thing. The group photo was slightly disappointing because there just no way everyone could get into it.

After the conference, I went out for Mexican with Dave Rohrer and Rhea Drysdale and then we all rode together to SEA for late night flights back home. I didn’t sleep at all on the plane, and then I got to go straight to work after I landed, so I’ve decided red-eyes suck and I’m going to try to avoid them in the future.

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. I still have to write my “What I learned at the conference” report for work, and then I also might have a couple more blog posts based on some conversations I had with people at the conference. But I think those can wait til later this week 🙂 Also, I have a bunch more photos to get off my camera and upload to flickr, but I need to buy a new USB cable because I left mine at the hotel. So watch for additional (and potentially embarassing) photos to show up on my flickr page.