SES San Jose 2007 Recap

SES San Jose 2007 Logo(Note: It will soon become evident that I started this on the plane. However, it’s Wednesday and I finally wrapped it up.)

As I write this post on the plane, I am already beginning to miss SES San Jose 2007 (August 20-23), which was one of the most successful search conferences that I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. Not only was it educationally enriching, it was also an extremely successful and exciting networking event. And this flight, which actually is running early, was by far the easiest check-in and take-off in my entire life of traveling. Even though my seat is broken (the seat back flung backwards as soon as the plane lifted into the air), life is good.

During the day, life was all about business, and the intellectual stimulation began. Seventeen (!) sessions were liveblogged by yours truly, and Search Engine Roundtable covered a whopping 64 of the 74 sessions. The evenings were filled with a little more laid back fun, from an Ask.com dinner on Monday night to an incredibly awesome Google Dance on Tuesday and a pretty crazy WebmasterRadio bash on Wednesday night. I have to say that it was great. Thank you Barry. :)

Where to begin… I obviously owe a ton of love to a bunch of people, so I will do my best to remember all of them. First, I have to pay a special thanks to Steve Boymel, who is sitting next to me watching me write this blog (I feel like I’m still liveblogging, which would put me at 18 for the entire conference). He helped me carry my incredibly heavy bag of schwag on the plane. I commend you, Steve. You rock.

It was great seeing all of my old friends and meeting a few new and truly cool ones.

So, in no particular order, shout outs to my BFF (Lee, take note!), The Lisa, Rand (who knows that link suits him well!), Gillian (Barnard alumni unite!), and Rebecca. I would like to declare my admiration for Matt in case it wasn’t obvious at the conference, and howdy to the other two: Matt and Matt. Of course, it was also nice to see familiar Googlers Adam and Susan (who just got married!) and I got some great photos of former Googler Vanessa (which totally rocked, but after all the pictures I took with her with her eyes closed, I think she hates me). Whenever I saw Vanessa, I also saw Michael, so he gets the next mention. And it’s also great to see people from my old clan: Chris and Danielle. I also ran into familiar conference faces: Li, Kim, David, Jill, Shoemoney, Jon, Joe, Chris, Chris, Andy, Christine, Carolyn, Brent (and thanks again for the shirt, Daniel!), Mike, Brett, Jarrod, Loren, Rhea, Todd (a very photogenic dude), Cameron, and Neil. Of course, there’s also Todd, Greg, Barbara, Dave, Dax and Cesar too.

But for the first time, I met Simon, which was very cool, because he has a British accent and I find myself singing that Mike Myers SNL skit every time I see him (it’s in my head right now. Thanks, Simon). I also helped Darcy score some schwag (you owe me!) and met Patrick, David, Rob (whose accent also totally rocks), and Frank (again, kickass accent). I also met a bunch of other guys for the first time: Daron, Adam, Shimon, Mike, Andrew, Kevin, Greg, Jon Kelly, Debra Mastaler, and Justin Davy (who I actually met on the airport on the way back to Newark, but that was cool, since he blogged for us).

On Monday night, I was able to join a pretty awesome Ask.com dinner where I (finally!) met Gary and had a nice chat with Bloglines GM Eric Engleman whose team came out with an awesome product this week. I also got to meet the rest of the Ask team: Patrick, Erik, James, and some other guys whose names I didn’t get. It was good company!

It was also great meeting and hanging with Aaron, Bruce, and Bradley, Pat, Andy, David (and Brian), Michael, Michael, Jonathan, Jim, Scott, Dillsmack, Natasha, Eytan and Natala, David from Chicago, Sujan, Jennifer, Jennifer, Andy, Jill Sampey (who did me a huge favor and went with me back to my hotel room so that I could get my ID), and Bill.

I especially thank the guys who actually took the time to introduce themselves to me: Brian Mark, Brian Park (no, I am not kidding), Manoj, Jody, Avi, and Lucas.

Special thanks to Matt Bailey for a really awesome shirt. :) And finally, thanks to Danny!

Of course, we missed Rae, Jane, and Ben.

And now for some commentary and takeaways on some of the sessions:

  • Are Paid Links Evil? was by far the most wicked session ever. Michael Gray, I have respected you a ton in the past, but you totally rocked my world. You are no longer a kitten. You are a ferocious tiger. Please tell me that the video of that presentation is online somewhere. (If it is, I’ll link to it!) If not, here are his presentation notes. I admire your gusto.
  • The SEO Reputation Problem: For those of you who understand programming jargon, SEO != spammer. The fact that people keep making this comparison is inaccurate. Thus, this little tidbit made me happy.
  • Actually, Matt writes a list of 14 good SES takeaways. Read his instead.
  • For more lighthearted humor, here are 45 other takeaways from San Jose.

Finally, before I return to our regularly scheduled program, here are some obligatory pictures in a cute little collage format (click on the images for large sized). We had fun.

Brent Csutoras and Tamar Weinberg - SES San Jose 2007Carolyn Shelby, Chris Boggs, Rhea in the limo - SES San Jose 2007Jon, Hooley, Tamar, Rebecca, Rhea, Lisa, Bradley, Aaron, etc @ the Google Dance - SES San Jose 2007
WebmasterRadio Search Pulse - SES San Jose 2007Bald dudes - SES San Jose 2007Barbara Boser, Caesar, and Dax - SES San Jose 2007
Pat Sexy, Rebecca Kelley, Scott orth, Tamar Weinberg (and a cool shirt), Rhea Drysdale - SES San Jose 2007David, Jon Kelly, and me - SES San Jose 2007Rhea and Matt - SES San Jose 2007
It is this way - SES San Jose 2007Synchronized swimmers - Rebecca and David - SES San Jose 2007Tamar, Rebecca, Lisa shot #8284824 - SES San Jose 2007

Additional photos can be found from me, Matt McGee, Kim Krause Berg, Christine Churchill, Li Evans, Lee Odden and co., Mike McDonald, Brent Csutoras, and Simon Heseltine.

Other recaps are at Barbara Boser’s blog, David Mihm’s blog, Cre8pc (Kim Krause Berg), Rebecca Kelley, and others.

As for the next conference, will it be Vegas or Chicago? My mind is set on warmer weather… how about you?

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