So this past weekend I attended a conference for financial bloggers called FinCon.
I honestly didn’t know this existed until a friend said he was going. So at the last minute I decided “what the hell” and tried to go.
The idea of a bunch of nerds who blog about their finances online getting together at a conference made me laugh. FREAKIN LOSERS!!
Then I realized I was one of the first people online to publicly list his finances online……
And that my blog is literally named “Neville’s Financial Blog”……….
So I started to make some plans for headed to St. Louis for it, but FinCon was already sold out, and every hotel within 1.5 miles of the conference center was sold out! (apparently the St. Louis Cardinals was in the finals and the stadium was right next to the event).
Fortunately they had a “ticket exchange” and a “roommate exchange” for late stragglers like to me, so I scalped a ticket and found a roommate to split a room with.
Now I’ve actually been to a lot of conferences over the years, and it’s pretty clear the same thing happens each time:
You get a certain amount of value out of the speakers and events, but you get the MOST value from just meeting other people at the conference.
So if Lazy Larry stays home and watches every speech online and takes notes….he’ll come away with some good nuggets of information.
But if Friendly Freddy actually goes to the conference, and even misses a few of the sessions because he’s hungover……he will still get more out of the conference than Lazy Larry because he’s at the conference mingling, making friends, going out to breakfast/lunch/dinner with all the other nerds at the conference and building up a network of like-minded people.
Anyhow……soon after arriving I realized FinCon is the ONLY place where it’s appropriate to walk up to a stranger and ask
“Hi, what’s your blog??”
Even more interesting was that you’d usually have heard of the persons blog.
A conversation begins.
Interesting things are shared.
Friends are made.
Enough babbling, here’s some of the trip in pictures:
A selfie of me on the train (I didn’t know St. Louis had a decent train)? I’m jealous.
This was my roommate Romeo, who was more responsible than me and made proper room plans ahead of time!
Pretty quick you meet people you sort of know already through their blogs and make friends:
Pat Flynn was such a cool guy. I’d read his stuff before, and it was great hearing him talk and getting to know him better.
The St. Louis Arch. I saw it 20 years ago with my family. The building on the left was the Hyatt where everyone stayed, and the arch was LITERALLY right out the window, a very cool view!
Naturally I took a handstand picture under the Arch:
On Friday night there was a party at the Hilton in this super-awesome rooftop club/restaurant thing they had. It had complete panorama views of the city, the Arch, and overlooked one of the final games for the Cardinals.
It was so cool to hear/see the roar of the crowds from above!
This next picture won’t mean much to anyone else, but I’m including it here so I remember this:
Derek Halpern waived his speaking at the conference and instead told them “I’ll speak if you spend all the money on an open-bar closing party.” After that party was done, a group of 30+ people were trying to get cabs to a different place, and logistically it wasn’t working out very well.
Out of the clear blue, a big-ass party bus pulls up, opens the door, and a woman holding a giant can of Budweiser gets out and goes, “Need a ride??”
We all pile in and get a ride to the bar we were trying to go to.
I ASSUMED the woman worked for Budweiser and this was some promotional stunt. Turns out it was a church bus and the driver was just trying to make extra money! It was just one of those funny moments where you think, “That couldn’t have worked out ANY better!”
Then Patt Flynn showed us that he can dance really well….
And then some of us had a fancy-chmancy Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse dinner (get the filet):
And that was FinCon!
P.S. While I learned a lot from going to the sessions, the main benefits of these conferences comes from making new friends and hearing stories you otherwise wouldn’t just sitting behind a computer.
Now I wish there was some more time for me to hang out in Austin, but this weekend (Oct. 24th – 27th, 2013) I’ll be going to vegas for a small copywriting conference.
It’s going to be between 50 and 80 people, and some of the copywriting legends like John Carlton and Joe Sugarman will be there. THIS is a huge opportunity to hear some of the really big-time guys speak….but more importantly……hang out with them for the whole weekend on a personal level.
I also happen to be taking one person WITH me to the conference for free. If you wanna be that person, register here: (Monday is the last day to enter, I’m picking the winner Tuesday morning)!