Yeah, yeah, I'm an epic slacker. The 20SB Summit was a full week ago and I'm only just getting around to writing about it... #timelinessfail
It's hard to believe, as I sit here melting into a puddle in Denver, that it was a whole week ago that I was sitting in Chicago furiously scribbling notes, listening to truly inspiring people, making new friends, and generally revelling in the knowledge that I'm not the only 20-something in the world who has NO idea what they're doing (*is relieved*).
I, like many others, was somewhat hesitant in the beginning. I had fears that it was going to be more of what I heard at Blogopolis only a couple of weeks before I left - entire days of how to work with brands, how to monetise your blog, the importance of SEO. I don't think I've ever been so glad to be wrong.
The two keynote speeches (by Scott Belsky and Jenny Blake) were fabulous, and applicable to life across the board, not just to blogging. And I know the whole room could relate when Jenny Blake talked about how between you and a big goal is "the fire pit of failure and death". (I wish to God I had a picture of her slide for you. But the downside of buying a $10 phone is that it doesn't have a built in camera, which makes taking pictures of things like Powerpoint slides rather more complicated!)
The sessions I attended focused on growing a community, integrating photography, collaboration, organising offline events from online communities, and establishing boundaries. As with Blogopolis, there was one speaker that was a stand out for me. At Blogopolis, it was Darren Rowse - Problogger himself. At the 20SB Summit, it was Ben Boudreau. His session "Oh no, I've said too much" was hilarious, while being informative at the same time. I only wish I hadn't been too much of a chicken to introduce myself afterwards. We *totally* could have bonded over having weird accents and coming from countries that have Queen Elizabeth on the money... *sigh*
The true sign of success for the first ever 20SB Summit? When our fearless leader DShan made his closing remarks, said "That's a wrap", and NO ONE MOVED. No one wanted it to be over.
I learnt so much from the Summit. To tell people your ideas so that you're accountable on following through. To be yourself. To engage with your community offline as well as on. To be vulnerable and push yourself outside your comfort zone in what you write. That participation matters. To think about what it is in a situation that caught your attention, and photograph THAT. And, most importantly, that bloggers are pretty much the most awesome people of EVER.
So thank you to all the sponsors for making it possible. To all the speakers for delivering content that hit the nail on the head. And thank you to DShan and the 20SB team for organising a truly amazing weekend. If it weren't so damned expensive to fly over here, I'd sign up for next year's summit in a heartbeat.