Friday, September 24, 2010

What did you learn in school today?

Today was BizTechDay New York. The BizTechDay™ conference brings innovative and scalable ideas to small business entrepreneurs. If you are in the technology business, BizTechDay is like being a kid at Disneyworld, on Christmas, if your birthday was on December 25th. There were many great presenters on the schedule, but there were two guys that I just simply had to meet.

Simon Sinek, Author of the book “Start With Why” and Seth Godin, New York Times Best Selling Author. A few weekends ago, I watched videos of both Seth and Simon on I thought they were great. From there, I found their websites. I signed up for their free daily blogs. One Sunday morning, I emailed them both. They both replied directly to my emails, which I thought was very cool indeed. Hint: famous people tend to read emails on Sundays, just like the rest of us.

I applied for media credentials to cover BizTechDay 2010. Press passes were limited and made available to those who can verify they have 10K readers or more per month. We have much less, but we only started blogging a short time ago. I got a free pass. I was going to spring for the $595 for the event, but I like getting things for free just as much as I like spending money. I am quirky that way.

Both Simon and Seth were great, as were the other speakers. Scott Heiferman, Founder of Esther Dyson, Chairman of EDventure. Dana Mauriello, Founder of Profounder. Clayton Morris, FOX News Anchor. Lisa Gansky, Cofounder of Ofoto and Author of The Mesh. Joan Barnes, Founder of Gymboree. Then, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm, there was an After Party. Free food and grog. I was not piggy, since I was working off of my free passes. Besides, I had to drive home at some point.

So, let’s review. I watched free lecture videos via of famous people that normally get paid big bucks to speak in public. I was able to meet these same people virtually via email, and then develop a real non-virtual relationship. I told them that I would meet them in person one day, and I did. I downloaded their books online, and read them electronically. We then connected via Facebook, and we have all exchanged ideas about business and marketing. Through today’s event I met their agent, Speakers' Spotlight ( who seems to know everyone on the planet. It turns out that all of the folks from the paid lecture circuit need MTP’s services, namely MTP’s mobile marketing services. Can you not see it? Something like, “Hello audience, simply text the word SETH to 54321 to get my new eBook at 25% off”.

The moral to the story? Other than gas, tolls and parking, all of this cost me nothing. The power of the Internet allowed all of this to happen, for free. Yes, there was some “sweat equity” involved, but since I started this chain reaction acting like the kid at Disneyworld, on Christmas, on my birthday, none of this felt like work. It was all fun. And now, it looks like it might even be profitable.

I have two sons in college; both are in the School of Business. I am quite confident that they learned something useful and meaningful in classes today. The big difference was that my day of learning from brilliant minds and industry experts was free, and theirs was not. Alas, I paid for all three of our days today - mine in New York and theirs in Connecticut.

You learn something new every day, right?

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