What Attending Conferences Are Really All About

Attending internet marketing conferences like AdTech San Francisco 2008 will help you stay up to date with new developments in the marketing and advertising realms. In addition, these events are also where you find new business contacts and strengthen current relationships. I just returned from AdTech and once again, the out-of-conference relationship building was just as important as the actual conference itself.

The evening prior to AdTech, my Editor-in-Chief, Gloria Tsang, and I were invited by Kowabunga! to watch the San Francisco Giants baseball game in their amazing club suite at AT&T park. The club suite had a fantastic view and was filled with abundant food & drinks. Connecting with old friends and meeting new people at the event was fun. A big thank you to Todd Farmer & Tanya Boggs for the invite! Here is a photo of Todd Farmer (Founder of Kowabunga!) & myself at AdTech San Francisco 2008.
Todd Farmer & Ian Lee at AdTech San Francisco 2008

Here are a few photos from the game itself:
San Francisco Giants Game during AdTech
Great view of the bay from the club suite.

San Francisco Giants Game during AdTech
Here comes a fast one!

San Francisco Giants Game during AdTech
Swing batta! Can you see the ball?

After Hour Gatherings are Key

Having attended AdTech 2007 and AdTech San Francisco 2008, I know first-hand that conferences can be extremely tiring. But after the work day is done, it is also important to recharge with good eats and do some networking at the same time. In most cases when you make an effort, you will end up meeting new and interesting people. More importantly, these new contacts can lead to future business and friendships.

Size Does Matter – The Smaller the Better

Normally at conferences, I prefer the smaller, more intimate gatherings. It’s simply much easier to get to know the people you are with in a smaller group setting as compared to the large conference parties. After completing Day 1 of AdTech, there were 9 of us who had dinner at Asia de Cuba. The food was scrumptious and the dinner guests were a delight. Thanks to Geofferson Marcy for choosing my dinner. The sea bass (photo below) was absolutely fantastic!
Sea Bass at Asia de Cuba in San Francisco

Here is a photo of everyone at dinner.
Asia de Cuba Dinner Party
From left to right – Bob Buskirk, Danielle Nagami, Geofferson Marcy, Brian Littleton, Missy Ward, Lisa Picarille, Connie Berg and me.

After all the meetings and sessions were completed on Day 2 of AdTech, I attended a private party hosted by Glam Media. Glam is rated by comScore as a Top 30 US property and it was refreshing to put some faces to names that I have been working with over the last few months. Thanks for putting on a great event Glam gang!

Staying with the small gathering theme, I then attended another dinner event with a group of bloggers – some of whom I have met from the blogosphere. Meeting everyone at Anabelle’s was fun and the creme brulee was yummilicious! Thanks to Danielle for organizing the dinner. Here is everyone who attended.
San Francisco Blogger Dinner during AdTech
From Left to Right – Greg Morgan, Garrett Gee, Wesley Mahler, me, Gloria Tsang, Bob Buskirk, Danielle Nagami and Ian Fernando.
(Photo Source: IanFernando.com)

Pre-Planning Ensure Success

All of the above events and meetings were pre-scheduled before I even arrived in San Francisco. I learned from my own previous conference experiences and used them to make this a super productive trip.

The people who get the most out of conferences are the ones who prepare before hand and clearly define goals for the trip. Being productive at a conference can be hard work and will require some pre-planning. Being prepared will not only help you get the most out of any conference but also add an element of fun into an otherwise tiring ordeal. So to ensure that your next conference is a successful one, be sure to dedicate some time organizing your itinerary for day meetings as well as after hour gatherings before you even get on the plane.

Ian Lee
Work from home dad, marketer and photographer. Fallen in love with basketball all over again as I coach my daughter's team.

10 thoughts on “What Attending Conferences Are Really All About”

  1. great article, ian! you’re right, the smaller the better. thank you again for organizing tuesday night’s dinner, and for extending the invitation. you got some great photos of the game too, glad you were able to make it 🙂 hope to see you again soon

  2. Thanks Danielle. Yes, we were able to beat traffic and get to the game before the first pitch. Likewise, thanks for organizing the Wednesday night dinner. It was fun to meet other bloggers. Catch you at a future event!

  3. Thanks Mike. Yes, you should definitely consider attending next year! It’s a good show for anyone in the online marketing industry.

  4. Ian,

    It was great seeing you and thanks for capturing some snapshots of the aff dinner you helped me put together! Glad my recommendation worked out, and thanks for the gift as well!

  5. Geofferson, being able to catch up with you in SF was definitely fantastic. Thank you for your generosity and again for choosing the sea bass! 🙂 I look forward to seeing you again at another event.


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