I was excited to have had the chance to attend RETechSouth just over a week ago in the Atlanta area. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you already know that I took my family (me, my wife Pam, and our four kids) on a 12-day road trip in the process.
In the interest of making things a bit easier on myself, I will hereafter in this post refer to RETechSouth as “RETSO” (see image to right). 🙂
This was the third year for RETSO (my first year to attend) and they expanded the event to two days this time around. It was held at the Gwinnett Center, which appears to be a newer facility. Since I was staying with Ken Cook, who lives in Marietta, we had to get up at 5:30 in order to leave by 6:30 and make it to the event by 8am. If you know anything about me, you may already know that I am not exactly a morning person, so this was a struggle, but I’m happy to report that I did it.
I was thrilled to get a chance to see some familiar faces, and to have the opportunity to meet some of my online friends in person for the first time. I would list some of them here, but if I attempt to name everyone, I am certain to leave someone out and I don’t want to offend anybody.
All of the sessions that I attended were well-done, and I learned quite a bit about Posterous from the Dakno guys, Brad and Bobby Carroll. The talk about branding by Jeff Turner was a solid one, and I made sure to tell him afterwards that he lived up to the hype I had heard. Andy Kaufman & Stacey Harmon even used my SXSW wrapup post as part of their presentation, “Jedi Tips for Conferences”, which was flattering. I learned quite a bit about Firefox plugins from Jason Berman, and about Facebook marketing from Amy Chorew.
I had a LOT of people ask me if I was speaking, which I wasn’t, mainly because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make the trip until somewhat late in the game. Jeremy Blanton, my 210 Consulting business partner, did a terrific job talking about the “Basics of Blogging” to a crowd of around 30-35 agents.
There was a vendor section in the exhibit hall, but I will readily admit that I didn’t spend much time talking to those guys. One of them did have a creative idea however, offering free Segway rides for whoever was brave enough to try. I wasn’t. I was also mildly concerned about scaring people, since I would probably be around 7’6″ on one of those, since they make you wear a helmet.
Most entertaining segment at RETSO? Nicole Nicolay’s “Tweet This Tune”. She played a series of songs, and whoever was the fastest to tweet the correct title won a prize. I won a drink ticket and a t-shirt! Nicole’s mom is also a very cool lady, and a real estate broker in the Bay Area.
My sole criticism would be regarding the cost of food and drinks, and if I’m able to attend next year (hope I can), I would probably make it a point to brown-bag it or leave the premises for refreshments. I was a little dismayed to pay $3.75 for a soda, and $13 for very mediocre food in the exhibit hall for lunch. This probably had more to do with the venue than anything else, but it was pricey.
Overall, I have to give Brad Nix credit for putting on a great event, and I would highly recommend attending next year if you can. The networking alone is worth the price of admission.
I didn’t actually hear how many people attended, but I think it was around 700 or so. If you happen to know, feel free to put it in the comments below.
Thanks for reading! Hope to see you at RETSO 2011!