28 Aug 2008

(Ninja Jen) 10 Best Things Learned as SES San Jose.

The 10 Best Things Learned at SES San Jose by Ninja Jen

SES San Jose 2008, was my first SEO conference and it was an incredible learning experience for a lowly, little ninja like myself.

On the night of Webmaster Radio’s Search Bash, Jim Hedger, asked me a question, “What did you learn at SES?” Well, I didn’t get to answer him that night, but I wanted to. Bearing in mind that we didn’t attend any sessions, but networked pretty hard at night.

Here are the Top 10 Things I learned at SES, because no one can resist a Top 10. Right, Chris?

#10 Selling Raffle Tickets is a great way to meet people. I lucked out at the The Internet Marketer’s Charity Party when Stuntddubl asked me if I’d sell Raffle Tickets. As a rookie, selling tickets gave me a great excuse to introduce myself to all of the great minds in the room, and make money for children, and really what is better than networking for charity?

#9 I’ll only stop for really good swag. Freebies like t-shirts, shot glasses or Frisbees are definitely worth enduring a conversation about a service you may not need, and I will totally put my name on an email list for a back massager. But if we’re talking a pen or coasters, I’ll keep right on walking, so just a thought for marketers, giving away novelties or clever wearables like Shoemoney’s “SEO Sucks” t-shirt, or the BOTW Hoodies (which were EVERYWHERE) definitely make it worth the time.

#8 SEO, in all its forms, is bigger than I had ever imagined. Being a link ninja, the little slit in the masks Jim makes us wear is pretty narrow, so I usually only get to study the science and effects of link building. But getting out of costume for a week gave me a chance to see the seemingly endless streams of ideas and innovation in this industry. It seems as though everyone has a different field of expertise and ideology. I have to admit I have on occasion wondered about the longevity of this field that is constantly changing, and oftentimes seems tenuous at best. But now I have truly come to believe that there is indeed no ceiling without pride. By which I mean, for those who are willing to accept that everything they have come to believe may at some point become obsolete and strive for a a mentality of ingenuity and adaptability above all else, then the opportunities are truly limitless.

#7 Google has heated toilet seats. I can live with out the giant facilities and Wii Wall, but if Google engineers get heated toilet seats, why can’t ninjas?

#6 Linkbuilding is still very much a secret art. Here at the office, the majority of us have developed the capacity to link build with a severe concussion. And granted, we don’t expect many people in our lives to understand what we do, but even the SEO contingency people’s sense of what it means to link build is still somewhat generic or outdated. Here at We Build Pages, the ninjas have long known that we had the highest kick in the Dojo, but now I understand the real power of a ninja army is not in its size, but its insight, humanity and adherence to unindictable philosophy that truly comprises its strength. And of course the fact that, as Dave Naylor can tell you, there may be a ninja hanging above your bed and you’d never even know it.

#5 Discretion is the better part of Valor, SEO, and Conferences.

#4 SES is not like prison. I make this comparison in regards to gaining the knowledge that unlike incarceration, one needn’t pick a brawl with the Poker King on the first night in order to survive, especially if there is a camera happy German around.

#3 My Boss is the MAN. Now you may be thinking, “How do you work for Jim, and not know that?” Well, in a greater sense I did. I knew he was brilliant and frequently referenced, and I knew he was a great guy I’m lucky enough to call a boss and a friend. But now I know that he has also been a guide and a mentor for more people than I could have imagined, when you hear people use words like “god” and “revered” to describe a man you see every day, it’s kind of like finding out your uncle is Bruce Springsteen. Basically, I got a better idea of just how lucky I am to work for the best.

#2 Jack In the box is better in the middle of the night. Whether you walk there with Patrick Sexton, or Frank Watson brings it to you in a cab on a bench outside the Marriott.

#1 SEOs are the coolest people on the planet. While I’ve suspected this for some time now, this past week has confirmed it. Hearing them speak about their craft is like listening to an artist or a scientist, seeing them tell stories about one another is like watching a stand-up comedian, and partying with them is like hanging out with rock stars. I hope that you all will excuse the excessive gushing of a novice, but I can’t help but to feel a bit like I fell down a rabbit hole for five days, and it was an amazing trip. Thank you all for the inspiration and I hope to see you at the next one…hint hint, Boss…