Friday, February 17, 2012

alt ~ learning and inspiration

These are all the pictures I could find of me @ Alt (too much competition I guess!) ~ pics and credits here
Let's talk about what the actual Alt Summit is like...
The Alt schedule is jam packed from dawn to beyond dusk.
Being that I was here on my own to learn something new,
I was glad that I was kept so busy.
Days were full of sessions from 9-5 with a keynote luncheon in the middle.
I had debated between going to sessions with well known bloggers presenting, or going to relevant sessions to me.  
I wisely chose Relevant to Me.

My favorite session was Site Design Do's & Don'ts.
Alyssa, Arianne, Christine, and Laurie were completely prepared, incredibly knowledgeable, and the visuals were great.  I left energized and inspired, full of new knowledge, but also satisfied in knowing that even though I am not a professional designer, I am doing a lot of things right.
I learned a lot of simple things I will be working on to implement on my hyggelig
I like nothing better than good design ~ this was THE session for me because
it was Relevant to Me.

Lunches offered an incredible array of inspiration.  
Not only for the keynotes, 
but also for all the great people you get to sit by.
I did not make it to the Work Life Balance Session, 
but I had the great pleasure of sitting next to Brooke at lunch on Thursday.  
I found out what a kind person Brooke is and that once again, I am not alone in life...Brooke knows what it is like to leave your 'sexy sounding job' (what I always call my SF job) for a life of more balance.
I get that.  
We talked about the challenges of balance, and in general had the most pleasant of conversations.  Oh, and Brooke was wearing the best full-on red outfit - very Alt and very chic!
The view from my table.  Ben after lunch with alt fan.
Speaking of keynotes, I would be remise if I did not speak about 'Ben from Pinterest'.
Here's the kind of thing that happens at Alt:
The magazine lady, the woman who wrote a book...they all get a nice clap.
But the 'internet guy' who came up with a place to put pretty pictures?
HE gets a standing ovation!  
Ben is an amazing speaker folks, if you ever get a chance to attend a talk he is giving, go.  Ben is proof that nice guys do finish first.
I was lucky enough to stop Ben in the hall at the Friday night parties.  He seemed worn out likely from a day of kudos, but was gracious.  
We both lived in Des Moines; I KNOW that builds character...
photo credit here
My second favorite session was the Friday Morning Roundtable Discussions.
I had picked a few topics I thought sounded relevant, waivered on my first choice, but in the end went to it and it was one of the best parts of Alt.
Kate & Margot
Bit Bloggers:  The Why's & How's of Small Blogs lead by Margo and Kate.
This was SUCH a great topic.
I learned and confirmed: 
-I am not the only unprofessional blogger spending far too much time on posting.
-I am not the only person with a strange addiction to blogging.
-I am not the only one who enjoys the technical challenges and problem solving of blogging.
-That other people do not get many comments.
-That other people think about advertising and/or going 'pro', but aren't sure.
-That I am a 'Bit Blogger'.
-That Bit Bloggers support each other and GET each other.
I loved being part of this group of women.
Everyone had such an interesting story to share, relatable challenges, and lovely blogs.
One of the things that happens to Bit Bloggers at Alt is they may feel some sessions are highly irrelevant.  This isn't necessarily good or bad, but I am not personally obsessed with my numbers for advertising, feeling the push to post everyday, hiring a professional team to be my blog, etc.  I'm just lil' ol' me out here blogging because I enjoy it and the community around it.  I think Margo and Kate have the great seeds for a 2013 session that would be relevant to a lot of Alt attendees like me.

And lastly, I really enjoyed the Building a Personal Brand session on Friday afternoon.
Not only because the topic was educational, I'm going to say it again...inspiring, and interesting, but because the speakers were so engaging, Jasmine in particular.  What a great speaker, so full of enthusiasm, smiles, warmth, and knowledge.  Like a lot of people I met, or heard speak at Alt, Jasmine was headed down a particular path in life (law school) and left it all to do what she loved (wedding photography).  
Whether we have done it, or are all wishing we could - THAT is what life is about,
being you and following your inner voice.

To be honest, not every session was a winner.  I ended up skipping out on a couple of 'duds'.  But that was only a couple out of two full days. 
Overall every session blew me away with the smartness of the people speaking and attending, the inspiration I left with, and all the new knowledge I absorbed.
THIS was why I came to Alt...