Tag Archives: BluFrog

Packing 10 Essential Items for IZEAFest

20 days from today I’m going to be boarding a SouthWest Airlines Flight with my active toddler daughter, Eva and my wife, Allison. We’ll be heading down to visit with Allison’s parents and have a vacation with them before we drive on up to Orlando for IZEAFest 2009. So now is the time for us to really think about what to pack… for IZEAFest!

Back in April I wrote a blog post entitled 10 Essential Items for IZEAFest 2009. Since then I’ve decided to change them up a bit. I’ll be giving many of these items to MommaDJane (@MommaDJane), Buck “Daddy” (@BuckDaddy) and Melinda (@LkWhtMomFound) because they won my Ultimate IZEAFest Prize Packs.

10. XShot – I love this device. It is a camera extender that allows you to extend the camera away from you 37″ and get a great shot of you with the people around you. I make use of this device all the time and I have some to give away at IZEAFest. And I am so happy that XShot (@xshot) is a sponsor for IZEAFest as well. I had the XShot 1st and have given it to over 24 great bloggers so far. Ted Murphy received one from me and it is no coincidence that this great device has made its way all over IZEA and even to IZEAFest. Without it how could I have gotten this great shot with Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Crush It and all around awesome guy. Oh and he does a little wine related podcast too.

BenSpark and Gary Vay-ner-chuk!

9. BluFrog Energy Drink – I no longer have any BluFrog. I want more. There will be some at IZEAFest. So I luckily don’t have to pack any. The weight limit for the suitcases might be a bit tough. So I bet that MommaDJane is probably going to want to pack a second suitcase to haul back her free case that she won courtesy of Martha Decker (@MarDeck)!

What I can bring with me on the plane however is the Energy Drink EBOOST (@EBOOST). I have 100 packets to give away at IZEAFest and luckily they were shipped down to the in-laws because 100 packets would also take up a bunch of room but 2 or 3 can easily be taken with you anywhere.

8. ZINK Paper – I like doing things differently. One thing I really enjoy is giving a very personal touch to the people that I meet. At conferences I have brought with me a a Polaroid Pogo, my Canon SD800is and my XShot to take pictures with people. Then I print the image out, remove the back of the ZINK paper and stick it to my business card. That way the person has both my business card and a photo of themselves with me. It impressed a few people at Affiliate Summit East. By doing this it really made the interaction so personal and gave me at least a minute or two to talk with each person while the image printed. This is how I use ZINK Paper.

7. Business Cards POKENS – Right before Affiliate Summit East I created 1000 business cards, last minute, rush order. Sure they are great when paired with my PoGo and ZINK paper however they are pretty much useless now for anything but that because I now have a Poken. What is a Poken? It is a digital business card that allows you to slap “High 4” with other Poken owners. You instantly connect and pass your business cards to each other. Put the USB portion of the Poken (stealthily hidden within the body of the Poken) into your computer and you can pull up the cards of all the people that you just met. You have instant connections to their profiles on many social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linked In (You must still friend each person in the regular manner of each platform).

I got so excited about Pokens that I bought a case of them and gave some away but I may have a few to give out at IZEAFest. You can certainly try to win one at the Karaoke contest sponsored by Me and PokenGirl (@PokenGirl). at ICEBAR on Friday Night. And if you are down in the Boynton Beach Area meet us at Bru’s Room for Wings and Pings night.

Poken with The Real Tim Jones

6. Portable Hard Drive – A small portable hard drive is a perfect thing to have with you because you can take a ton of photos and a ton of video and never have to worry about running out of space. I have a SimpleTech 320GB hard drive that weighs so little and is so small.

You don’t want to run out of space when you get that great video interview with Missy Ward or Chris Brogan.

I wasn’t able to get one of these for the winner of the Ultimate IZEAFest PRize PAck Contest but I did get a cool device called the CinemaCube. I got some help from one of my “I’m Not A Famous Blogger” crew members, Jennifer Leet (@jentifa. Jennifer is the queen of contests and she connected with one of her sponsors, BriteView, (@BriteView to get a Cinema Cube to add to the Ultimate IZEAFest Prize Pack.

5. Swag – #5 had been power but I ditched that for the very cool swag that I will be bringing with me. I can’t quite reveal what I’m bringing. I want it to be a surprise. I can tell you that what I chose to put my new logo on is something that people will use every day, multiple times. Althought I will make sure that I pack my Targus power adapter. With it I can power up my computer and peripherals in the car, at the wall socket and even on the plane.

4. Digital Camera – The one thing that I really wanted to provide the winner of the Ultimate IZEAFest prize pack. A Digital Camera is essential for blogging conferences. Photos make the event so much better. So many cool things happen at blogger conferences and you are going to make so many great friends. So what better accessory to go with the XShot than a digital camera to capture everything. I did however get a sponsor with a brand new product to help enhance your existing camera. The device is a called a Flipbac (@flipbac) which is an angled viewfinder and LCD screen protector for digital cameras.

On a Train (Yacht) Bound for Nowhere

3. Netbook – Portability and battery life are the two biggest concerns when at a blog conference, you don’t want to be weighed down with a ton of stuff and you don’t want to lose power when you have that great tweet to post.

I really wanted the winner to receive a netbook and I was so fortunate to hook up with the generous help of Dina Riccobono (@MLDina) and MarketLeverage (@MarketLeverage) who provided me with the major prizes of an Asus Eee PC 1000HA netbook.

2. Flip Mino HD – HD is where it is at. And the Flip is a perfect device to have with you at a blog conference, it is small, it fits in your pocket and powers up so quickly. I have one and Allison has one. I’ve used it for a ton of things and it fits great on the XShot. I even won another one at Affiliate Summit East. But it can no way compare to the coolness that is the the Flip Mino HD that MommaDJane is going to get. It is a custom made co-branded one with two of the best logos around. Check it out!

Co-Branded Flip Mino HD MarketLeverage and BenSpark.com

1 – A Sense of Fun, An Open Mind and a Great Attitude – IZEAFest 2009 is going to be the most fun, informative and exciting events you have ever been to or will attend this year. This will only be topped by IZEAFest 2010. However this cannot be the best time ever with out the essential items from #1 on this list, everything else is cool stuff to have but the number one essential is truly… essential. You are going to have the rare intimate opportunity to spend time with some of the best minds in blogging today. Approach the conference with a great attitude, a sense of fun and an open mind and you will have the time of your life.

So is that the definitive list? No, there are many other great things to bring, why don’t you let me know what some of them are in the comments.

I figure that by now most people have gotten their ticket to IZEAFest 2009 but if you haven’t go and click the IZEAFest logo on the top left sidebar. I’ve been talking about IZEAFest 2009 since IZEAFest 2008 and many people have clicked the link. Yet no one has made their purchase with me. So if you would like to help me help defray the cost of #5 on this list (I went way over budget on the swag I bought) please buy your ticket to IZEAFest through me. You can even use the promo code “Sponsoredtweets” for 50% off the ticket price. That is even a better deal than the early bird prices.

10 Better Reasons to go to IZEAFest 2009

Back in February I wrote a post of the 10 Best Reasons to Go to IZEAFest. No with a mere 36 days left to go before the big event I think that a few of you might need some further convincing. So here are 10 BETTER than BEST reasons to attend!

First off you are going to need a ticket. Go buy a Ticket to IZEAFest 2009 – It is the BEST Value for the money.

#10. Location – When I mentioned Location the first time around I knew about SeaWorld as the location but couldn’t say anything about it.

Shamu! - PAD #1058

So forget the Mouse because Shamu’s place is where it is at! The Party starts off on Thursday October 1st at Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens! This is going to be the most frightfully fun opening kickoff party ever. Imagine 500 bloggers descending upon the horrors of the park. I fear that we may scare the cast. Then we have two awesome days at the Ports of Call facility for daily sessions. At Night We kick it up at ICEBAR Orlando Friday Night and Howl At The Moon Saturday Night. This is all followed by a Sunday in the SeaWorld Park. That ticket is INCLUDED FREE with your IZEAFest ticket!

#9. SWAG – Certainly not as awesome as my Big Box of Awesome but good none the less.

BenSpark's Big Box of Awesome!

Do you own Crocs? Well if you register for IZEAFest prior to September you get a free pair. That is but the tip of the swag iceberg. I for one will be bringing some great items to give away to lucky attendees. Find me and ask me for some EBOOST or maybe even an Xshot or a Flipbac or whatever else I may have up my sleeve. I even have a super special item that is going to each and every attendee in their swag bag. The swag bags at IZEAFest are the bomb. Last year we received some awesome stuff. This year the swag will be bigger, better and bolder.

#8 Sponsors – Sponsors for IZEAFest rock. This year the host of sponsors range from funky footwear to energy-a-plenty!

Lenny and Tyler

Obviously the big deal sponsor of them all is SeaWorld and Budweiser. Seems that libations and hydration and energization are the keys to IZEAFest, this is an intense weekend, more intense than anything you’ve ever done as a blogger before, believe me. Sponsors like Le-Beast, BluFrog Energy also add to the mix.

IZEAFest would not be complete without sponsors what help us bloggers do what we do. Maybe you live vlog, there we have USTREAM, or maybe you produce a podcast BoinxTV Software is something you have to check out. We also have Doterati which is a community for advancing professional development, education, community networking and overall inspiration for our digital society. They are based in Central Florida, a Doterati NorthEast would be cool. We also have Adrants as a sponsor which is about marketing news with attitude.

Two of my favorite sponsors are people I have worked with on multiple occasions. One year ago the Xshot was given to Ted Murphy by an unnamed source (Me) and since then Xshot has become a vibrant advertiser on SocialSpark. This year Xshot is a Sponsor of IZEAFest. I am so excited to finally meet Michael, the inventor of the XShot in person after being friends online for so long. Fantastic! Also Unique Blog Designs, the guys who made the design for Read To Me Dad will be on hand to help you with the most fantastic blog designs possible.

Two sponsors who are not on the official site yet would be Me – BenSpark.com and PokenGirl. We are sponsoring a karaoke party at ICEBAR on Friday night. So rest up your voice and be ready to rock out for some fantastic prizes.

#7. Food – I’m an eater. You can tell that just by looking at me that I enjoy my food. I’m trying to make that less apparent but hey I’m only human.

At the Waitiki

I’m really hoping for a lunch by Ted’s favorite burrito place Pancheros. Every time Ted Tweets about them I want to eat there and I’ve never been. We have some time in the schedule where we are free to go get dinner. I really want to go back to B.B. Kings for their Fried Pickles. That was a delicious meal. I’m thinking that some informal blogger meetups at local places are in order and if I know Ashley then I know he’s probably negotiated some discounts for us at the local places.

#6. The IZEA Team – Holding Strong at #6 are the people who work for IZEA.

IZEA Staff Conferring

They have a phenomenal way about them. I am so glad to call them my friends. IZEAFest wouldn’t happen without Ashley. That man rocks!

Ashley & Me

There are also some amazing people who are behind the scenes, the folks in customer love and the dev team. I am happy to call them my friends especially these folks.

Andrew and Trevor

You will not meet a happier group of people who are loving what they do. That sort of enthusiasm is contagious and you will catch it, I guarantee it.

#5. Cake Plows and IZEAHunt – There is one thing that you have to watch out for at IZEAFest and that is some creative use of foodstuffs and shaving cream. I’ve been known to participate in a cake plow or two and I was a human sundae at IZEAHunt last year. It is crazy fun and you should be a part of it.

My Cake Plow

Oh and if you win the IZEAHunt your team members will each get $500 Home Depot gift cards.

#4. Friendships – I can’t believe that I put friendships at #8 in the last version of this list. Friendships are so important and I know that you will meet at least one other blogger that you can connect with online and off. You get to see people that you have probably only talked to to twitter or through your blog. Now it is time to make some connections to real live people in real life.

Telling the Truth

Also you have such access to everyone at this event. So you may form friendships with anyone at the conference. I challenge you to treat everyone as if they are at the same level, that means speakers to newbies. Everyone has something that they are awesome at, find out what it is. Listen more and talk less, ask more questions. Just be real to each other and amazing things can happen.

#3. Ted Murphy – Yeah I dropped Ted one point on the list and it it is because, while he is awesome, he’s a catalyst for the event and what #1 and #2 bring to the table is intrinsically of higher value. Ted is big at promoting others. He’s been amazing at promoting the venue, the speakers and things that he likes from all over. Ted changes the game constantly and this IZEAFest he’s going to change the game on us all. I personally have a very vested interest in his keynote Developing Your Brand. Ted is amazing at branding. He fiercely knows what he wants and how it is presented. And he is going to be able to help you think about your own personal brand.

Ted and Me!

Ted’s keynote will set the tone for the conference sessions but he cannot do it all himself. There will be an amazing group of people there to help you with your blogs through their fantastic topics and sessions. I’m talkign about the speakers.

#2. The Speakers – I hope that you remember last year’s sessions with great speakers especially the one I moderated which was the Big Money Bloggers Panel, I was nervous as all hell.

Nervous as All Hell

This year the speakers will blow you away. I already mentioned Ted Murphy’s Keynote (sort of like Steve Jobs keynoting those Apple events) but there are so many other speakers and such great sessions.

Tip: Prior to IZEAFest you should become familiar with each of the speakers, their blogs and their twitter accounts. I personally created a folder on my Google Reader with feeds from each person’s blog. I also set up an IZEAFest column on Tweetdeck so I could follow not only the speakers but also the people who were attending IZEAFest.

Here are the fantastic speakers for IZEAFest

Keynote – Friday – Developing Your Brand – Ted Murphy (@tedmurphy)

Session 1 – Friday – Traffic Strategies That Work – Brian Clark (@copyblogger)

Session 2 – Friday – Screen Gems –
Moderator – Sarah Evans (@prsarahevans)
Panelists – Sarah Austin (@pop17) and Julia Roy (@juliaroy)

Session 3 – Friday – Rockstars of SEO
Workshop Masters – Michael Gray (@graywolf), Rae Hoffman (@sugarrae), Mystery Guest

Session 4 – Friday – Session Title TBD – Arleen Anderson (@alohaarleen)

Session 5 – Friday – Social Media Promotion – Panel Discussion
Moderator: – Lucretia Pruitt (@geekmommy)
Panelists: – David Binkowski (@dbinkowski), Chris Heuer (@chrisheuer), Wendy Piersall (@emom), Warren Whitlock (@warrenwhitlock)

PHEW!!! That is a lot of stuff for Day one – But hang on tight we have one more day of amazing speakers ahead!

Keynote – Saturday – Marks of an Influencer –Aaron Brazell (@technosailor)

Session 1 – Saturday – Go Deep or Go HomeChris Brogan – (@chrisbrogan)

Session 2 – Saturday – What Advertisers Want
Brett Bumeter (@brettbumeter)
Panelists: Joseph Jaffe (@jaffejuice), George Smith (@), Zena Weist (@zenaweist)

There will be more but they are not up on the schedule right yet. The speakers will be pretty darn amazing. I am very excited and hope my brain will be able to take in all the info.

You will also have a chance to meet Me and the other the members of the IZEA Insiders:

Kathleen Argonza (@KatArgonza)
Laurie Brosius (@laurie_pooh)
Brett Bumeter (@brettbum)
Elizabeth Edwards (@Table4Five)
Corrin Foster (@CorrinRenee)
Lisa Martin (@blm03)
Steve Sanders (@steven_sanders)
Heather Smith (@HeatherinBC)
Julie Vazquez – Via Twitter Only 🙁 (@JustJulie)

And the Number 1 reason to go to IZEAFest would be to watch Evaboo watch the Shamu Believe Show!!!

Is it Time for IZEAFest Yet?

Er…. No that isn’t right…. The #1 reason to go to IZEAFest 2009 is….

1. YOU – It was the top before and is the top again.

Post Cake Plow

YOU are what makes IZEAFest an amazing conference. Without YOU and YOUR unique self it would somehow be less of a good time. Having YOU at IZEAfest is pretty much the best thing about it. By going YOU are saying that YOU are motivate to be the best possible blogger that YOU can be. Also that YOU love blogging about things YOU love and having fun. YOU want to learn and interact with an amazing group of people. YOU don’t have to be famous or have a huge blog, YOU just have to be YOU and have a willingness to have a great time. That is the best thing about IZEAFest 2009, YOU being there.

There are three very special people who understand that. They are my winners of the Ultimate IZEAFest Prize Pack Contest. Our Grand Prize Winner MommaDJane and runner up winners Buck Daddy and Melinda are prime people who will put their YOU in IZEAFest.

Want to save %20 on your ticket? Use the promo code BenSpark (case sensitive) and buy your IZEAFest Ticket today! -See YOU in little over a month!