Tag Archives: Jeremy Kendall

10 Essential Items for IZEAFest 2009

This October I am attending IZEAFest 2009. I’ve been to many blogger conventions over the years (Blog World Expo, PostieCon, and IZEAFest) and I’ve come up with a list of essential items that you must have to go to one of these blogger conferences.

Did you know that you can Enter to win many of the prizes on this page. Enter BenSpark’s Ultimate IZEAFest 2009 Prize Pack Contest.

10. XShot – This simple gadget for your digital camera is the perfect accessory to have with you at a blog conference. I had the xshot 1st and gave it to some great bloggers. Ted Murphy has taken the use of this gadget to the next level though.

With an XShot you can make sure that you are in the photos with everyone. Being seen at blog conferences is very important. And being able to share photos of yourself with cool people like John Chow is fun.

XShot with John Chow

9. BluFrog Energy Drink – I’ve been drinking this stuff for the past month. I won a case from Martha Decker and also received one for Blogs, Brews and Belly Laughs from Jeremy Kendall. BluFrog Energy Drink is pretty amazing stuff.

I’ve done my own trials with it and I can tell you it keeps you awake and alert during meetings and on those boring days. Of course IZEAFest will be anything but boring. But the nights will be long so you are gonna need a healthy pick me up.

Swag Table #3

8. Digital Camera – 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. My camera of choice for a quick shoot is the Canon Powershot Digital Elph. I have a Canon SD800is and there are many newer ones out now.

Canon cameras are fantastic. There is even a group that has hacked the camera to run some great scripts. I use one all the time called the Ultra Intervalometer. This allows me to set the camera to take pictures at a specific interval. I’ve used this in a few creative ways. Like attaching it to the shopping cart to take Eva to the store.

7. ZINK Paper – ZINK paper is some pretty fun stuff because you can use it in interesting ways. I use this product with 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 makes the interaction so personal and gives you at least a minute or two to talk with that person while the image prints and you put it on the business card. I did this at Blogs, Brews and Belly Laughs and will be doing it again at Blogs, Brews and Belly Laughs II. This is how I use ZINK Paper.

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 Simple Tech 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 Pirillo.

5. Power – We’re all looking for a little power but in this case I’m talking about power for your gadgets. I’ve had an iGo for years and after 7 years it gave up the ghost, that was seven hard travel years. I was able to power three laptops, seven cell phones, and various other gadgets. When the iGo died I got a Targus that did the exact same thing, in fact I was able to use my iGo peripheral charger with the Targus. With these products you can power up in the car, at the wall socket and even on the plane.

4. 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 was watching the cake plow at IZEAFest last year and John Chow was able to scoop the video of Ted Murphy being slammed into the cake. I had a different video camera and it wasn’t fast enough to catch that moment. If you want to catch a moment you have to be ready all the time. And even if you capture a moment you want to make sure you get that moment posted quickly. The Flip Mino HD has all the software you need to edit and upload your movies.

3. Business Cards – Two years ago I made 250 free cards with VistaPrint. They were good but sort of random. I had printed out 100 of my photo-a-day photos and stuck them to the cards. Creative but didn’t get my message across. This past year I made Moo cards with two designs one with my hands everywhere and the other of a rubber ducky that looks like me. These cards made a visual impact on everyone who got them. This year I plan to do something similar but to incorporate the PoGo, ZINK Paper and XShot into the mix.

2. 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.

Allison owns a Lenovo IdeaPad S10 she is able to do so much more now online because she is portable. She’s even applied for a job with Ravelry, I hope she gets it.

1 – A Ticket to IZEAFest 2009 – This is pretty much the most important thing that you need for IZEAFest, you need a ticket. You can buy one at $229.00 which not only includes an incredible lineup of speakers including 2 full days of amazing speakers and events plus a blogger takeover day at SeaWorld!

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

And look here for a contest where I will give away some IZEAFest tickets. Heck I’d love to give away this complete list to some lucky bloggers, but I need some sponsors to help me out. Contact me through the contact form and let me know if you are interested in being a sponsor. I already have sponsors for the PoGo and ZINK Paper, XShot, IZEAFest Ticket and Flip Mino HD.

Today’s assignment for Day 2 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge is to write a list post. I’d been toying with the idea of this list for a while and the assignment gave me the push I needed.

FULL Blogs, Brews and Belly Laughs Recap

Blogger workstation

Last night was the long anticipated Blogs, Brews and Belly Laughs. It was long anticipated, by me primarily, because I’ve been working on the event for the last month.

Setting up for the Event

In order to set up an event like this you first need a venue. The venue that I choose was a fantastic one, the Speed of Thought Playhouse. There were a few reasons why this venue worked for this event. There was a large area for bloggers to set up their laptops and have power, you need to have power for all the gadgets that bloggers bring. Also there was wi-fi, we have to stay connected. There was food, nourished, and there was beer, lubricated. Also there was a friendly staff that helped out whenever we needed help.

Recruiting Sponsors

Swag Table #3 Swag Table Continued Swag Table

Bloggers love free stuff, we do. We love prizes at conferences and we love receiving items to review, and keep. I’ve been fortunate enough over the past few years to develop relationships with companies who have fantastic products. I use them and I love talking about them so I recruited sponsors like TenBills.com and Xshotpix.com. Both companies came through with a couple of their products. TenBills.com sent me three of their amazing T-Shirts. Michael from Xshotpix.com sent me two Xshots to give away as well.

I am also an IZEA Insider and I’m always looking to recruit new bloggers to IZEA. I receive nothing if you sign up unless I had the most sign ups in a quarter, then I get a bonus as an insider. I was sent a huge box of IZEA, SocialSpark and PayPerPost swag to give away to people. Ashley come IZEA really came through.

I also went looking for some new sponsorships from people I had not worked with before. One was Jeremy Kendall of GimmeBluFrog. Jeremy was really excited to be a part of this and he sent along brochures as well as a case of BluFrog Energy Drink for me to share with bloggers.

Have a Wild Idea

My wild idea was to use a Polaroid PoGo with ZINK paper along with my Xshot and my Canon SD 800is and some pre-printed business cards to give people I met a very unique experience. The idea of BenSpark’s PhotoBooth came from this. I would give a person a prize and then use my XShot to take a photo of myself with that person along with their prize. The Canon SD 800is has the capability to set a custom timer so I set it to take 5 shots. Then I picked the best of the 5 photos and sent one to the PoGo to print. I would talk with the person as the image printed and then when it was done I peeled of the backing of the ZINK paper and stuck it to my business card. It would work great.

The thing was, I didn’t have a PoGo or ZINK paper so I pitched my wild idea to ZINK Imaging and they decided that it was worth it to work with me so they sent me some PoGos of my own along with a bunch of ZINK Paper.

Recruit Bloggers

Twitter was instrumental in getting the word out to other bloggers. I tried a ton of things to make people aware that the event was happening. I created a facebook event and invited all my local friends as well as those a little further away. I posted repeatedly on this blog about things like swag and the venue. Submissions went to Upcoming, Going, Yahoo Local, Craig’s List, my company intranet and I made a couple submissions to local papers. The word about the event was spreading.

At the Event

At the event you have to be on. You have to be ready to talk to everyone about any subject. Bloggers are such diverse people with amazing viewpoints on the world. I was blown away by how diverse everyone was. We had Paul of Independently Correct, a radio show on blog Talk Radio. Paul was the first person there and he came down to the SOTPlayhouse, we talked for quite a while and he picked up an Xshot and one of my Photo-A-Day Calendars.


The next person who arrived was Not Ron West. Ron lives right around the corner from us and I believe I found him through a twitter search for people in North Attleboro. Ron couldn’t stay but he did come for a good 1/2 hour to hang out and chat. Ron had been hearing me talk about how much BluFrog was becoming a part of my life that he had to try some so he choose a can of BluFrog for his prize. Ron is very active on Twitter, FriendFeed and he’s got a blog at Notronwest.com.


The next to arrive was Lenny and his nephew Tyler. Lenny has been reading this blog and I’ve been reading his for some time now. We are both big fans of The Hot Dog Truck, too. Lenny writes the blog My Secret Project and he is also part of my IZEA Insiders “I’m Not A Famous Blogger” Crew. Lenny Choose an Xshot. He’d been reading all my xshot posts and he wanted one for himself.


Lenny’s nephew Tyler choose BluFrog Energy drink, he talked with me about it for a while first too. That kid is really engaging. He was talking with all the Speed of Thought Players and apparently he was also making a hit with the ladies at the event.


Next to arrive was
Tyler of MyLocalPro.com which is a social network for small businesses. It also serves to get small businesses out there for people to find them, businesses so small that they neither have the time nor money to devote to a website or blog, but they would like to be able to be found by people searching for their services. That is what MyLocalPro helps to provide. Tyler is a hat man so he grabbed one of the BenSpark.com custom made hats.


At least two of the Speed of Thought Players are bloggers, Seamus live blogs on stage during the show. He really needs to get into Utterli or twitter, it would expand the audience and get some instant feedback too. Ryan is another SOTPlayer and he contributes to many, many blogs and he said that he wasn’t sure what to write about on his personal blog. So we talked about possibilities for his personal blog.
Ryan was so interesting that I couldn’t believe that with all his writing for other blogs that he wouldn’t find anything for his personal blog. Just blogging about all his guest blogging would be a great thing to blog about. Ryan is also writing a blog about the history of Uganda, diversity in bloggers is incredible. Ryan loved the TenBills.com T-Shirt of the Robot doing origami and he choose that one.


Our very good friends Neil and Andrea came out to support us last night. Neil is also a hat man so he took one of the BenSpark.com hats


He also runs the Edward G. Lambert Insurance Agency in North Attleboro. Hi wife Andrea is a fantastic photographer and she took one of the Photo-A-Day Calendars. Andrea also blogs at Wheelerimages.com, she has some great photos there as well as photo tips.

2nd Half of the event

In addition to this being a meet and great for bloggers as well as a swagtastic time because of my awesome sponsors the night also consisted of an Improv comedy show by the Speed of Thought Players. And all throughout the event I was live blogging and also streaming live on Ustream.tv (1st) and then Stickam.com (2nd) and then after intermission the feed totally died. But I did record the event on Ustream.tv as well as at Stickam. For the Event Lenny and his nephew stayed, Neil and Andrea stayed and we had a great time. The players were a lot of fun and the group performing last night consisted of Ryan "La Javelina" Hanley, "Smiling" Deric Bender, "Cra-z" Larry Soares, Tommy "Slick Willy" Wilbur and Seamus "The Irish Kid" Corbett.

The Speed of Thought Players

I enjoyed the show and if you’d like to watch the 1st part of the performance here is the video on that.

Some Final Thoughts

Here is a list of things that made the actual event so much fun:

  • Talk to Everyone – Everyone has a great story.
  • Wear Personal Brand Clothing – The “I’m Not A Famous Blogger” shirt and the “BenSpark.com” hat really made me identifiable.
  • Relax and enjoy it – You’ve worked hard for the event have a great time
  • Thank people – Thank everyone for their time
  • Follow Up – That is what this post is about.

Well, till the next one. I’m Out. Here is a link to the Whole Flickr Set of Photos from the event. Unfortunately I am only halfway through the descriptions and captions so bear with me.