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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.

Winners of the Ultimate IZEAFest Prize Pack Contest


Today MarketLeverageTV becomes the MarketLeverage TV Network with multiple shows. And during the debut episode of WrapUp the winners of BenSpark’s Ultimate IZEAFest Prize Pack Contest was Revealed.

The Winners are:

Ultimate IZEAFEst Prize Pack Winner – MommaDJane!!! (@MommaDJane)

Her winning video and Blog post – IZEAFest 2009 with BenSpark

Runner up winners were Randomly chosen. Those two winners are:

Buck “Daddy” (@BuckDaddy)
– Blog Post – http://www.buckdaddyblog.com/2009/08/my-entry-into-bensparkcom-ultimate.html
– Video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7qx6mEwsGw

Melinda (@LkWhtMomFound)
– Blog Post – http://www.lookwhatmomfound.com/2009/08/izeafest-2009-here-we-come-thanks-to.html

This contest sprang forth from mt mind after writing my list of 10 Essential items to bring with you to IZEAFest. While writing that post I was thinking about all the conferences that I’ve attended over the years and the things that were essential to me at each event. My dream was to be able to provide those items as prizes to a lucky blogger who will be attending IZEAFest 2009. That along with my 10 Reasons to Attend IZEAFest 2009 gave me inspiration to ask for help in making this dream of giving a great prize pack to some lucky bloggers a reality.

So I went out and asked multiple sponsors for help. I am an IZEA Insider for the “I’m Not A Famous Blogger” Crew and as such I was provided with tickets to IZEAFest. So prize number one was taken care of. You can’t have an Ultimate IZEAFest Prize Pack without a ticket to IZEAFest. From there I recruited the generous help of Dina Riccobono (@MLDina) and MarketLeverage (@MarketLeverage) who provided me with major prizes of an Asus Eee PC 1000HA and a Flip Mino HD that is Co-Branded BenSpark.com and MarketLeverage!

Early on when I started his search for prizes I made a request of ZINK Imaging who gave me two Polaroid Pogos and 200 sheets of ZINK Paper. I use one of them to create unique Business cards. When I meet you I’ll ask you to take a photo with me using my Xshot. I then print out an instant photo with my Polaroid Pogo on ZINK paper and stick it to the back of my business card. I is donating one of his Polaroid PoGos to the winner. I also secured An Xshot for each winner because there are two runner up winners who not only get IZEAFest Tickets (A fantastic and valuable prize in its own right) but they will each get a smaller prize pack.

My friend Michael at Xshot hooked me up with a business contact in the Flipbac Innovations Company and they kicked in some Flipbac (@flipbac) angled viewfinders and LCD screen protectors for digital cameras as prizes. Each Runner up gets one of those and I have a few extra to give away at IZEAFest.

To keep people going all weekend long I was able to get a case of BluFrog Wildly Healthy Energy Drink donated by Martha Decker (@MarDeck). I am also including energy drink packets from EBOOST (@EBOOST). I will have close to 100 packets to give away at IZEAFest 2009, come find me for one. Runner up winners also get an EBOOST prize pack.

Continuing to fill out my Ultimate IZEAFest Prize Pack I sought out 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.

Still not quite sure that I had the Ultimate Prize Pack for an IZEAFest attendee I sought out something innovative and cool that would reflect the fun open spirit of learning and networking of IZEAFest. I found the perfect prize in the Poken. Drew asked a question on Twitter about whether the Poken was worth the money and the call was answered by @PokenGirl. PokenGirl explained that the Poken is a device that one can use to connect with other people physically by slapping a “High 4” with that other person’s Poken. What that does is exchange a digital business card that contains your online social media profiles. Since IZEAFest is all about learning, having fun and making connections with other people a Poken is a great prize that will be going to each of the winners. They even get to choose which of the cute little Pokens they want.

With the Prize Pack Assembled I only needed to find some willing judges and I did at Affiliate Summit East. First I recruited Famous Blogger Murray Newlands (@MurrayNewlands), then “I’m Not A Famous Blogger” crew member Tim Jones (@Timothy_Jones) or rather The Real Tim Jones. He also recruited Eric Schechter @ericschechter of ClickBooth and last but not least he recruited Kim Ann Curtin (@KimAnnCurtin, Life Coach to the Affiliates.

The Judges had a difficult task ahead of them. There were four bloggers who went that extra mile to try for the Ultimate IZEAFest Prize Pack. Those folks along with the many others who entered the random drawing were waiting on the edge of their seats until WrapUp airs on the MarketLeverage TV Network Monday Morning 10:30am EST.

The show was a good one and I was so excited to see the winners revealed on the show! I can’t wait to hang with MommaDJane, Buck Daddy and Melinda. I may even be able to get them a few MORE surprises for their time at IZEAFest!