Talk about retro-blogging!
I can't believe it's so long since I last had a chance to post something. In fact, I'm back in Hong Kong and just about to head to Miami for SES Latino. And the last post I made was actually about the opening of the Hong Kong office.
Since my last post about six weeks ago, I've circumnavigated the planet once again and presented at four or five conferences and workshops in between.
Of course, the big UK search marketing show, SES London took place the week I returned from the Hong Kong office opening.
Once again the UK's finest got together in London for another excellent show. I don't quite know what it is, but the London show feels different to any other SES. I don't think it's just because it's in a much different type of environment than the other shows, there seems to be something a little more reserved about the audience, I think.
Maybe I'm just too used to presenting to my American cousins. Always with a hand in the air waiting to be heard.
SES London, for the past two shows has taken place at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London. The venue itself is nice because it's different. But the adjacent Hilton Hotel is perhaps one of the worst I've stayed in. However, these days I'm very much just "gimme a broadband connection and a bed" when it comes to hotels. Which is a good job for them. Believe me, when it comes to service there's enough to complain about!
You can see from the shot below that it's a very different type of venue in London.
I was very pleased to see my buddy Rand Fishkin at the London show. There's no doubt in my mind that he's one of the most knowledgeable guys in this space. He was delighted when I told him that he had beaten my company in a pitch for a small account around his neck of the woods. Although I wasn't personally involved in the pitch, I have to say I certainly don't mind the company losing to Rand. That should teach us a lesson and put our guys back on their toes!
I sent Rand off to Venice with a description of the finest restaurant they have in that wonderful city. The only thing I couldn't tell him was the actual name of the place. I also recommended that he head to Lake Como after his visit to Milan, for a chill day. I'm sure a lake is easier to find just by description than a restaurant is :-)
I also met up with my dear, dear, very dear friend, Jill Whalen. It's been a long time since I last interviewed Jill. Four years, in fact. So we decided it would be a good idea to get together for a good old catch-up podcast. The day before this, I finished an interview with Andrew Goodman which started last year when my wife and I spent a little time with Andrew and his wife at a beautiful lakeside cottage in Canada.
However, immediately following my interview with Andrew, I interviewed the legendary Mikkel de mib Svendsen. Which, I then stupidly saved right over the top of my interview with Andrew.
Wait - it gets worse!
So, Jill and I and a crowd have a very late night in the hotel bar. Much Merlot is consumed and Jill and I have a brilliant idea: let's do the interview now.
So we sit down and have a very lengthy chat about search with a few bursts of hilarity mixed in for good measure. Interview complete, I then save it right over the top of Mikkel's file!
Not finished yet. To make things even worse, I listened to the one remaining interview in the morning. Jill and I were so drunk that, even though there were a few splendid moments during the interview, the bulk of it is virtually X rated due to more than a smattering of the f word from me and some very thinly veiled innuendo which crept in from time-to-time!
Needless to say, it's only very close friends who will get to hear that one!
Here's Jill being grilled.
The final night of the show saw a crowd of us do the traditional last night dinner. I took us all to a wonderful Italian restaurant. And just as the check arrived in front of me, dear Andrew Goodman swooped in and picked it up. Thanks for that Andrew. Very kind of you considering I feel like such an idiot about the interview!
So here's the farewell group. Ammon Johns has his back to the camera, you can only see the top of Jim Boykin's head (his cap) and Jill is hiding Matt Paine. Andrew Goodman is at the far end of the shot sitting next to Anne Kennedy and I'm squeezed between her and the wonderful Rebecca Lieb. Dixon Jones is at the front of the shot on the left. And I simply cannot remember the name of the guy next to him. My dear friend Amanda Watlington was also with us on the night. However, she seems to have somehow made herself invisible.
The following day Matt Paine called my room as he'd very kindly offered to give me a lift to Heathrow. I was so looking forward to going home as I've seen so little of it this year. And I only had the weekend before I had to head off again.
Due to an anti terrorist operation taking place in London, as well as a major procession going on, it took an age to get out of the city. And so it was that I missed my flight!
There were no other flights until late Saturday night and it was only lunch time. I decided to take the train and headed back to the city on the Heathrow Express, which took exactly 15 minutes to take me back to exactly where I had started with Matt.
Worse to come. There were no trains directly to my city that day. So I took a train a coach and a taxi, eventually ending up at home at 8.00 in the evening. Not Matt's fault at all. But next time - I'll pass on a lift and just take the Heathrow Express!