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Here is my second post about my plans for Affiliate Summit West

Monday, January 9

This day will start at midnight at Goldcoast Lanes for the “Strike Out Breast Cancer Bowling” event. This is a fundraising event, and is sure to be a good time! For a $25 donation to Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, bowlers will get a t-shirt as well as a chance to win some swag from BowlingShirt.com and other GTO Management clients. Register at http://asw12bowling.eventbrite.com. This goes until 3 am, and since the Early Bird Whiteboarding starts at 8 am, there will be little chance for sleep. No rest for the wicked.

Like I mentioned previously, the early morning whiteboarding sessions are well worth the sleep deprivation. Along with Eric Nagel’s advice, it’s a great chance to be around some of the top minds in affiliate marketing. I hesitate to even blog this, because part of what makes it great is the relatively small group setting and chance to interact and brainstorm. But at the ASE11 summit, this was one of my favorite events. This will go until 9am, at which point I’ll grab some breakfast (or as my kids call it, “breckity-breck”).

Since the opening remarks and keynote don’t begin until 10, I’ll have a little time to head to the blogger’s lounge and catch up a little on my notes / blogging. And of course, it’ll also be an opportunity to catch up with friends from previous summits, including Heather Smith, the “BlogMistress” who acts as liaison between Affiliate Summit and the press and bloggers attending the show.

I am definitely looking forward to the keynote from Jon Spoelstra. This man is a legend … once, as General Manager and Senior VP for the Portland Trail Blazers NBA team, he arranged a trade with the Pacers for a point guard. The compensation to the Pacers was one week of Spoelstra’s time, during which he helped restructure the Indiana front office. He’s written five books, including Marketing Outrageously Redux: How to Increase Your Revenue by Staggering Amounts, which features a glowing forward by World Champion Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (who just happens to be one of the richest and sharpest men in the world).

Some people skip the keynotes … that would be a MISTAKE. If you’re paying the money to attend these summits, it’s because you want to learn how to improve what you’re doing … making connections and having fun and partying is great, but take advantage of the learning opportunities, and this is one not to miss!

The first session of the morning I will attend is at 11:30 am … Mastermind Groups Exposed: Success in Affiliate Marketing will be moderated by Eric Nagel (President, Eric Nagel & Associates, Inc. – on Twitter @ericnagel), Todd Farmer (CEO, PerformStreet Media Twitter @toddfarmer) and Tricia Meyer (Owner, Sunshine Rewards – on Twitter @sunshinetricia).

Next up … lunch, and maybe a quick nap. But I’ll have to be ready by 2 pm for “Stop Doing it Wrong.” How could I skip this? Besides, it is being led by some of my favorite folks … Moderator Kim Salvino (Head of Publishers, buy.at US – on Twitter @kim_salvino), the awesome Liz Gazer (CEO/Consultant, Growthspurt Media – Twitter @lizgazer), fellow 49er fan Erik Hom, Sr. (Director, Business Development, Nextag – on Twitter @Route53), and one of the top Erics at Affiliate Summit and all-around great guy, Eric Schwarzer (President, Allspun – on Twitter @schwarzer). This will discuss why it pays more to sell with INTEGRITY … a concept sorely missing in the industry.

At 3:30, there will be another panel I plan to check out. Called 12 Out of the Box Affiliate Promotions, this looks good …with moderator Lindsey Savoie (Merchant Development Manager, ShareASale.com), Jamie Reardon (Digital Marketing, LifeLock), Jared Saunders (Affiliate Program Manager, Jenson USA – on Twitter @TurboJared) and Affiliate Summit co-founder Missy Ward (on Twitter @missyward), this looks good.

From 6 to 7 pm, I will meet the SeaWorld’s Animal Ambassadors … I’m a sucker for cute animals, and for photo ops. Besides, I have to send my wife and kids some photos of me, where I am not holding alcoholic beverages or on the floor of some club. Or both. 🙂

I haven’t made any dinner plans yet, nor am I sure which nighttime event I will check out, though there will definitely be no lack of opportunities. I figure I will probably be a little low-key, and will hit Affiliate Karaoke from 9-midnight in Neopolitan III-IV. Bring your best, though realize that the newer smart phones have HD video cameras, and who knows what might end up on YouTube.

Tuesday morning brings another round of Early Morning Whiteboarding with Eric Nagel at 8 am, and at 10 am, the Pinnacle Awards and Keynote with Eric (ET The Hip Hop Preacher) Thomas, the author of The Secret to Success (on Twitter @Ericthomasbtc) I am not sure which panels I might attend Tuesday … I might hang out and network a little, and will probably spend a little time blogging in the lounge.

More to come as plans are updated …

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To people in the Internet marketing industry, it’s no secret that in early January (just over three weeks from now), Affiliate Summit West will be held at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

Nearly 5,000 people are expected to attend this event – a three-day conference bringing together affiliate marketers, merchants, networks and agencies. Usually held twice a year in Las Vegas and New York (though 2012 will add Austin, TX, to the mix for a third summit in May), this is a great opportunity for marketing professionals to network, learn, and not surprisingly, to have a little fun.

This will be my fourth summit, and for the first time, I will be attending as a presenter, for the “Affiliate Improv!” session, along with Daniel Clark (@QAQN), Mike Buechele (@mikebuechele) and Trisha Lyn Fawver (@TrishaLyn). I also will be blogging and tweeting from the conference.

Since there are so many sessions and events, many attendees will rely on social media to find which sessions were the most popular and helpful. Attendees with Gold passes and above will be able to access video recordings of all sessions after the conference, so it’s good to know what other people found helpful.

I also followed Twitter to see what sessions (ahem … and parties …) others were attending. Everything associated with the summit typically is tagged, so look for hashtag #ASW12 to see what’s happening.

Here is a basic breakdown of what I expect to do for this conference … this is definitely subject to change, but I’m a planner, so here goes …

BEFORE THE CONFERENCE:

I’ll make sure I have enough business cards, and will have meetings planned in advance with people whom I hope to meet and possibly do business. I will also have my clothes picked out for the events … typically business casual, though many affiliates take liberty to dress very casually. My advice … don’t judge any book by its cover. Many of the attendees who look like kids in their high school hoodies could end up being awesome affiliates. On the same note, those wearing a nice suit aren’t necessarily stronger candidates for business partners. But in any case, I plan to dress business casual.

I will be arriving in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 7, at 6pm … I booked early and got a good deal on my flight – even got a nonstop from Southwest. I will probably get to the hotel around 7ish, and then off to dinner with my associates, and hopefully my brother-in-law, Carlos, who coincidentally will be in town for a friend’s bachelor party.

I always try to get in the evening before the conference to take advantage of the networking opportunities that inevitably precede the actual event. Also, that way, I’ll be fully prepared to dive right into the conference on Sunday morning.

Sunday morning at 10am will be the First Timer’s Guide for Affiliate Summit, led by summit co-founder Shawn Collins (on Twitter @AffiliateTip). This will be great for anyone looking to get tips on how to best take advantage of their time at the summit. And if you’ve already been to a summit, it’s still a nice idea to meet people and pick up ideas you might not have considered.

I will be there, since I am participating in the Newcomer Program for the first time. Led by Daniel Clark and Jen Goode (on Twitter @jgoode), this is an opportunity for first-timers to get advice and make contacts from people who have been there and feel comfortable with how the summit works.

The first educational session of the day will begin at 11 am, and there are four options. I will probably go to “the Future of Content Monetization and Publishing” with Murray Newlands (@murraynewlands), John Chow (@JohnChow), Ian Fernando (@ianternet) and Steve Hall (@stevehall).

After this, I will likely stop by the Blogger’s Lounge to say hi to my blogger friends and try to write up a short review of the first session. I know the Meet Market will also be open by this point, but the first day on opening, it’s always so packed that I usually avoid the crush of t-shirt and pen seekers.

Another session will start at 12:30 pm, and I will likely stop by the “SEO – Ask the Pros” panel, though the other ones look good as well.

Panel selection will basically come down to individual preferences and finding what suits your specific skillset the best. While I participate in all aspects of my business, I am usually working on the technical website aspects, and a session that helps me strengthen my SEO (Search Engine Optimization, for my non-technical friends) will likely benefit me personally more than a session aimed at merchants or affiliate marketing beginners.

At this point, I’ll probably grab a bite to eat, and then will  go to “Community, Conversation, Conversion – Social Tips You Need” led by Justin Rondeau (@jtrondeau) at 2 pm.

My “Affiliate Improv!” Session starts at 3:30 pm … with audience participation, we will brainstorm marketing ideas for products and services and will hopefully have a little fun in the process. I hope we have a good turnout … this will be the third “Affiliate Improv!” panel, and they’ve gotten great responses at previous summits.

This will bring us to 4:30 pm, at which point we’ll break. I’ll probably hang out and network (read: drink) a little before going to the newcomer meetup from 6:30 to 7:30.

There’s no rest for the wicked at these events … after dinner, I’ll likely head to the Paris Hotel for Share-A-Sale’s “Under the Stars” party in the Chateau Nightclub. These parties are usually a great time, and you get to meet people in a more relaxed (read: drunk) environment.

I plan to get back to my room fairly early, though, because I don’t want to miss Eric Nagel’s Early Morning Whiteboarding session at 8 am Monday morning.

At the ASE11 summit, the whiteboarding sessions were great to get practical advice and discussion on attendees’ sites … Eric’s advice was always spot-on, but the feedback from the panel attendees was also impressive. I met quite a few people in those sessions, and don’t want to miss them at the upcoming summit.

Also Monday morning, the keynote address and opening remarks will be held at 10 am.

I will have a new post with the rest of my planned schedule, but for now I will post this as Part One of my ASW12 planning! Getting excited … just 23 days away …

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