There’s always something to howl about

The Heart of Unchained

Three days later and my head’s still not right.  Have you ever returned home from a few days away and felt like you needed another vacation in order to recover from your vacation?  You might say the Unchained Conference was like that… but you’d be off by a factor of 10.  Unchained was roughly 32 hours of fast-paced information downloaded without filter or pause in a two and a half day schedule.  Vacation?  I need an I.V. drip.

You might also think, based on what I just wrote, it would be difficult to name the #1 highlight of the entire three days.  But you’d be wrong again. (You’re really not very good at this game. 🙂 )  There were hundreds of moments to choose from and I’m gonna list a few, but there was a definite highlight – an apogee if you will.  It was during that moment I realized I was experiencing everything it means when we say the bloodhound way.

In the kick-off class of the conference, yours truly was the instructor and I didn’t know what to expect.  The feel of this conference – the expectation – was very high-tech.  Yet I’m using terms like “old school” marketing and making a point of saying that all the shiny gizmos and gadgets handed out over the next three days  were just so much dust gatherers without a framework rooted in old fashioned sales and marketing.  To say I was a little anxious about kicking off an online conference with my offline message is like saying the Christians felt a little concerned about entering the lion’s den wearing nothing but butter-flavored bikinis.  I’ve never been so glad to be wrong.  Highlight of the class: we had two attendees benefit from the scenius of the group and nail down their niche, then go online to PURCHASE THEIR DOMAIN NAME AND LAUNCH THEMSELVES right there in class.  God bless people of action.

Once the moments began to roll, they just never let up for three days:

  • Mark Green and his brilliant CRM class experienced one technical difficulty after another due to hotel bandwidth limitations, yet they never stopped finding ways to continue and learn.
  • Dave Smith shared his Tucson Real Estate WordPress blog secrets and opened our eyes to the near perfection blog site marketing can achieve.  Just mention “images” to the students in that class and watch a knowing smile grow across their face.
  • Greg Swann rapped (yes, I mean “rapped”) his own translation of Odes 3,26 by Horace and that wasn’t even the high point of his presentation!  The blessing of Greg is his absolute lack of secrecy or fear of competition.  He freely gave away so much code and single site knowledge that we had to mentally double-bag everything just to make it home.
  • If you were to ask him his niche, Brian Brady would tell you VA loans and that’s true enough.  He is, after all, America’s #1 Mortgage Broker.  But what he gave all of us was a hunting scope and the ability to hit targets in our own niches.  Duck season?  Rabbit season?  No, it’s New Client season… and there’s no limits.

The great stuff just kept coming.  How does one even begin to describe Ryan Hartman?  I’ll tell you the truth: his ideas are so many steps ahead, the true gift was just getting to know the guy in person and discovering how cool he is.  Kelly Koehler once again dropped jaws with her system for catching a lot of fish using very small, very accurate ad bait.  And I haven’t even mentioned Brad Coy, Mark Madsen, Scott Cowan, Don Reedy and all the other scenius contributors.  It’s no exaggeration to say every time I sat down next to someone, another nugget of gold rolled into my lap.  Never mind that I finally met Geno Petro in person… he’s a walking, talking highlight reel all by himself!

A lot of great stuff to choose from right?  But as I said in the beginning there was one moment, for me, that completely captured the bloodhound way.  It came during Eric Blackwell’s class.  “No surprise,” you say?  You’re right, shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody.  Eric is the star of this event.  His SEO knowledge makes him the high priest of online marketing, the Elvis Presley of Google’s rock and roll world.  From 8:00 in the morning till often times midnight Eric was surrounded by people looking for answers.  The only moments Eric had to himself were when he was on stage talking to the entire class.  Make no mistake about it: the room was full of online marketing real estate agents and when Eric spoke pencils flew.  (That’s not true actually.  When Eric spoke keypads on laptops flew… or whatever it is keypads do.  I’m guessing mine was the only pencil in the room.  I’m old school; did I mention that yet?)

Eric did not disappoint and we all came away with cutting edge ideas on how to increase our SEO and thereby increase our business.  But the highpoint for me had nothing to do with “google juice” or “link love” or “ranking in the serps”.  The highlight came at the end of Eric’s class; when he shared a story with us.  I won’t retell the story here because it’s Eric’s story and I could never do it justice.  Besides, these experiences rightfully belong to those who’ve spent the money and made the effort to improve their business.  What I will tell you is this: there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.  Eric reached out and connected with us on a very personal level.  He was passionate and in turn touched the passion in our own hearts.  It had nothing to do with SEO… and everything.  In the end it was the high-tech guru – the SEO rock star – who exemplified everything you ever needed to know about skinnin’ cats.  It was Eric who connected with us on that personal, belly-to-belly level and in doing so revealed the heart of the bloodhound way.


2 Comments so far

  1. Don Reedy May 4th, 2009 1:15 pm

    Let’s see. Who had the only full sized PC, replete with 20″ screen, mouse and keyboard at the conference? Hmmmm, another “old school guy”, who gladly took his lumps, and laughed so hard at both himself and the rest of the crowd as they enjoyed themselves as well.

    I told you that you surprised me the most, because I had “technology” in my head when the conference started, and seeing you first on the agenda took me aback.

    Well, it took me aback, for sure, but only because you rocked, and rolled, and steered us straight to the underlying principles of our individual practices and purposes. Once you had us fixed and settled (well, perhaps unsettled would be a better description), then each of us shared and gifted one another until there was no time left.

    Thanks, Sean. You are the Life that Pops.

  2. Eric Blackwell May 6th, 2009 4:39 am

    You are too kind. 😉

    @Sean-I truly enjoyed simply getting to be a part of BHBU. You are a big part of why. The wild part was, we did not even get to hang out much this time because we were both going a mile a minute!

    Here’s looking forward to the next!