Today's blog post is written by none other than our very own Greg Parker. You may (probably... definitely) know him as MemberClicks Business Development, and one of our most social Clickers. He documented his ASAE Experience to share with the MC Talks Blog Audience!
After all of the build up, all of the planning, and the intensity that is ASAE 2013, it’s actually over. As we take a minute to catch our breath and reflect, I’d like to share some quick thoughts recapping my experience from this year’s conference.
The City of Atlanta
A not uncommon tag line for many cities is “If you haven’t been to >insert city< recently, then you haven’t seen all they have to offer.” Living in Atlanta puts me in the position many of you are in as far as your own cities and towns: we rarely take advantage of the great things going on in our own backyards.
Our team wisely stayed onsite in one of the conference hotels which afforded us the perspective of the visiting attendee. From that perspective, I have to say, Atlanta – you did us proud!
I spoke with many who had glowing reports about the friendly volunteers, easy access to venues, great restaurants and how safe they felt right downtown. I have a feeling a lot of our friends will be back again soon.
The advent of technology has enabled, in some cases, collaboration and networking that would have not been possible otherwise. I work for a tech company and preach its virtues regularly, but in reality, it’s those chance meetings and conversations that happen face-to-face at these events that always have far greater value and impact for me personally.
I can’t tell you how many times over a meal, at the bar, waiting in line, etc… I get to meet some really awesome people and form new relationships and add to the overall value of an event like this exponentially.
What would ASAE be without the parties? The bar was set pretty high at Dallas last year, but whoa… the dust from this year’s blowouts will be settling for quite some time. The Multiview Party, The MemberClicks Small Staff Shindig, YAPstar, Diversity, the after after parties at the Omni… well done people, well done.
The Educational Sessions
The parties and the people are important elements of any good conference, but the meat on the bone is clearly the educational and learning opportunities available to advance our personal and professional development. On that front, we were well-fed indeed. A common problem was deciding how I could split my time between so many beneficial sessions that were going on at the same time!
Being a full-time resident of this year’s host city, I knew more than most what August in the ATL can be like. Not to mention the two straight months of oppressive heat, humidity and torrential rain, many locals were holding our collective breath about mother nature’s plans. Well she didn’t let us down, and I was honestly debating whether or not this deserved rating in the “Good” section. The only reason it made “So-So” was in empathy for our friends from more temperate climates. Seriously, you guys had such a mild experience for August, it was amazing. You’re welcome.
Session seating and room selection
This is obviously a very first-world problem, but I experienced several occasions in which there were clearly not enough seats available for sessions, and I would have thought that in a space like the Georgia World Congress Center, sessions could have been situated in the same time zone. On the plus side, I accidentally completed a 10k over the course of the weekend!
What can I say? I try to find the good in almost every situation, but really?! In a city the size of Atlanta with the conference business and traffic coming through this town, it is inexcusable for cab drivers to gouge their fares and to refuse to accept credit cards. We can do everything else right, and if getting around in cabs is at best difficult (and at worst abusive), this reflects poorly on us all. Get it right people.
All in all, I couldn’t be happier with this year’s conference and I’m so very proud of the MemberClicks team. Rest up, recuperate, and I’ll see y’all in Nashville in 2014!