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September 15, 2008

8 Questions for BlogWorld Founder Rick Calvert

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The second-ever BlogWorldExpo is getting ready to take place in Las Vegas this weekend and it’s going to be amazing!

If you were lucky enough to make the debut show last year, you know how much fun and how successful the entire event was. In fact, BlogWorldExpo 2008 is the conference I’ve been most looking forward all year – which is why I’m really, really bummed I suddenly can’t go (darn last minute life events)! To help soften my loss, I conned BlogWorldExpo founder Rick Calvert into chatting with me a bit so I could get a look at what this year’s show has in store. I think I may print this interview out later and sleep with it under my pillow. Then I can have BlogWorld dreams. And it’ll be almost as good as being there!

1. Hi, Rick! Thanks for being a good sport and letting me ask you a few questions. Rumor has it this year’s BlogWorldExpo will be considerably larger than last year’s – congrats on all the success. What did you learn last year that you hope will help make this year’s show an even bigger hit?

That getting 2,000 bloggers together is kind of like herding cats? =p Seriously, we learned that this is a whole lot of fun and that the blogosphere needs an event like this. We told ourselves we would have fewer speakers this year but it didn’t work out that way. We had 130 speakers last year; this year there are over 200!

2. Wow! Okay, I’m going to step backwards here, but how did BlogWorldExpo come about? What was the inspiration behind the show?

The very short version is I wanted to go to an event that helped me be a better blogger, increase my audience, and monetize my content. I wanted to go to “the blogging tradeshow” and when I realized there wasn’t any such thing, we started it.

3. Tell me a bit about the Executive & Entrepreneur Conference you guys hold. Who is that geared towards?

The E&E conference as we call it (I still hate the name btw but we haven’t come up with anything better yet) is geared towards corporate executives and business owners who want to understand the blogosphere and social media. Either to create their own content, or just how to engage bloggers, advertise on blogs, or pitch ideas to bloggers without pissing them off. They need to understand we are not old media and we are interested in genuine value added content for our blogs and our communities. We are not interested in spewing PR speak on behalf of businesses, the way old media sometimes does. That should rile a few folks up =p.

4. I had the chance to look at the schedule and it’s amazing how many different niches you’re able to cover in one show. Is it a struggle to balance so many different kinds of content into on show?

Yes! But I love it. We want more niches. The blogosphere is made up of millions of different vertical communities, most of which are completely unaware of each other. By getting all these diverse bloggers together at the same time, we help each other grow, and grown the medium that we are all so passionate about.

5. If you had to guess, do you think most attendees are coming to learn tips for improving their blog content or are they looking for ways to monetize and make money?

Both. The monetization track is by far the most popular track in the show but most bloggers don’t start blogging to make money. They start blogging because they are passionate about something, sports, politics, technology, quilting, whatever. As the mature as a blogger, build an audience and start to realize the power of new media, they go through this evolutionary process. Finally one day you say to yourself “hey I have a pretty big group of people reading my blog, this is crazy but I might actually make money from my hobby!?”. That’s what happened to me, and I have heard at least 1,000 other people tell various versions of that story. The most critical thing is that the passion comes first. If you exchange your passion for dollars, you have sold out and chances are you are going to fail.

6. What are you most looking forward to about the show? Any of the sessions or the events that really stick out for you?

Honestly I am like a little kid at Disneyland during BlogWorld. I get to meet all of my blogging heroes and so many of my blogging friends. My biggest regret is not being able to sit in more of the sessions as I am busy running the show. It’s kind of ironic that that was the whole purpose of starting the event and I don’t get to see much of the content. But, yes, I can’t wait to meet Steve Rubel, Mike Shinoda, Tim Ferris, I can’t wait to meet Tish Grier in person and see lots of folks that have become friends over the last year like Wendy Piersall, Jeremy Wright, Laura Fitton, Geekmommy, and about 1000 others.

7. I’m so jealous! I’ve been to a lot different trade shows for different industries but the blogging shows are always so much warmer than your average conference. What do you think it is about blogging that bridges industries so widely and connects people?

We love this thing whatever you want to call it, and we are all social people. We love talking, writing, arguing about all things blogging, and we have built these relationships via the Web and this for many of us our one chance during the year to meet each other in person and hang out.

8. Last year the Pajama Party at the Hard Rock Hotel was amazing and gave me a great excuse to break out some over-the-knee toe socks! Have any afterhours events planned to top it?

Lots of events this year, I don’t know if we will top that. We have the E&E reception Friday night at the convention center, then the TechSet Party at Bare inside the Mirage Hotel. Saturday night is the opening party, then we have a reception on the tradeshow floor Sunday afternoon.

Sounds like it’s going to be an amazing time, Rick, thanks for being a good sport and helping me get my BlogWorld fix on. Your excitement for the event is certainly contagious.

There’s still time to register for the event (barely!), so if you don’t want to miss out on the fun, head over to the BlogWorldExpo site and register. You won’t be disappointed.

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One response to “8 Questions for BlogWorld Founder Rick Calvert”

  1. Jeremy Wright writes:

    I have to say Rick rawks. While he’s completely overwhelmed during the show, he’s still a fantastically nice guy and you can tell he pours everything he has into the event (like a true blogger!) :)



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