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August 11, 2006

Friday Recap SES Party Recap

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Aaaaand we’re back. I hope you enjoyed our San Jose session coverage this week. Since I spent the week traveling and running around the SES Convention Center like the crazed blogger I am, I wasn’t able to delve in my feeds to collect the usual Friday Recap goodies. But don’t be sad, I present you with a SES Party Recap in its place!

As you know, it was my first SES experience so I was pretty amp’d to witness the craziness that I heard the SES parties would provide me with. I managed to hit four parties in the three days I was there. Here’s a breakdown of went on:

Monday Night

Yahoo!’s Non-Party – The party was held in a half indoor/ half outdoor courtyard and seemed to attract a rather small crowed, though I did get to put faces to many of the blogs I read daily thanks to a little guidance from a familiar face. [Thanks, Cindy!]

The main attraction seemed to be the “Yahootinis”, which frankly, didn’t look that appetizing. But then again, yellow drinks have never been my thing. I prefer a little more color; perhaps they should make them purple next time. Just a suggestion.

The crowd remained pretty small for the few hours I was there, and the finger food presented left a lot to be desired. (Artichoke should never be deep-fried, people.) After making the rounds and remaining rather unimpressed, we decided it was best to bid the DeAnza Hotel adieu and head to the next event.

Ask.com was fired up! – I know I’m slightly Ask-biased (I can’t help it), but this was definitely the place to be Monday night. The theme for the Ask party was Heating up Search, and with bartenders that breathed fire, they certainly were!

Appointed Ask.com girls circulated the event handing out Ask-branded matches and candy designed to burn a hole straight through the roof of your mouth. For the photo enthusiasts, Ask provided a no-charge photo booth that was both fun and handy, as it enabled inebriated SEOs to remember the event Tuesday morning (something I hear they are not always able to do at these conferences.)

The food was great (I preferred the shrimp, but my colleagues seemed to be smitten by the asparagus), but the crowd was even better. Far larger than the group at Yahoo!, these people were here to party.
Most exciting for me was getting to meet a few members of the Ask.com marketing team who have been so kind to me over the past few months. A big thanks to (from left to right) Product Managers Scott Grieder and Erik Collier, as well as Usha Mishra, who along with Jennifer Hallett, put the whole event together.

Ask group pic

[Oh, and Erik, please do apologize to Dmitriy for me! Heh.]

Tuesday Night

Google Dance V – After the sessions ended on Tuesday, people gathered their belongings and ran to the front of the SES Convention Center where they proceeded to… wait.

crazy Google line

Aaaaand wait…

crazy Google line again

What were they waiting for? For the shuttles that were going to take them to the Googleplex, of course! Waiting in that line, my heart was all aflutter in anticipation over what would take place once I got to the Googleplex, and I was not let down.

road to google

Please direct your eyes to the bottom left of the above picture. You know you’re walking into a star-studded affair when the first people you see getting off the bus are Barry Schwartz and new wife, Yisha!

The theme for the night was Google Labs and attendees were encouraged to come dressed in their lab coats, cause you know, I own a lab coat. Or not.

google party

I made my way through the crowd, collected my Google Dance T-shirt, passed the famed Google volleyball courts, and took some time to watch the green screen karaoke, crazy robot wars, the Dunk-a-Googler shenanigans and eye the assortment of food. I’ll be honest with you; the promise of a wide selection of yummy treats was one of my main reasons for attending.

And I was not let down, there were mini burgers, an array of Mexican good, Google corn dogs, an ice cream bar, crazy-colored Rice Krispy treats and too-tasty-to-pass-up brownies. Fine, you dragged it out of me, I had three, okay! And I’d do it again.

The night was a success and I think everyone in attendance had a great time. It was like a geek Prom, which was fitting since I’m pretty sure at least half of the people gathered were dateless for their own. I kid.

Beyond the craziness of the party, I really enjoyed and appreciated getting a glimpse at the Great Goog. I was even able to pick out the Google gym located on the second floor. I admit, the sight of that treadmill with a window view brought the image of a scurrying Marissa Mayer to mind. It’s weird I associate her with the Google Gym, isn’ t it?

Thursday Night

Suiting up at SEARCHBASH

We were all excited when Thursday night hit because it meant it was time for SEARCHBASH, a decadently wicked affair sponsored by Bruce Clay, Inc, LookSmart, Moniker, Position Tech, Webmaster Radio and True Local.

The event was held at Studio 8, and in my totally biased-opinion, was the Must Attend event of the conference. The drinks were flowing, the food was amazing (especially the freshly made quesadillas and pesto mozzarella balls!), and, to trump every other party so far, featured your favorite names in SEO… sumo wrestling. That’s right; the people responsible for the success of your site suited up and took it to the mat. Even our fearless leader Bruce got in on the fun.

Bruce in action

Hehe, what a sport. Unfortunately for you, because I enjoy my job (very much) I won’t post what followed mere seconds after that picture was taken, though bribes are now being considered.

Also up to the sumo challenge was the man responsible for all this debauchery in the first place, Danny Sullivan.

Danny Sullivan sumo wrestling

Careful, Danny, you better keep an eye on your opponent or you might get kno-

Danny Sullivan sumo fall

Oooooh. Don’t worry, folks, Danny brushed the fall off with a smile.

Seriously though, SEARCHBASH was a huge success and we were very proud of the event. We hope everyone had a great time.

That’s it for the SES parties, but I do have two pieces of link love for you:

For the females out there, if you need some more excitement, head over to the new Men of SEO blog it’s sure to get your heart racing. Oh, Rand… *sigh*

Barry Schwartz and I were apparently on the same page during the conference. I, too, feared for my life.

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