ASAE Annual Meeting and Convention: Day 1.5
It's only been a day and a half, but the ASAE Annual is well off and running. Here's a quick recap of what's happened so far, and what's coming up. Hold onto your neckties. It's been a wild one.
Saturday, August 18th - Getting There and Partying Hard until 8:30
I drove down to Kalamazoo from TC in the morning and hopped the train to Chicago. It was super easy and convenient. If you ever need to get to Chicago, take a train. Trust me. It's so much easier than you can even guess. Taking a train also means you don't have to drive on the same roads as the Chicago cabbies. Lucky you. The cab ride from the train station to the McCormick Center felt like it was going to be my last, but I'm happy to say I survived with only minimal pants-pissing.
I registered for the conference, checked-in, changed and got ready for the big shindig at the Wintrust Arena. This is the opening party of the convention, and the place was absolutely packed. There was tons of food, somehow even more booze, and plenty of live entertainment. I sampled a few Revolution Brewing selections, but didn't over do it and headed home early. I saw on the social medias some people out at Taco Bell at 4am - I couldn't do that in college, so how these folks were managing it is beyond me.
Sunday, August 19 - 5K and Opening Keynote
I'm going out on a limb to guess the folks scarfing down Gorditas at 4am weren't on the starting line of the 5K at 6am. Our shuttle left the hotel at 5:30am to get to the start line, and I reckon we had about 100 folks in total toe the line. The run took place in Grant Park, which is right on the water, and it was really something to watch the morning light stream over the city skyline as we jogged around the park. Despite telling my colleagues at VP I was going to win the thing, I could only manage 5th, defeated by some super skinny runner dudes and probably those Revolution IPAs from last night. It was a great, if very early, start to the day, with all the proceeds going to benefit two local charities.
After some emails and breakfast, I headed to the Opening Keynote, featuring ASAE's top dog, John Graham. The keynote was Yancey Strickler, one of the co-founders of Kickstarter. He nailed his talk, leaving everyone pretty fired up for the rest of the conference. I wish he'd been given a bit more time to talk, but it was a great way to get things started.
I checked out the Expo floor, which is about the size of Texas, before tucking into lunch as I write this. Next up are a few talks until about 5pm, then I'm going to see if I can get myself out on the town for the parties that are planned. But after getting up at 5am, that might be a big ask. Nothing a few cups of coffee can't cure, I'd bet.
If you're in Chicago for the conference and want to meet up to talk publishing, marketing, or going for a run Monday morning, send me an email. Stalk me on the Internet, or find out more about VP Demand Creation Services, the company that sent me here, on our social media accounts - Facebook, Twitter, and Insta.