Friday, February 29, 2008

The Mean Kitty Song

I am still working on the 2007 Annual Summit Blog Post.

Why is it taking soooo long?
The story is in the song...

Mean Kitty

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Andy Nulman Keynote Speaker

Andy Sernovitz Interviews Andy Nulman

Arriving at the beautiful Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Universal Orlando Florida, I first saw Andy Nulman standing in the lobby. I recognized him from the Strategy and Innovation Forum pre-registration information. He was one of the Keynote Speakers. The purpose of the forum was 'Where Internet and Multichannel Retailers Plan the Future', taken from the program guide. Leaving Minneapolis Minnesota,
'Arctic Blast' sub-zero temperatures, I was ready to go to my room and retire my AK Anne Kline, black leather pull-on riding boots with upper stretch fabric panel with buckle and strap detail. You could say, I would be pulling myself up by my own bootstraps, but then again, that would be so tired and cliche'. At this point, I was very energized anticipating a warm reception.

While talking to Mitch Joel at the Opening Reception that evening at the Wantilan, an exotic outdoor garden event area, Andy Nulman joined us. True to the program description 'young in spirit and snappy in dress' it was fun to meet him. Later I learned he creates media projects, co-founded the world renowned 'Just For Laughs Festival', co-founder of Airbourne Entertainment North America's 4th-Fastest Growing Tech Company in Deloitte and Touche's Fast 50 ranking. Later I recognized he was an engaging speaker.

Before Andy gave his Keynote Address on Thursday, I had the opportunity to join his Round Table Discussion on Wednesday afternoon titled 'Mobile Marketing: Right for You? Right for Who?' With the table over crowded, about 12-15 of us discussed Mobile Marketing while Andy facilitated the discussion. It was a lively discussion at times as Andy talked about how mobile marketing was used in other countries around the world such as Japan. For instance the phone is used to scan purchases, discounts, and gift cards. Upon entering an event your ticket information is in the phone and it is scanned instead of using a ticket. The phone is more of a utility tool using the information it contains directly for commerce solutions. As we were breaking up to move to the Expo Hall, I asked what effect the mobile phone would have on computer use in the future. He did not think that it would replace the computer, but will be used more extensively in mobile marketing and commerce solutions like in other world markets.

During the lunch break in the Expo Hall I had a chance to meet Daniel Taras, Vice President, Business Development with iPerceptions. Previously, at the Annual Summit
I met Daniel's colleague Jonathan Levitt where I received a white paper by Jim Sterne titled 'We Know What You Did Last Summer But We Don't Know Why' sponsored by iPerceptions. Their company is a web focused customer satisfaction and experience research provider capturing the voice of actual online customers using metrics to turn learning into customer lead decision support. I also sat with Katrina Lane, Vice President Of Channel Marketing with Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. She gave me some ideas about Pastor Paul's Club becoming a 'filler' in Banner Advertising Tests. She said the Banner tests are very expensive. A company will pay for them and will need an alternate 'filler'. It would be a no cost opportunity and exposure for Pastor Paul's Club. Networking is always good.

On Thursday January 24, 2008 I was seated next to Eric Nadler, Vice President, Sales Operation and E-Commerce, Danskin, Inc. We were front and center ready for Andy Nulman's Keynote: 'One Hand In Their Pocket: The Constant Mobile Connection To Your Customers.' An energized, Mitch Joel introduced Andy with some very endearing comments as he told about their friendship and previous work relationship at Airborne. Then quickly, it was a POW-Right Between the Eyes (Andy's Blog) MOMENT, Mitch claimed Andy fired him! At that point I was ready to stand and cheer, even better yet, he asked everyone of the 800 people in the the room to turn on and hold their mobile phones in the air to salute the 'Boss of Mobile'-'King of Text Message' (my titles) and we did. Andy flew through the air to the stage and did not skip a beat. He held the audience attention as he presented detailed innovative mobile marketing strategies.

There was not a quiet phone in the house. I remember gazing at my iPhone, I named iLoveu, thinking: You are not only beautiful you are the future.

To commemorate their 15th Anniversary, I will be blogging about my experiences with and about some of the great people I have met at the conferences and workshops. Please join this conversation with some of your comments or experiences with The next blog will focus on the 2007 Annual Summit in Las Vegas Nevada.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Scott Silverman, Executive Director,

Scott Silverman Introducing Andy Sernovitz
At the 2008 Strategy and Innovation Forum

Pastor Paul's Club became a member of in July just prior to the Online Merchandising Workshop on July 18-20, 2007. I was confident that by becoming a member, I would gain the insights in e-commerce that I needed to build Pastor Paul's Club into a successful business. By understanding marketing, merchandising and the online business environment, I could make the right decisions about the actions I needed to take to reach that goal. My first experience at the first workshop, although challenging, offered the networking, expertise and vision I needed. The first 'take-away', a term I became familiar with, was the importance of 'new media' online marketing encompassing many avenues. I would start with blogging and podcasting.

On Pastor Paul's Blog, I first posted 'Retro Blogging March 16th-May 16th less than one month after the Online Marketing Workshop. The Tongues of Fire-Pastor Paul's Podcast-Introductory Episode #00-Friends aired May 23, 2007 on Pentecost one week later. I recognized that I received exactly what I needed at that workshop to add to our online presence, and Pastor Paul's Club Store. I am somewhat familiar with audio files because Pastor Paul's archived taped messages are available to download and are streaming. A weekly podcast would be sent by RSS feeds sent to subscribers. It is no longer necessary to listen to a streaming message at a computer. The files can be sent to the subscriber's choice; a computer, iPod, phone or cd. The blog is just such an important communication tool. It is interactive and an attribute of all social networks. It is important for people to discuss issues and make comments. Social Networks such as Digg, twitter, flickr, Linkedin, technorati, and to name a few, are another avenue of 'new media'. I have profiles in these while I have been focusing on blogging, podcasting and twitter.

I arrived in San Diego, rented a car and headed for the Glorietta Bay Inn across from the Hotel Del Coronado. The Online Merchandising Workshop was sold out. This workshop was focusing on metrics, basing merchandising decisions by analyzing data. By learning to analyze the website data future actions can be made to create a more effective customer friendly environment that will produce more profitability. In other words, find out what is working and what is not by reviewing the data, then make the needed changes. First, I checked in and went across the street to the Hotel Del Coronado to the Opening Reception at the Commodore Ballroom.The hotel did not have a Commodore Ballroom and had no information about the workshop. When I registered for the workshop the hotel was full to capacity so I found the Glorietta Bay Inn across from the Coronado Hotel. Could there be a mix-up? Yes in fact there was. The workshop was taking place at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. By the time I found the Commodore Ballroom it was empty. Thankfully I would know how to get to the correct hotel the following day.

Counting my blessings, I decided to go to the grocery store pick up some French bread, cheese, fruit, walnuts, juice, water and cherry coke. I went back to the Glorietta Bay Inn and stocked the refrigerator. I looked forward to relaxing. I had quite a bite to eat. Getting ready to relax and review some materials I felt something like a small stone in my mouth. I took it out and examined it. It was a little square white piece of something hard, but it wasn't a stone. I happened to be in front of the vanity and looked in the mirror. To my horror, it was the front of my tooth. One of my front teeth had a large square piece missing. I could not believe it. I just looked at it and could not believe it, could not believe it, could not believe it-HAD TO BELIEVE IT! The front of my tooth was gone. It was too late to find a dentist. I actually considered not going to the workshop.

I had to talk to myself and convince myself that going to the workshop, networking with new people, talking in intimate round table discussions, going to dinner, meeting with exhibitors and everything else involved in this workshop, would not be adversely affected by the fact that I needed emergency dental work that I could not get, and that it was messing with my head. I had some serious internal conversations about vanity. Then I considered keeping my mouth shut for the entire time. I knew I could go without eating, but smiling and conversations, I might as well be dead. How would I handle it? I would try to ignore it. If it was necessary, I would tell what happened on a need to know basis. Nothing was going to get my attention except the workshop. God help me!

Arriving at the workshop I saw Nicole Edmund, Membership Director. I smiled at her. She smiled back. I told her what happened to my tooth. After I told her what happened she looked a little upset and said she did not notice. I believed her and told her how I was going to handle it. She agreed. Next to the Commodore Ballroom to hear the Opening Keynote, Avinash Kaushik, Author, Blogger, Google Analytics Evangelist. He spoke about Trinity Strategy; Behavior Analysis, Outcomes Analysis, and Experience Analysis. The bottom line was that 'Customer Relevancy Improves Conversion.' An excellent presentation. Later in the day he sat next to me and we talked and exchanged cards. I did not recognize him until I read his card. I was thinking more about what he was saying than what he looked like. I hoped the same was true of me.

Lauren Freedman, Author, President, e-Tailing Group gave another morning Keynote Address presenting 10 takeaways about 'Metrics Driven Merchandising and Measuring the Art and Science of eCommerce.' A very in depth presentation with a 15 page handout and contact information to refer back to later. I have talked to Lauren and we both have gold plated
Space Pens on chains. Later that morning I joined a Round Table discussion facilitated by Brett Hurt, Founder and CEO, Bazaarvoice, 'Protecting Brand Concerns When Featuring Customer Reviews.' User generated content is important and customer reviews that are negative can be used to improve products or merchandising. It is better to know what the customer thinks than to try to protect a brand that may need improvement. Customers rely on consumer reviews. To have customer reviews helps conversion rates. Later in the afternoon, I joined the 'When to Redesign' Yellow Round Table, 'Realigning vs Redesigning: An Overview with Kathy Wahlbin, Director User Experience, Mindshare Interactive.

Later in the afternoon were Concurrent Sessions with panel discussions from various speakers. I attended the 'Role of the Manufacturer in Retailer Merchandising Efforts. The speakers included: Jed Alpert, Vice President of Marketing, WebCollage, Inc., Sam Taylor, SVP, HP Direct, Wen M Yuan, Director Online Sales and Marketing Western Europe and North America, Phillips Domestic Appliances and Personal Care, and Don Nelson, Senior Marketing Manager, Sam's Club. The discussion centered around how the manufacturer works with the retailer to insure that the customer is getting the correct and necessary information in order to make a purchase. This increases the retailers profitability, the manufacturers credibility, and the consumers satisfaction by a knowledgeable purchase.

On my way to the Dinner and Reception held at the Excursion Dock, I met Karin Miller, President Consultant, Miller Merchandising currently working with Teleflora. I did tell Karin about my tooth. We actually laughed about it. Dinner was fantastic and we were joined by Elaine Rubin, President, ekrubin, inc and 1-800-Flowers, who helped found
in 1996 with Scott Silverman, it's Executive Director. We talked about nutrition and especially our love for bread. I referred to one of my favorite books 'Eat Right 4 Your Type'. We discussed how people are connected by blood type and that we are 'biochemical' individuals. It was an interesting conversation not related to retailing. I was sitting between two 'FlowerPowers' (not related to this link!)

The next day I caught up with Scott Silverman, Executive Director, of As always he is very busy overseeing everything, introducing Keynote Speakers and talking to everyone. He is so kind and really sets the tone for the conference by his involvement. I have talked to his team and they are all involved in different aspects of the workshop to insure that everyone's needs are met. The many speakers are experts in their respective fields and represent many Fortune 500 Companies. You take away so much valuable information that helps you to make informed decisions for the direction your business can take to reach your goals. The varied panel discussions are lively and interactive. The round table discussions are a way to meet other like minded people and facilitators who are experts in their field. Many varied exhibitors who are friendly and informative answer questions and many times offer help for follow-up conversations. The hotels, dinners and receptions are always the best. Scott's leadership is reflected in the success of the events, although, more important is the fact that you leave the event inspired, educated, connected and ready to make informed decisions that will directly reflect the profitability of your business whether it is large or small.

At the end of the second day of the Online Merchandising Workshop, I had a conversation with Scott. I did tell him about my tooth. His reaction was reserved but concerned. He said he too was suffering from his own malady, laryngitis. I brought my M-Audio MicroTrack II for on location interviews/conversations. I had not used it at this point. I asked if we could record a conversation about the workshop. Veterans to the end, here is this conversation:

Listen to this conversation with Scott Silverman, on July 20, 2007 at the Online Merchandising Workshop at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in Coronado Bay, California.

To commemorate their 15th Anniversary, I will be blogging about my experiences with and about some of the great people I have met at the conferences and workshops. Please join this conversation with some of your comments or experiences with The next blog will focus on Andy Nulman, President and Chief Marketing Officer, Airborne Entertainment Keynote Speaker at the Strategy and Innovation Forum.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Retro Blog- Workshop April 18-20, 2007

I wrote this on May 16th, 2007 after the Workshop. It was my 2nd Retro Blog. It was not posted until now with minor editing. I wanted to show how great the initial contact was with the Team who provided valuable networking to an unfamiliar newcomer. It starts with the call...

'I need some information please...'

I called and talked to Nicole Scruggs, Sponsorships Sales, initially who was very friendly and referred me to Nicole Edmond, Director of Membership. She informed me about the benefits of membership. I was very interested (although I have had no sales at this point). I wanted to know if my not knowing anything would be a problem since it was an intimate workshop with about 250 in attendance most of which would be marketers. Not just average marketers, the list of attendees were the elite in their field many companies with billion dollar sales 'online.'

I printed an enormous amount of information before I made the call:
The Exhibitor List, The Agenda, The 'A' List of Company Members,The Speaker's with Bios, a link to The National Retail Federation Bookstore (listing 11 must-read E-Commerce & Marketing & Sales Promotion Books). I would be prepared. Nicole thought I should talk to Larry Joseloff, Director of Content, about the actual agenda. He convinced me that I would learn so much and meet other marketers. He would be at the reception. I should look for him, a man with red hair and a beard.
One piece of advice that Larry gave me that was significant, 'Sometimes you just have to jump in'...future internal conversations were primed. I could not wait to go...Planes, Hotels, and Cars and remember the red-beard...It was a breeze to register online. I booked a flight with American Airlines, reserved a room at the Holiday Inn in Hollywood, FL, and rented a car with Avis.

The Opening Reception-Poolside at the Seminole Hardrock Hotel-I have arrived...Greeted by, Larry Joseloff, Nicole Edmund, Terry Young, Director of Events, and Joan Broughton, Content and Education, of Next, I was introduced to Andrew Rodrigues SEO Manager of Geary Interactive. Then, I met Richard Last, VP, Director with Poolside, great appetizers good attendance. Time to say goodbye and get ready for the first day of the Online Marketing Workshop But first dinner. I asked Larry about the restaurants and he said the BluePoint Ocean Grill was incredible. After having dinner I agreed, it was the best!

The next day's agenda includes: Opening Remarks/Keynote: Mitch Joel, President, Twist Image. Titled 'Six Pixels of Separation', he discusses social networking, blogs, podcasts and search engine marketing increase consumer loyalty and resulting in positive ROI-a term I will hear repeated almost obsessively by speakers, attendees, etc. For me ROI is a puzzling acronym...defining my experience. I sat next to Brian Dunn, Manager, Online Marketing for Toshiba and Dacy Yee, Web Content & E-Commerce from Toshiba. Our next speaker was Al Bessin, Partner, Lenser. He introduced us to analytics and accountability, 'heavily flavored by the industries best practices'. At this point my own type of analytics kicks in and my focus is on my inability to understand what in the world he is talking about.

Next the intimate Round Tables...I stagger to the Blue Table
(they are color coded by topic)...The Topic I chose is the Affiliate Programs, Anthony Bajoras, Founder, Move Marketing is the facilitator. The discussion gets underway and I am tuned in to 'Working with Search Based Affiliates While Protecting Your Key Words'. Out of nowhere appear Darrin Keene, Search Manager Online Apple Store and Ethan Holland, E-Commerce manager, Jewelry Television. This discussion is so over my head that I start to observe facial expressions and mannerisms because I am feeling mute. It was quite incredible something about affiliates and keywords and protecting them. I had only wished I knew what they were talking about, but, still I was rather intrigued by their vigor.

In a far off distance someone said lets break for lunch and it was all over. I headed directly for the lounge chair by the pool and waterfalls. I had no appetite. I needed to recharge my soul-it was time for the 'Dead Man's Float'. (I will explain later). And I did.

This week
to commemorate their 10th Anniversary, I will be blogging about my experiences with and about some of the great people I have met at the conferences and workshops. Please join this conversation with some of your comments or experiences with Tomorrow on Friday our Focus is on my interviews with Scott Silverman, Executive Director of at the Merchandising Conference and the Annual Summit.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday with Mitch Joel

Andy Sernovitz interviews Mitch Joel
at the Strategy and Innovation Forum in Orlando, FL on January 23, 2007. Later in the day Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image, co-presented with Carrie Johnson, VP and Research Director of Forrester Research, about Social Shopping: How to Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Customer Control. The session focused on customer engagement. 'With consumers self-mobilizing for group discounts and adding their own feedback through tools like reviews and comments, online merchants need to do a better job at engagement,' taken from the program guide.

Mitch is such an energized speaker. He is very engaging with his audience. His slides and videos are either thought provoking or simple to understand never dull or confusing. It is so inspiring to see him speak from the passion he feels for social networking, blogging and podcasting. At the end of the day you walk away with a clear picture of his vision of the importance of new media in marketing today. I knew that podcasting and blogging were vital to Pastor Paul's online presence offering great opportunities at the grass roots level that we understand so well.

The first time I heard Mitch speak was at the Marketing Workshop on April 19, 2007 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. He was the Keynote Speaker. His address titled, 'Six Pixels of Separation', the name of his weekly podcast, 'discussed the cutting-edge marketing channels like social networking, blogs and search engine marketing and how they result in increased customer loyalty and positive ROI,' taken from the program guide. While I listened, I had no idea what ROI was, but somehow I was convinced that it had to be good and that was how you archieved it. This had to be a faith based initiative for sure!

Later that evening I arrived late to the Dinner and Reception at the Tequila Ranch. Because I registered so late, I stayed at the Holiday Inn instead of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel. You can read more about the confusion about my hotel reservation in 'Retro Blogging March 16th-May 16th'. It is very awkward arriving so late to dinner especially when you do not know anyone and everyone is seated and finished eating. So I scanned the room quickly for an empty seat. I found myself at quite a table next to Dawn Deal, QVC, Brian Platter, Peet's Coffee and Tea, Darrin Keene, Apple, Ken Eisner,, Scott Silverman, and Mitch Joel, Twist Image.I started my conversation with Dawn Deal who was very gracious and made me feel right at home. I noticed Brian Platter's name tag that said Peet's Coffee and Tea. I was looking forward to meeting him because my family's name is Peet. So we talked about the Peet heritage and their progressive online store. Then Scott Silverman,'s Executive Director asked me, 'How I was doing at the Workshop?' To my surprise, as I am sure to their surprise, I blurted out, 'I feel like I am drowning.' There I had said it the truth was out, I was truly overwhelmed by all of the complex information that was so unfamiliar to me. I was in over my head. Not to mention that I had been in a very different place with very different people for a very long time.

I needed to change the direction of the conversation at this point and started to talk about my experience registering for the workshop through the hotel inquiry. I learned about the workshop by searching 'online marketing' and found an article promoting the event's Keynote Speaker, Mitch Joel. Later I lost the information, inquired at the hotel, they would not give me the information, finally I got it, and registered late, and was staying at the Holiday Inn. Somehow this translated into the cause for me being late for dinner for dinner, I think. Scott asked Mitch if he had heard my story so I told him and he said we should record it for one of his future podcast episodes. I said sure, and thought to myself, he has no idea. Finally, it is time for the memorable bull rides. The brave Nicole Edmund, Director of Membership, volunteered first to ride the electrical bull. I laughed so hard watching so many take such incredible falls. I knew exactly how they felt.

Later that night, I thought about what I had said about drowning. And then for the first time since it happened, I remembered when I almost drowned when I was 10 years old. One summer my Mom and her friend brought her children, my sister and me to the lake. I was always the oldest so I wandered off toward the 'Big Slide'. There were two slides, a small slide in shallow water for children who could not swim and a 'Big Slide' in deep water that was surrounded by people lined up to go down the 'Big Slide'. So I started out to the 'Big Slide'.The closer I got the deeper the water. The line was longer than I thought. Rather than to go back, I started to bob up and down trying to keep my head above water. The technique worked for awhile but not for long because the water took me farther than I could bob to touch the bottom. Now I was under water completely. I could hear people talking and laughing all around me but I was invisible. I was under deep water and I was drowning and I knew it. I do not remember panicking. I think I was praying.

The next thing I knew I was lifted up out of the water like a rocket up into the air and a man's voice said something like, 'She's drowning', and then to me, 'You should not be out here if you don't know how to swim.' I think I coughed up a bunch of water and tried to explain my failed bobbing technique. He wasn't listening to it, and said, 'You should not go swimming alone.' Feeling more embarrassed than scared I left the water in a failed attempt to go down the 'Big Slide.' I told my Mom that I had almost drowned, she yelled and told me it was a really stupid thing to do, no sympathy here.

I remember sitting in the car angry and pouting thinking, they were right, I will learn to swim. I did learn how to swim, but, most importantly before I learned to swim, I learned the 'Dead Man's Float'. This is when you surrender all your fear laying on your back in the water perfectly relaxed with your face up toward the sky and try not to move except ever so slightly to keep yourself floating. It is like meditating in the water.

The next morning I decided to give breakfast a try. I was sitting alone when Mitch Joel asked if I wanted to sit alone, or join him, and he invited me to his table where I sat across from him and next to Anne Marie Cianfichi, President, whose company offered personal wardrobe shoppers online. I quickly reviewed my attire and became very uncomfortable because I was still a little discombobulated from the night before laughing hysterically at the electronic bull rides and then later evaluating my near death experience.

My clothes clearly reflected my mental state; a brown Bob Dylan t-shirt with orange and gold lettering (I bought the night before in the Hard Rock Hotel's-Hard Rock Store feeling a little homesick), a short cropped jean jacket, and bright tangerine slacks to match the faint orange and gold lettering on the t-shirt. At the time my salsa arrives special order to drown my scrambled eggs, Mitch moves next to me to record for Episode #48 of Six Pixels of Separation, his podcast. He is really nice and shows me the M-Audio recorder, (I never asked him if he sensed fear at this point). I thought it looked quite harmless. I pushed the eggs aside and we began. It went really well. He made it seem so easy. I think we talked about a Pastor Paul's Podcast using Pastor Paul's 1,200 taped messages. He said he would send me some information. I was quite inspired.

Now it was time to move to the Auditorium to hear the Keynote Speaker, Sucharita Mulpuru, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research. I was learning how to swim through 'Improving ROI Of Paid and Organic Search, Introduction To Analytics, Maximizing Performance of Online Affiliate Programs, Best Practices For Portal-Retailer Relationships, Understanding Multi-Channel Metrics, Best Practices in Email Analytics, and many intimate Round Table Discussions'. I was aware that I was not swimming alone but, during lunch I decided to go outside by the pool. Positioned in the
'Dead Man's Float' in the sun by the pool on a comfortable lounge chair, I surrendered my fear once again. Feeling energized, I went for an Earl Grey Tea where I met Andrew Hirsch, Chief Executive of the John Brown Group in the UK, he was ordering coffee.

As we waited in line I talked to Andrew about the conference. I had remembered that he grilled Mitch Joel with some very hard questions after his Keynote Address the day before about 'clearing the clutter' on the web and it's future. As we were talking a Mrs. Shawnee, a Tarot Card Reader (not with the conference), said she liked my shoes and gave me her card. She said she she saw good things in my future and I should call her. I told her I thought the same thing and gave her one of my cards. On the way back to the auditorium, we saw Mitch Joel and I told him he had to interview Andrew for his podcast because he was from England. He also remembered Andrew. He muttered something about me 'pimping his podcast' (I think it is an industry term), and then proceeded to interview Andrew. How exciting! I was the guest on a podcast in the morning and pimped my first podcast by noon. In the next couple of weeks, I listened to both Episodes #48 and #49 of Six Pixels of Separation, his weekly podcast. Andrew and I were quite remarkable, as was Mitch Joel.

As it turned out Scott Silverman had introduced me to Mitch Joel, who lifted me up out of a sea of information to show me just what I was looking for 'cutting-edge marketing channels like social networking, blogs, and podcasts.' Come in the water is fine...

This week to commemorate their 15th Anniversary, I will be blogging about my experiences with and about some of the great people I have met at the conferences and workshops. Please join this conversation with some of your comments or experiences with Tomorrow on Wednesday our Focus is The Team and the Marketing Conference and Annual Conference.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Congratulations and Thank You

(Archived) 10th Anniversary of e-Commerce Video
Our relationship with's team, members, speakers and exhibitors have influenced our vision for the future of our online e-commerce community, Pastor Paul's Club. Thank you again and congratulations on 15 years of pioneering success that has paved the way for the entrepreneurs of the future.

On my Sun Country flight from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Orlando, Florida, I brought a book to read I had purchased a few years ago from 'the book cliffs', their tagline-'a used and a few new books'. When Pastor Paul and I travel along the Mississippi River in the summer, we have to stop in Wabasha, MN to visit Nancy Falkum to chat and buy books. On one visit Nancy asked me if I had heard of the book 'Blue Gold' by Maude Barlow and Tony Clark. On the cover it reads 'The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water.' After a few years, she understands my interests because we have had many conversations. Of course I buy the book. At this time I have a very renewed interest in the book. However, it is not the type of book that you would think to bring to a Strategy and Innovation Forum. Or is it?

Little did I know that it would prepare me for yet another conference and Orlando, Florida.
I must admit I am not an avid reader. I never read fiction and I tend to read books related to science, nutrition, business, medicine and more recently technology manuals and dummy books. The only book that keeps my attention and focus is the Bible-(66 books) the real deal. I read it almost everyday to start my day. As I looked at the cover of 'Blue Gold', I saw more than a 'Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water', I saw the product that would represent Pastor Paul's brand, a water bottle. Water is so essential to life, without it we will die.

On Blog Action Day, October 15, 2007, I joined 16,000 other bloggers. We blogged about the environment. This is the anniversary date that I entered the 'blogosphere'. Almost 4 months later; the Pastor Paul's Blog, the environment, personal branding, social media and Pastor Paul's brand identity are coming together for Pastor Paul's Club. This is a new endeavor, an e-commerce store. The goal is to raise needed revenues to support its mission to feed hungry people. I needed to understand online marketing and found Online Marketing Workshop in April 2007. This was a fateful connection.

Soon I would be landing in Orlando to attend the Strategy and Innovation Forum. I was looking forward to another insightful event. I knew I would get the answers I was looking for about the direction to take for Pastor Paul's Club. This forum was the first of its kind and was founded by innovative leaders. While I was looking forward to the forum, my focus was on what I was reading about how the world is running out of fresh water. Many aquifers are drying up caused by increased industrialization and farming irrigation, population growth, toxic runoff and other environmental forms of pollution that threaten the remaining fresh water supply. It was time to fasten my seat belt and get ready to land in Sunny Orlando Florida.

While taking an unexpected two hour ride in the Mears shuttle to the beautiful Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, I started a conversation with Ernie, the driver. I asked him if they were in a dry spell because the plants and the trees looked like they needed water. He said as a matter of fact, they were in the middle of a drought. Of course, I should have known that important fact prior to the visit. I began to tell him about the book I was reading and he confirmed what I had just read, that the Florida aquifer is drying up and that the surrounding states are disputing fresh water supplies. I was Ernie's final stop. I thanked him for the unexpected tour and said I hoped it would rain soon.

I checked in and went to my room that overlooked a beautiful pool, and lagoon. The grounds filled with exotic plants, orchids, and palm trees
were meticulously trimmed with no signs of drought. Yet I couldn't stop thinking about water. It is funny how traveling opens up your awareness. I think it is because you are in an unfamiliar environment so your sensitivity is awakened. It was time to get ready for the Opening Reception. I was open to receive.

In the elevator on the way to the reception I met Jay Shaffer of in association with They collect thousands of reviews by actual buyers verified by the retailer that sold it to them. Pastor Paul's Club has the capacity for customer reviews and is looking forward to building a community of supporters, so meeting Jay briefly is one example of finding like minded people and the value of the conference. Come to find out in our conversation, he was familiar with the Food Banks in San Francisco. He understood our need to raise revenues and thought Pastor Paul's Club was innovative. I was off to a good start. Then who is my next contact, but the incredible Mitch Joel of Twist Image-'a marketing agency that bridges the present to the future.' We first met in Hollywood Florida at the first Online Marketing Workshop in April 2007.

Scott Silverman, one of's founder's and the Executive Director, introduced us at the Dinner and Reception at the Tequila Ranch at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino where we were entertained by the most memorable bull rides. Mitch was the Keynote Speaker earlier that day and he gave a very inspiring presentation on new media that includes blogging and podcasting. The following day he pulled me aside at breakfast and we had a conversation that was recorded on the 'M-Audio' that he later included in his weekly podcast called Six Pixels of Separation Episode #48. Well to say the least, I left my first Marketing Workshop very inspired and had the direction I was looking for

So here we were again, attending the Strategy and Innovation Forum. As we talked at the entrance of the Opening Reception in the beautiful Wantilan a flurry of people came to say hello to Mitch. He introduced me to Andy Sernovitz, author of, Word of Mouth Marketing Wednesday's Keynote Speaker and Andy Nulman, President and Chief Marketing Officer of Airborne Mobile Entertainment Thursday's Keynote Speaker. Later after hearing them speak I would find them both very inspiring confirming the future direction that Pastor Paul's Club marketing would take. At the time, I just enjoyed the presence of their good energy. Later that evening I met John Keating of, John Pape of WreslingGear.Com, Austin Wilson and Kelly Sieben with Microsoft Corporation Product Development and Matt Wilson of CLS. So many good conversations with such knowledgeable people a foreshadowing of what was to come.

On the way back to my room, I noticed it was cloudy and it looked like rain. And it did rain in the evening and in the early morning on both days. But of course, 'The Rainmakers' were in town. It was glorious...

This week
to commemorate their 15th Anniversary, I will be blogging about my experiences with and about some of the great people I have met at the conferences and workshops. Please join this conversation with some of your comments or experiences with Tomorrow on Super Tuesday our Focus is Mitch Joel of Twist Image.