First Ever Financial Blogger Conference Highlights

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2011-10-0418

If you’re a financial blogger, you may have heard that the first ever personal finance blogging conference took place over this weekend (October 1-2, 2011) at the Marriott Hotel at Schaumburg, Illinois. I wish I had discussed it here before it actually transpired, but I had so much going on over the past few months that it was a miracle that I even got the tickets booked in time for it. So yes, I have no great excuse for being unable to communicate it effectively through online channels as I normally do when big events take place. But hopefully, I can make up for it a little by talking about how it turned out for me.

Thoughts On The First Annual Personal Finance Blogger Conference

I’ll just come right out and say it: Phil Taylor and the organizers did an exceptional job putting it together. It was beyond my expectations and was extremely well organized for the size it was. I was running on adrenaline right off the bat that I ended up feeling zonked for part of the time. But allow me to share some of the highlights I experienced.

1. I was pleasantly shocked by how many financial bloggers showed up. Wow. There were around 275 bloggers, columnists, writers, media folks, financial experts and company representatives gathered together for this. For some reason, I couldn’t exactly fathom (or appreciate) the size of this group until after we were all assembled under one tent or ensconced in one conference room.

2. It was a thrill to meet so many people with whom I’ve only corresponded online or through email before: let’s see, there were Canadian bloggers, debt bloggers, coupon site publishers, frugal bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, freelance writers, general pf types, financial sponsors, affiliate networkers, advertisers, you name it. I enjoyed meeting with so many of you and shaking your hand! I got to meet some of the old timers and wish I had the chance to chat up one in particular (e.g. FMF). I rubbed elbows with the best of M-Network, shared a racy joke or two with Donna Freedman and broke bread with the Money Crashers. Some people stayed incognito and continued to hide their true identities, but I wasn’t one of them — I am taking baby steps towards revealing my true identity one day 😉 . I also caught up with a fairly controversial financial blogger named Rob Bennett, who struck me as the nicest guy around. There I said it.

3. The events were well organized and valuable. There was a bit of everything: we had the chance to help out with some wonderful causes (Phil’s Friends and Love Drop along with, network with colleagues (speed networking for the win!), get some education (excellent sessions about branding, monetization and content production) and win prizes (those raffles were a great touch)! There were some stand out sessions — I caught a few, including the ones by Wisebread.

Tip: You can check out this link for the FINCON11 slides.

4. I was excited to meet four new personal finance bloggers from the Bay Area, whom I can now include in my growing list of contacts. I will be setting up a PF Blogging email and social group (SF Bay Area chapter) so we can get ourselves organized a bit better over here. A lot of financial sponsors are from my neighborhood so I was happy to see old friends from these companies as well!

5. There were also interviews galore, a lot of video taping and an award ceremony (the Plutus awards) which honored many names in commerce and the blogosphere. Congrats to Budgets Are Sexy who ran off with most of the honors 😉 .

6. The sponsors of this event really came through. I really appreciated having had a chance to meet some people in the advertising sector and to learn more about many new products in the financial space. I had a superb time at a dinner thrown by where the conversation flew freely along with the food and wine. It was also lovely to chum around with friends from the credit and lending space. A big thank you!

7. It was inspiring to meet some big names. Sadly, I missed out on a few evening extravaganzas (got wasted early 🙁 ) but was fortunate to have been able to catch up with JD Roth and Pat Flynn.

This conference was a whirlwind that lasted one weekend, but it felt like a lot longer. I can’t wait till the next one. Hopefully it will be in some entertainment hub (say Las Vegas or Hollywood) — if so, we can mix business and pleasure, which would be a good excuse to turn part of this into a family adventure.

For those financial bloggers who missed this one, I really hope to see you next year!

Created June 2, 2008. Updated October 4, 2011. Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Briana @ 20 & Engaged October 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I’m sad I didn’t get to meet you! But I had so much fun while I was there.

Silicon Valley Blogger October 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Me too — sad I missed you! I tried hard to move around as many circles as I could and I still could not get a hold of everyone… though I may have seen you fleetingly on a few occasions. I fault it on skipping some of the evening festivities due to mild exhaustion. 🙂 I spent my fuel early in the day! But glad we all had a great time.

krantcents October 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Everything i read about the conference makes me wish I was there. Hopefully, I will attend next year.

Hazzard October 4, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I’m absolutely bummed that I missed this great conference. I am definitely going to try to attend next year and also hope it’s somewhere like Las Vegas or Phoenix or somewhere like that. It sounds like there was a wealth of information there!


Silicon Valley Blogger October 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Highly recommended (to the nth power) ! I didn’t realize just how successful it would be — you know, given that it was the first time it’s been attempted. I kind of expected to meet with some level of chaos but that was definitely not the case. Everything went quite smoothly. And I got 2 t-shirts, a bag and a ton of goodies. Someone won an iPad (I think it was BeatingBroke). Other prizes were handed out but I kept forgetting to leave my card in the raffle tumbler (and fishbowls) 😉 . But of greatest value were the connections you get to make. A great group of people!

Glen Craig October 4, 2011 at 7:41 pm

I have to say, you are one of the most friendly, out-going people I’ve met, either at the conference or elsewhere. It was a thrill talking to you.

Tamara @ Lead Generation October 4, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Hi there! I am new to this and reading your post makes me realize that attending conferences is really a great experience and can help with my learning process… Thank you for sharing these wonderful experience you have experienced there…

Hunter @ Financially Consumed October 5, 2011 at 8:23 am

What a great conference! Like you, I was impressed with the organization from start to finish; completely professional. It was a pleasure to meet you and I look forward to collaborating.

catherine turley October 5, 2011 at 10:00 am

so glad to read about ‘love drop’ and ‘budgets are sexy’. nate and jay are fantastic guys on a mission to change the world. and man, does this world need changing!

FMF October 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I saw you several times after we initially met and would say to myself “I need to stop and chat with her.” But you were always busy or I was on my way somewhere and it just never happened. We’ll need to make a plan FOR SURE to sit down and talk at next year’s event…

Ryan @ Budgetable October 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm

It was great meeting you! Maybe we’ll see you at FINOVATE this spring!

Silicon Valley Blogger October 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Thanks everyone!

@Glenn, you are way too kind! It was nice to talk about our future projects and compare notes!

@ Tamara, while conferences can be tiring (it did me in), they hold so much value. There are so many to attend in a year so pick which ones to attend wisely!

@Hunter, I have been visiting your site and learning more about what you do! Nice to learn about the stuff we have in common (about how we ended up living in America) 🙂

@Catherine, Absolutely! Amazing how a project can pick up steam like this. I came away inspired by these folks.

@FMF, I’ll make it a point to catch up with you next time! After all these years, it would be great to meet you — one of the earliest bloggers in the space. I was lucky to have snagged MBH several times during the weekend and wished I could have had the same luck with you. But definitely, next time!

@Ryan — awesome! I will be there for sure! I look forward to what you have in store…

Her Every Cent Counts October 6, 2011 at 10:53 am

It was great to meet you neighbor! I look forward to getting involved w/ the bay area PF community too.

Silicon Valley Blogger October 6, 2011 at 10:59 am

We have something coming up soon and I’ll make sure to let you know about it! Can’t believe you’re literally right next door. Mind blown!

Philip October 7, 2011 at 10:44 pm

So glad you were able to make the trip out, SVB. What a great time, right? So cool to see all of us under one roof. Thanks for this recap and thanks for your support. Without you guys this wouldn’t have happened.

Hollie Pollard October 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Sounds like you had a wonderful time, I know I even learned and all I did was follow the twitter stream.

Rob Bennett October 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I also caught up with a fairly controversial financial blogger named Rob Bennett, who struck me as the nicest guy around. There I said it.

Yikes! I almost missed this! What a day-maker!

The only thing I can think of to say is that there were LOTS of nice people there. We’re all trying to do the same thing. My hope is that, when I show up at the 2012 conference, people won’t even think of me as controversial anymore.

You’re super, SVB.


Sridharan - passive income blogger November 26, 2011 at 3:38 am

Hello top bloggers. I’m a newbie, and I am just really amazed to see the unity of financial bloggers. This post cheers me up and encourages me to grow my site like you are all doing. And I’m sure that I will be there with you one day. Thank You, Mr. Silicon Valley Blogger.

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