I was about to buy a ticket. It was time to acknowledge the Dad world and participate at the one and only Dad conference in the blog world, and since it was during my son’s Winter break from school, I was running out of excuses.
Then my Wolf Blogger experience with Best Buy became a full Ambassadorship and they offered me a spot on the trip as one of their blog team members for this conference. Perfect!
I was a little nervous at the thought of attending Dad 2.0. You see, none of the other dads like me. They don’t like the way I run my blog. I am too commercial, I am a product review sell out, and I buy followers by doing giveaways. Oh yeah, and I am too embedded with the mom bloggers.
And I was hesitant because the Dad conference is full of legitimate writers. These guys are published in books, newspapers and magazines, just to name a few. Clearly this trip would be very uncomfortable.
And then it started. The day before I was to leave, one of the guys in the Dads Facebook group wrote about being a little nervous with meeting people face to face. I thought this guy was the King of the group: he was quick witted and made cutting remarks at every turn. Now he comes out of the closet as a big teddy bear? He was one of the Dad bigwigs that I was scared of! Maybe this wouldn’t be the negative experience I had envisioned.
Next thing you know, I am on the plane and there are four other attendees on my same flight from NYC! And I got the entire last row to myself! The Universe was starting to talk to me in a very positive way!
Will you be surprised if I tell you that everything in my head was completely off base? Not one person judged me! Everyone was nicer than nice! And we were in one of my favorite cities, San Francisco. I actually had a view of the park I had been hanging out with my family in, one and a half years earlier.
I guess I was a little like that teddy bear fellow I mentioned earlier. I was a little intimidated and shy around these guys. But at 55 years old, I am also old enough to force myself to engage and interact. And it was fantastic.
I met the greatest guys in the blog world, or for that matter, in the world! The most generous of spirit! I will be forever grateful for the warmth I felt at this conference.
And I learned stuff! My favorite on-line picture collage/editing company (PicMonkey!) had a booth and a couple of informative sessions. I was thrilled! And some fellows I knew led a session talking about working with brands. I guess not all these guys are just writers!
I knew my best dad pal in the group would have a big agenda of his own, so I tried very hard not to use Dadarocks as a crutch. So much so that I barely saw him the whole time! That meant we were both having a successful conference!
And the brand room was terrific! A lot of great companies, far more than I expected. Dove Men+Care had a whole barbershop set up for the us. Kia had ride and drives all weekend, and in fact brought us in from the airport which saved many of us almost $50 or more. And Best Buy, a brand that has treated me wonderfully since the first day that I started working with them, provided me with a full and wonderful experience, from a gorgeous dinner where I got to engage with some brands and their staff, to fun times engaging with the dads as a Best Buy Ambassador representative in the booth.
And then it was all over. Saturday night and everyone had dinner plans except me. I was all alone. But as I said, I am older and more mature, and perhaps even wiser. So I circulated around and of course these great guys extended invitations to me to join them. I tagged along with my NYC Dads group friend, Lance, and ended up having dinner with 11 other great guys at a great restaurant and felt truly supported in the Dad blog world. This was exactly what I needed to get out of this conference, my expectations were so far exceeded that my ticket to the next years conference was purchased within 24 hours of my return home!
But wait, it wasn’t over! Lance decided he had to go to Ghirardelli! I joined him, because to be in a hotel room the entire time you are in San Francisco, is bordering on sinful, this is too beautiful a town! We walked across the whole of the city with one other dad and had a fantastic walk. And we were like some NYC TV tough guys walking up to a huge bouncer outside the strip club we passed asking for directions to an ice cream parlor! The first thing he said was that they had ice cream inside, but I think she was one of the employees!
There were some other highlights that must be mentioned here as well:
1. A trip to the Lucas Film campus, sponsored by Lego, was where we spent our Friday evening. This was one of those once in a lifetime experiences that I get to experience in the blog world. To enter you have to pass a statute of Yoda! I also got to pose with two Storm Troopers and an R2D2, in addition to viewing amazing memorabilia from the Star Wars franchise. The Dad 2.0 folks outdid themselves in procuring this experience for us. And Lego? Lego is a building toy that will forever be etched in my mind as one of the greatest toys you can give your child. My son spent many happy years building with Lego. And then we saw a small movie that we had to keep secret!
2. At the first mixer of the event, a food and drink party in the hotel restaurant, a fellow from Australia came up to me and said he likes my work. He followed me on social media. And he wasn’t even drunk! I’m not going to say this happens often, but it is incredibly flattering to learn that someone thinks that what you do is good.
3. I was out of my comfort zone. Way out. It is much easier for me to be in the mom blog world. But this was important for me to do, and I did it. And it was hugely successful. So of course the lesson is to face your fears, that is how we grow stronger and more confident, yet another take away for me from this wonderful conference!
I am thrilled to see how this conference has grown in a few short years and I am even more thrilled to add it to my annual conference list. This group has the power to change people’s perception of Dads across the world and I am humbled to be a participant!