After a long and tiring trip back to Boston, I am finally home from the Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas. It was 4 days of fun, networking, partying and, most importantly, learning about the internet marketing industry.
I was scheduled to leave Saturday morning. The skies were threatening and it was snowing lightly in Boston. The terminal was deserted and the folks at Continental Airlines assured me everything was on time.
The folks at Continental were wrong. There was a "computer malfunction" and we were forced to get off the plane and reschedule our flights. The nice lady at the counter put me in First Class for the Houston to Las Vegas leg of the journey.
Even though I was seated next to an Herbalife Distributor with 13 cats, I enjoyed the first class experience.
Warm towels to refresh the weary traveler...
...all the mixed nuts you could eat and....
When I sat down, the stewardess asked me if I'd like something to drink. I said, "yeah, a twelve pack." While Miller Lite is not my vintage of choice, there's still few finer words in the English language than "free beer."
I settled in to watch the Jets-Colts game on my own personal screen while turning up the volume to drown out the Herbalife pitch and the many references to the hundreds of feline photographs.
There was a hearty meal of jambalaya and minestrone soup.
Some wine was available with dinner. Flying first class ROCKS.
We finally landed in Vegas and, sufficiently lubricated, I made my way to my shuttle. At only $12 for a round trip to my hotel, this shuttle was a bargain. No more cabs for me.
After checking in at the Imperial Palace, I made a quick stop at the sports book to make a couple of "investments."
Next it was on to the Buy.at Mixology party at Mix in The Hotel at Mandalay Bay.
This place is on the very top floor and offers great views of the city.
I gunned down a few beers and made my way back to my hotel. It was late, I was pickled and I had a long day ahead of me on Sunday.
Sunday morning I got up early and checked out the view from my balcony.
Then I headed down to the Wynn Hotel where Affiliate Summit was taking place.
The Wynn was only 3/4 of a mile from my hotel, I swear the registration desk was another two miles from the entrance!
This was just after 8:30 AM. I am sure there were many people sleeping late after the previous night's festivities! Since the first event didn't start until 11 AM, I went off in search of Hot Dog Stories.
When I returned, I hit the Affiliate Improv Session with Drew Bennet, Dan Clark, Mike Buechele, Jen Goode, and fellow hot dog lover and Football Fanatic, Wade Tonkin.
This was an interesting, brainstorming session and I gave the guys Punch Buggy tee shirts and Jen some sea glass earrings at the end. I won a flip tripod too!
After that, I got to meet my benefactor, John Chow. I won the Gold Pass to Affiliate Summit in a contest he ran on his site. We both gave his contest TWO THUMBS UP.
After his session was done, James Martell gave a nice talk and then it was on to the Meet Market.
I popped over to the Wynn Sportsbook to double up on the Ravens after the Packers won. It was a profitable wager- there was a ton of action in the sportsbooks all weekend. There was more action in the hallways too! This sexy thing beckoned me.
So I posed with her and the other CPA Tank girls.
After that, I went back to my room for a cold shower and to get ready for the Purpose Inc. Poker tournament.
When I arrived at the Mirage for the tournament, I was greeted by Jenny and Kate. They were registering the players. My 6 year old loves these two- she calls them "the silly girls," so I gave them some sea glass earrings.
I met David King, aka "DK." We had a little "folically challenged" photo fun before the game started.
During the first break, we were supplied In and Out Burger's double/double burgers for a snack.
Yummy Stuff. You know I CHOWED DOWN! I'd never had an In and Out Burger before (alas they are a west coast thing) and they lived up to their reputation.
I got bounced from the tournament in 24th place. I went all in with a KQ clubs and got beat by a pair of fours; UGH. I hung around and mingled with some of the other players. I gave DK's "pretty wife from Norway" some sea glass earrings too.
He publicly admitted to buying his votes on Mturk on his site, so I slapped an arm bar and choke hold on him. Vinay and I hung out quite a bit over the weekend (when he wasn't sleeping it off) and I hope to work with him in the future.
A little while later, Dan Clark and I walked over to the Tryst Nightclub.
Share-a-Sale was having a party. It was loud and crowded.
My ankle was swollen; I'd twisted it on the way over to the poker tournament so after sinking a couple of Budweisers, I went back to my room around 1 AM to ice it. After icing for a half hour, I went downstairs to play craps and won $300!
On the way up to my room, I ran into this gal who was proudly wearing her Snuggy in the Casino!
Monday was a day to cruise the exhibit hall, network and mingle. I met up with an Elvis impersonator.
I also snapped a picture of the Your Website Spokesperson models.
After that, Wade Tonkin of Footbal Fanatics and I went for a Hot Dog (and a Hot Dog Story) at Big Hurt's Snack Shack in front of Harrah's Casino.
When lunch was over, I went to my room to freshen up and get a quick massage.
This machine has a giant rubber bladder that you crawl inside of while jets of water pulsate over your entire body.
It felt sooooo goooood. Back to the Wynn for more silliness while we waited for Shoemoney's "big announcement."
When it was time for Shoemoney's announcement, I spied some rather sexy "security guards" outside the conference room. I gave my camera to Danger Brown and he snapped this photo for me.
Eric Chan of Global Cross-Border Vacations wanted in on the act too.
Once inside, Rob Hustle did an introductory rap with the "security guards" then it was finally time for Shoemoney's big announcement. He announced the launch of Linkcontrol, a powerful new affiliate/webmaster tool. Everyone in the room got a free lifetime account. Thanks Jeremy!
Afterwards there were some photo ops.
Shoe's thumbs are NOT photoshopped, by the way.
Here's me with fellow Shoemoney contestant Donny Gamble and my new mate, Vinay, after the announcement.
One of the prizes for the contest was the chance to bet $2000 on one hand of Blackjack, so a bunch of us headed to the casino to watch Vinay make the bet.
They wouldn't allow photos at the Wynn, but it's rumored that someone got a clandestine video.
The dealer gave Vinay 20 black chips and he laid them on the line. He was dealt a 13 with the dealer showing a king. Vinay looked like someone shot his dog. He agonized for nearly a minute and then took a hit. He drew an 8 for 21 and the place went nuts. The dealer had a 12 and took a six-he won $4000. It was very exciting. After that, Vinay left for an evening of clubbing and debauchery.
I opted for dinner at the Red 8 in the Wynn Casino with my new friend, Ron Opher of Philly Phanatics and Jonathan Ginsberg, an Atlanta Attorney who has a bunch of legal websites like his bankruptcy site.
George, our waiter, is smiling because he sold me the first drink I have ever bought in Las Vegas in 21 trips.
I just love a Mai Tai and I couldn't foresee some scantily clad cocktail waitress hooking me up in the restaurant.
I went for vegetable tempura to start.
I followed it up with some steamed dumplings and stuffed crab legs.
Ron, Jon and I parted ways after dinner and I popped over to the Palms for the Tipoff Party at the Hardwood Suite.
This place is a 10,000 square foot, two story "room" at the Palms with a half court basketball court in it.
John Chow was one of the sponsors. He was sporting his "I'm John Chow, Bitch" tee shirt.
I found Darryl Tott, a fellow John Chow contest winner I'd met earlier. He'd gone missing earlier- he was jet lagged and slept all day. We are going to try to work together somehow in the future, if he can stay awake.
I was supposed to leave early Tuesday morning, but my flight got cancelled and I had to stay another day. I was worried about the blizzard coming to the Northeast and made plans to stay until Saturday if necessary.
After getting back from the airport around 7:30 Tuesday morning, I slept until one, cruised down to the Wynn to get on the wireless and went through the exhibit hall to grab some extra swag tee shirts-I had no more clean clothes. I met up with Vinay one more time for a few beers (he bought) and we chatted for a few hours. He tried to get the Shoemoney logo tattoo after the bar, but the place was closed and we parted ways.
On my way back to my hotel, I saw this guy. I admired his honesty and gave him a buck.
I spent the rest of the evening strolling down the strip and getting a Hot Dog at Pink's.
Went to bed Tuesday night and prepared for another early morning departure. The entire day, starting at 5:30 Las Vegas time and ending at 10:30 Boston time, was spent on buses and planes and in airports.
Despite nearly two feet of snow in Boston, I landed safely and made it home. Affiliate Summit was a wild ride. I made some good connections and some new friends. I can't wait until next year.....