Drupalcon Chicago and SXSWi: Wrapup

drupal con chicago 2011

Phew. March has been a great month of travel, growth, and education at Volacci. On March 6th, five members of the Volacci team (Ben, Kylon, Reese, Joel, and yours truly) boarded Southwest Airlines at the Austin-Bergstrom Airport and headed due north to Chicago, Illinois. Our mission: Drupalcon Chicago total domination.

We landed early on Sunday morning and bee-lined to the Chicago Oven and Grinder for pizza in a bowl and libations. Needless to say, both libations and pizzas in bowls were fantastic. The rest of Sunday I buckled down and prepared for an all-day presentation that I was going to give the following day with the assistance of Joel Casarez (@Jcasarez) and Doug Vann (@DougVann).

Monday morning, 7am, I am sitting in the Gleacher Center at the University of Chicago, getting setup for an eight hour training session. My class of 12 students/attendees showed up promptly at 9am and class began. We touched on a broad range of internet marketing subjects and how to implement changes on their own websites to improve their SEO.

We spoke about the best and brightest Drupal SEO modules and how to best use them. Tuesday was a preparation day. Tom McCracken (@levelten_tom), the Director at LevelTen in Dallas, and I had a session that was voted upon by the Drupal community called "&%$@ My Internet Marketing Company Says."

We spent the day working on our presentation and making it to a couple of sessions here and there for a break. And then the big day came, Wednesday, the day that we needed to give our presentation. I made a point to make it to Atlas Crossfit that morning (thanks to all the folks over there for their help).

Tom and I sat down and put some finishing touches on our presentation, walked down to the Erie room, and "wowed" our audience. Well, something like that.

Feel free to contact me if you would like to listen to our presentation (@erikwagner). It wasn't all work for us at Volacci (well, most of it was). We also met a whole slew of Drupal companies, drank in a museum, attended Drupal parties, complained about the cold weather, and ate lots of pizza.

We flew home that Friday, and after multiple delays, we were back in Austin, Texas enjoying 80 weather. That very day SXSWi (South-by-Southwest Interactive) started. Being too exhausted from our trip, we all went home and took a nap in preparation for the next four days of sessions, networking, and most importantly parties.

The next four days were a blur.

Over the course of SXSWi I managed to make it to over 16 different sessions on subjects ranging from internet marketing to project management to team building. I made it out to four parties, but only stayed out past 10pm once as I was fairly exhausted (nerds sure know how to party).

I managed to score free ice cream sandwiches from @CoolhausATX (thank you @FreshBooks for a fantastic birthday party). Free lunch daily from @FedEx. And last, but not least, free 15 year old Macallan Scotch (thanks @The_Macallan). And like that, we were back to the routine on Wednesday morning.