I’m sitting in the airport in Austin, Texas while the final party of the Dad 2.0 Summit is likely ranging at Stubbs BBQ in downtown, Austin. The past 48 hours have been a whirlwind of networking, meeting new and virtual friends, and digesting enough information to fill a textbook on Social Media, Branding, Writing, and Building an audience for your website.
And, that was just at the welcome party!
Seriously, the events were constant and the exchange of cards and twitter handles incessant to the point where I ran out of the 75 cards I thought would be more than enough. For me, this conference was exactly the right size – I think 200 people was the limit, which I don’t believe counts the speakers and sponsors. Let’s say there was 250 people, which I would estimate was made up of 80% men/dads and 19.5% women/moms. The 0.5% is the dog I saw wandering around.
Jonathan Fields gave the opening keynote speech and leapt off the stage and immediately engaged the attendees with stories, information, humor, and grace. It was a great start. There were four “Breakout Sessions” composed of 3 simultaneous panels covering topics such as:
~~ Dads On Screen: The Evolution of Stereotypes and How Writing Can Overcome Them (the panel that I was on).
~~ Pack Mentality: Dads and the Power of Community.
~~ The Fundamental Shift in Men’s Roles in the Household.
~~ On Masculinity: Feeling the Freedom to Self-Define.
~~ Dads and Technology: So Much More Than “Boys With Toys.”
~~ Pitching Dads to Brands.
The list of notable attendees would fill the rest of this blog and anyone I’d leave out would only ‘cause me grief, so I’ll just say it was a very impressive and eclectic group of attendees and speakers.
The sponsors included Honda, Johnson & Johnson, Kinect for XBOX 360, LG, Lego, Dove Men + Care, CLR, Tide, [email protected], Scotts Miracel-Gro, and Zatarain’s.
I got to drive the new Honda Ridgeline Sport, which was a kick since I bought the first Ridgeline when they came out 6-7 years ago. I was video’d, giving a testimony to the nearly 200,000 trouble-free miles I’ve put on my Ridgeline and how cool the new Sport version was. I also did a short video for [email protected], a charity whose goal is getting Third World kids vaccinated. I discussed with Hillary – their rep – doing a #DadChat where we’d raise money for this worthy cause.
To me, Social Media is all about Social Good so that particular connection meant a lot to me. All the sponsor connections were equally interesting and offered the opportunity for progressive-thinking brands to embrace dads as spokesmen and ambassadors. I continue to believe that 2012 will be “The Year of the Dad” and the Dad 2.0 Summit only reinforced that belief.
Dads may never be the powerhouses that moms (bloggers) are, but we’re still a big part of the parenting equation and a meaningful neglected opportunity for advertisers, brands, and companies. Dad 2.0 made this undeniably evident.
Everyone agreed that meeting people face-to-face trumps every other kind of relationship. Yes, virtual relationships are fun and often rewarding, but the depth of real life cannot be replicated online. I cemented existing relationships, began new ones, and left with not only a pile full of business cards, but also an equal number of ideas to pursue upon returning home.
The closing keynote was delivered with aplomb by the inimitable Guy Kawasaki, who brought the house down with his charm, humor, and blunt enchantment – the word he’s completely co-opted – deservedly so.
Bottom-line: the Dad 2.0 Inaugural Summit was a hit. I vote for the next one to be either in Los Angeles (my hometown) or Las Vegas ‘cause I love conventions in Vegas. Okay, I’ll take Chicago ‘cause it’s my kind of town or New Orleans ‘cause I sure miss those beignets!
Finally, I want to personally offer big kudos to Doug French and John Pacini, the co-founders, emcees, and terrific non-stop and gracious hosts of the first Dad 2.0 Summit.
Some quotes from Dad 2.0:
Get a bad-ass butterfly – Guy Kawasaki
Deliver bad news early (to your boss) – @GuyKawasaki
Wait, when it’s your wife – @BruceSallan
Font for your PowerPoint…half the age of your oldest audience member – @GuyKawasaki
Crowsfeet MAKE your smile (lovingly, re: @MariSmith) – @GuyKawasaki
I will slam the door on any marketer that asks my Klout score – @BusyDadBlog
We respond to individual inquires like we respond to individuals – @julietbitches
Why are at least half the smartest people here female while maybe only 20% of attendees are? – @BruceSallan
Question from @AskDaveTaylor: What can you do to become a Brand Ambassador? Answer from @Ssmirnov: Bring an offline presence too!
Create the audience you’re trying to find – @LesbianDad
Your content dictates you audience. If you want to be with mainstream brands, be clean – @newebornidentity
Give a continuation link and do it visually. Make a REAL Social Presence – @HowToBeADad
Stay true to your brand, be consistent, don’t be ALL over the place – @RobCandy
There’s only one constant in parenting – it will change – @NewYorkDad
I have the PERFECT roommate at #Dad2Summit. @DudeOfTheHouse goes to sleep AFTER me and gets up AFTER me! Plus he’s cool! – @BruceSallan
Finally, let’s close with a photo that sums it all up. I call this photo, “Separated at Birth:”