Affiliate Summit West 2011 just ended, it was my second Affiliate Summit I attended, each one offering unique value as I've grown in my abilities but never see myself outgrowing the experience.
The first Affiliate Summit West was in 2010 and was a last minute event. I had won a Gold pass from John Chow and was on my way, buying my plane ticket last minute to get there. It was a great event, but had I been prepared I could have taken advantage of the newbie program where experienced attendees connect with first timers to help them through the event.
My Gold pass allowed me into a few sessions, the meet market and the trade show floor. I made sure to suck in everything that I could and took notes like no other. I missed quite a bit of what was going on and had I spent more time planning, I'm sure I could have packed more in, but what I did learn was well worth the trip.
This time, I came more prepared. I took fewer notes, but was able to absorb more valuable information. I now know more and had specific questions that I was ready to ask. I had narrowed the focus on who I wanted to connect with while still broadening my horizons. You could say I put Time Management skills to work!
This time, I attended more educational sessions and I also attended the keynotes as well, which I found very educational and aimed directly at the industry, instead of simply entertaining. I probably would have had an even better experience, but I was suffering from one of the worst colds I had ever had taking time out throughout the day to go back to my room for several naps during the day. I missed out on the great food as well; I just didn't have the appetite to justify dining out.
The diversity at Affiliate Summit makes this industry extremely unique with people attending from all over the world and from all social circles as well. There are rockers, partiers, Christian groups and more. Talk about a melting pot of cultures and everyone simply embracing each other. That might have something to do with everyone in the conference being self-made and not looking for handouts from others.
This is just my first overview of what I've gotten out of Affiliate Summit, Keep watching for more posts on this great organization and hopefully you'll see what you are able to get out of it.