It's all about social/meeting peers.
After dropping the laptop & stuff back at the hotel, went to the expo center to chat w/SMSexpert (great bunch, and great products, too, check 'em out) and be close enough for the xbox drawing to hear my name just in case I won (didn't) and also so I wouldn't get lost trying to find the SMSExpert party boat, I heard Ron Crumbaker do a very classy thing.
If you've been following the MMS events vicariously, you've heard that the MyITforum booth was mobbed Monday night by hundreds of people trying to pick up a button for the Tuesday night MyITForum party (I was in the mob, too!) And the MyITForum booth has continued to be hopping with people asking Ron to sign their copy of his book, or just thanking them for a great site.
What may not have been reported was I've heard the other vendors at the expo were left wondering--why is this booth so popular? Their swag doesn't flash/light up, or have mints inside, or... Especially the vendors immediately around the MyITForum booth, and although there is lots of people traffic, many are going to the Myitforum booth. So while everyone was hovering around for the Xbox drawing, Ron asked the crowd to check out the vendors in the immediate vicinity; pointing out that some of those vendors also had Xbox raffles; so if you don't win this one--sign up over there, too, for a chance at one.
This next comment may be completely off the mark--but I'm hoping that the other vendors noticed the mad dash for MyITForum party--and perhaps help fund the party next year. Doing so may alleviate two issues seen this year; the party could be maybe 20-30% larger (I don't think I'd personally want it much bigger--you'd lose the intimacy of a smallish gathering, it was over 200 people already) and the buttons could be known to be offered at multiple booths--increasing the chances of people looking for the buttons to snag one. (I may be wrong on this, too, but I believe the buttons were available at multiple booths, like Microsoft's; but when they saw the craziness Monday night they gladly returned their bunch of buttons to the Myitforum booth to hand out.)
I think that would be "TechSwarmy"
What's TechSwarmy you ask? After some debate (alcohol was involved), a small consensus (<10 people) decided that since Sales & Marketing people could create their own words to describe something (TechSexy)--so can we. I may not recall exactly the correct pronunciation or spelling, but it's a combination of attemping to include Sales and Marketing into the word: TechSwarmy. I apologize to those present creating the new word if I've missed the mark on spelling. It might have been TechSmarmy (Todd, Angie, Mike, John, and others; including some MS people--who for the record were not participating in the making up of the new name)
Another suggestion for next year that may help w/the MyITforum party. Assuming that the others' goal for attending the party was the same as mine (to increase my chances of meeting all of the people who've helped me out on the forum and lists), how about an email list that is only active from the Wednesday before (to allow the people who have the 24+ hour travel times from across the world) and goes away the Sunday after MMS. The email list would be solely for "A bunch of us are meeting in the lobby of Hotel xyz at 7pm going to the wherever club; meet us if you are interested" The list could be promoted at the booth during the conference, too. Since everyone seems to have email with them wherever they go; they could join the list from their PDA right there if they were new to the conference/Myitforum and were interested, too.
Other social: went for a cruise in the bay on the SMSExpert Party Boat. It was a very nice ride--got to see a lot of the skyline, the Maritime museum from the water side, a very nice sunset; and oh, yeah--met lots of more wonderful people.
Thursday heads up: the "big" party is tonight. It's "Block Party at the Gaslamp Quarter", with an outdoor stage for "Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers". A co-worker from our San Diego office will be joining me using the optional guest pass--I think that'll make it twice as fun!