I arrived at the TRAFFIC conference in South Beach on Monday morning, having missed the first day because of a previously scheduled vacation in south Florida. On second thought, despite the conference’s scheduled Sunday beginning, I missed more like two days because many of the attendees arrived on Saturday, taking advantage of the poolside cabanas reserved by Rick and Howard… From what I heard, reserving the cabanas was a smart idea.
For me, attending a domain conference is hardly ever about hearing the keynote speakers, attending pre-scheduled networking sessions, or even listening to panels. I attend domain conferences to meet with friends and colleagues I don’t have a chance to see very often.
Despite missing a good chunk of the conference and being there for only about 36 hours, I was able to meet with a whole lot of people. I heard somewhere in the ballpark of 300 people were in attendance, which was one of the biggest Traffic crowds I can recall. With several exceptions, I met with just about everyone I wanted/needed to see.
During the first morning session, I heard that Simon T. Bailey was a great speaker from several people (I was catching up on some work unfortunately). I spent the next several hours meeting with friends, clients, and colleagues and thought the venue was perfect for this.
The .CO party at the Versace Mansion was a lot of fun, and it seemed that almost everyone attended. The way it was set up – with tables, couches and open space, it was great for conversation. A few of us went out to dinner after the party, and we ended up at the Fontainebleau following dinner. It was a fun night.
The next day, I was impressed with Don King. It’s not really what he said but the way he said it and his presence that struck me the most. King not only stood on the stage for something like 40 minutes after his speech asking for and answering questions, but he stuck around for a couple of hours after that, just meeting with people and shaking hands. He really seems to connect with people, and he has a presence that you can’t help but smile when you’re around him. I would love to spend a day with him in his entourage.
I went out for lunch shortly after King spoke, had a few other meetings, and I left town a couple of hours later. It was an action packed conference with meetings and discussions left and right.
Rick and Howard were dead on when they said Loews would be a great venue for the conference because it really was. Located right on Collins Avenue in South Beach, it was close to some other great hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. I think it was one of the best conference settings.
As always, Barbara Neu, Ray Neu, and Alina Schwartz were welcoming and friendly faces, filling in when Rick and Howard were running the show. It’s very much like family when you attend the TRAFFIC shows.