BlogHer ’09, the annual conference organized by the influential women’s entertainment and information online community, was in Chicago last week. We couldn’t make it, so we checked in with one of our favorite bloggers, PunkRockHR’s Laurie Ruettimann, for her take on the mood at the sold-out gathering.
Did you have a goal in attending Blogher this year?
My goal was to offer career advice to the BlogHer community. There were mommy bloggers, fitness bloggers, book bloggers, and social media bloggers in attendance. Everyone has been affected by the economy, though, and I was one of the few career experts at the conference. Whenever I could, I listened to stories and tried to provide helpful tips and guidance.
What’s the coolest thing you learned at the conference?
Believe it or not, I had never eaten a kiwi before BlogHer09. Zespri kiwi had a booth, and the representative offered me a piece of the fruit. I turned it down and said, “No thanks, I don’t think I would like kiwi.” She asked, “How would you know unless you try it?” I thought, good point. I tried it and loved it. The kiwi came in two varieties: traditional green (tart) and golden (sweeter). Honest to goodness, I was blown away with how much I love kiwi and I can’t stop raving about it to my friends and family members. This is a good example of how vendors can still build business at a conference in this rough economy. It only takes one convert to your product/service to demonstrate ROI for the event. I was Zespri’s ROI.
Tell me about your favorite session.
My favorite session was the HP-sponsored session called “Bloggers are Pioneers in a Post-Employee World.” The session was filled with women who are entrepreneurs, mothers, and sharp businesswomen who understand the global economy and have made money through their blogs. I was amazed by the talent on the panel and in the room. Kaveri Subbarao is a chief marketing officer and attorney at Cohen & Grigsby, and her presence on the panel made my whole trip worthwhile. Her expertise was so impressive. She reminded attendees that the most successful social media entrepreneurs are both creative and stratgic. Many new media businesses will fail without implementing smart business strategies and practices.