What an amazing time I had in Vegas. Well except for getting horribly sick, oh and losing all my money, it was a really great time!
I left last Saturday for Las Vegas, Nevada to hit up Affiliate Summit West 2013. In case you didn’t know Affiliate Summit is the premier affiliate marketing conference out there and is held a few times a year. At my first summit I purchased a pass that would let me go check out a bunch of sessions but since then I’ve always opted for the lowest level pass that only gets you into keynotes and the trade show. I’ve always found the most valuable part of attending the summits being the networking places (trade show floors, parties, meetups, etc.).
Fortunately I had arranged a fairly cheap trip which would ultimately free up budgets for my favorite hobby of long term lending to casino resorts. I ended up getting my round trip airfare for free from a credit card and Caesars comped my 4 nights there and gave me a $100 to gamble with. They obviously know their customer well!
Day 1 – Saturday
After a very tiring 12 hours in airports and airplanes I was anxious to check into my hotel room. Surprisingly enough in line I met the infamous Barman. He told me how I was his favorite blogger and he was really striving to be like me*. We briefly touched upon something that Dr. Ngo had referenced the other day about tipping the hotel staff $20 for a room upgrade.
I was originally scheduled to stay in the Palace tower and upon handing the woman at the counter my license & credit card with a crisp $20 bill sandwiched between I began my pitch. “So I don’t suppose you have any available complimentary upgrades?” We both began to chuckle as she saw the $20 and recognized my pitch immediately. She laughed and explained that she appreciates a tip but she has to earn it first with excellent customer service. After a few minutes of looking she informed me that she had a room available in the newer Augustus Tower for no extra charge.
When I looked online and compared the rates, it was a retail upgrade worth about $200. Score!
A little later I grabbed some dinner with my friends Sam Rusani, Brian Evans, and Josh Rodriguez. It was nice to catch up since I missed ASE 6 months earlier and its been about a year since seeing these crazy guys in person. After dinner a few of us swung over to the Palms Place where Gabe Cano who I met last year at a roulette table (Networking Can Happen Anywhere!) and some friends had rented one of the awesome penthouse suites out. It was a pretty chill party and funny how many people I’ve been chatting with online showed up and I finally got to meet in person. On a side note, is there a single person from New Jersey that isn’t an affiliate?!? Thanks for the invite Gabe, Derek, & Dino, had a great time and shared some great conversation with all your friends.
Day 2 – Sunday
Being from the east coast I was 3 hours ahead of Vegas time. So when it was 3AM PST I was basically up for about 24 hours. Each time I go to Vegas my sleep schedule gets so messed up. I was only able to sleep for 3 hours before my body refused to stay under.
I made it back over to another penthouse suite at the Palms Place where David Ford from Aff Playbook had invited me to two mastermind events he was holding that day. One on consulting with him and Stephanie Hudson and another specifically focused on advanced affiliate marketing techniques. The consulting mastermind was slick, I think everyone in the room was really excited to see successful marketing consults and learn from their profitable exploits.
The affiliate mastermind after was a solid 6 hours of awesomeness. My mind was completely blown by the talk that CTR Tard rocked out on. If you missed out on this, hopefully next year they do another one and maybe it can compare to this one.
After the mastermind a bunch of us grabbed dinner at the Palms casino and along the way finally ran into this stud. Negbox (NSFW) and I had been chatting online for probably over 3 years now and keep hoping to run into each other. It was great to finally meet up with someone that you’ve been bouncing ideas off and texting useless crap to to for so long. It was great to see how far he had come in accomplishing his master plan (leaving his day job so that he could work twice as many hours working for himself….) um Brilliant!!
After that I hit up the Aff Playbook Meetup that was in the same suite. By the time I got up there the place was already packed. Got to awkwardly introduce myself to a few people, enjoy some drinks, and get to have the rematch of the year! Last year at this very meetup I met Jeremiah Cooper from Wolf Storm Media. We agreed we should play a friendly game of pool on the available table. This friendly game turned into a room wide embarrassment as I had more balls left on the table than there were women in the room. I know what you are thinking, this must’ve been a close game then (WAKA WAKA, Affiliate Joke!). Anyways after last year’s beating I met up with Coop to play again.
It was a hard fought battle and in the end I once again fell. The game was significantly closer this year as the only ball left was the 8 ball. Enjoy your victory WSM…it won’t happen next year!
I left with some friends to head over to the WAM Ads & FreshAds party at a swanky suite at the Palms. They had plenty of ladies around for eye candy and entertainment. They had some really great people there, I was getting introduced to guys from Bing & AOL. Thanks for the great party guys.
After returning to the hotel late, it was time to get some serious gambling going on. #17 was lucky for a bit. I hit a nice hand of $20 on it for a $700 payout.
Later in the night I stopped by the bar and hung out with Logan Thompson, Luke Kling, Travis Glenn, & Chris Guthrie for a bit. It was pretty awkward when a woman there began talking to us and her pickup line was that Trayvon Martin was her brother…yes…oh and Aliyah was her sister….awkward as hell.
Day 3 – Monday
I woke up Monday, after a solid 3.5 hours of sleep, and was in total aches and pains mode. I had a horrible sore throat and felt terrible. I thought it was from talking loudly at parties but as the day went on I realized I was coming down with some sickness.
I made it to the trade show floor this day. I enjoyed walking the floor, saying hi to companies I work with and some new friends. The show floor was good sized but seemed a lot smaller than last year when there was two floors of exhibitors (the room may have been bigger though, hard to remember). There were a few really cool booths as usual and some definite duds there. I’m always reminded as I talk to exhibitors how exhausting it can be just standing there all day, a very unpleasant grind.
After the trade show I stopped by the Adsimilis meetup. They had a wide spread of food, open bar, amazing staff, amazing pubs, amazing time. Thanks again for the meetup Adsimilis team!
For dinner that night a bunch of us grabbed dinner at the new Gordon Ramsey restaurant at Caesars called Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill. The food was delicious and the company was great. It was funny that everyone at the table was taking pictures of their food and one of our international friends was completely like “what the hell are you guys doing?”.
After dinner I was still feeling so crappy from my oncoming sickness that I skipped out on the party scene for the night and just went back to the room for an early night and to do some work.
Day 4 – Tuesday
Tuesday I got up and felt sick still. Before coming to the show I also saw there was the annual Shot Show in Vegas on this day. Fortunately for me at my day job we have a federal firearms license that is needed to get into a show like this.
The Shot Show was HUUUUGE. It had to be like 10 times the size of Affiliate Summit. It was really cool to visit the whole gun industry and learn a bit about it.
I then ended up making it back to Caesars in time for the closing keynote of Affiliate Summit. It was by Tim Ash, and I gotta say, it was awesome!
That night I just went by myself to see the Zarkana Cirque Du Soleil show. It was a really amazing show but I felt like I was a little mislead by the ads. They had this weird picture of a spider lady everywhere, so I thought the show was kind of a theatrical performance about her. Instead if was various short skits that led up to some ridiculous acrobatic routines of juggling, trapeze tightrope, etc. All the tricks were amazing and worth the price of the $100 ticket but it was just a different experience than I had anticipated. I’m really curious to go see some of the other shows now.
Later that night I met up with some co-workers from Massachusetts who also flew in to catch the shot show. The next morning I left for home. I arrived back home and was greeted by a car covered by snow at the airport. Excellent. All in all it was an amazing trip and I really enjoyed meeting everyone and seeing everyone again. Thanks to everyone who was kind enough to share advice on some future projects I am working on, see you all in Philly?
Best Badge Of The Year Award
Haha I had to add a little shout out here to my buddy Tim who came all the way from Sweden to attend the Summit. We got to laugh at all his awesomeness from his awkwardly named tobacco to his hilarious name badge. He is obviously a boss balla!
* The barman never actually said any of that. I just wanted to force readers to read the entire post to get to this bottom notation.