Illustrated by David Flanagan
I’ve been attending, speaking at, and teaching workshops for the Mequoda Summit since 2007-ish. If you’re unfamiliar with Mequoda, it’s probably because you’re not a magazine, newspaper, or newsletter publisher. If you are, then you’re likely one of tens of thousands of publishing professionals who look to them for new research and guidance on what’s working in online publishing.
My marketing roots didn’t begin in publishing, but they certainly flourished once I got there, and I’ve been working intimately with publishers on their social media, SEO, design and email strategies ever since.
So, the Mequoda Summit is a guilty pleasure for me. Guilty because it’s fun, and because even I don’t think you should have that much fun at work. Or should you? And even after attending for several years, I’m still excitedly surprised at the quality of people who attend.
And, by quality, I’m not referring to the fact that David Zinczenko, Managing Editor of Men’s Health has come to hang out. Or even Steve Sachs, Executive VP, Consumer Marketing & Sales at Time Inc. I could name-drop all day about whom I’ve rubbed elbows (and emptied hotel minibars) with at the Summit.
What I’m referring to is how awesome these folks are. This isn’t your pretentious magazine conference. Regardless of who shows up (which isn’t only publishers, by the way) everyone is there for the same reason – to move his or her business forward.
Most conferences I’ve been to follow the same formula.
- Get your badge.
- Choose which topics and speakers you like best.
- Enter session you like.
- Speaker spouts off the same rehearsed presentation as he has at the last five conferences.
- Audience claps.
- Break for food.
The Summit is a little different, because it’s smaller and is reserved for decision-makers and their most passionate employees. While there’s always a speaker or presenter, there’s also more conversation going on from the seats than from the front of the room. Your butt never goes numb, and neither does your brain.
Basically, the Mequoda Summit is a giant open discussion where everyone shares their best strategies and their worst strategies. Everyone is open to learning what comes next, and nobody is afraid to ask the big questions. The environment is made so open and comfortable that everyone feels like they’re a part of the event. And, somehow, they keep it all together and on-topic at all the right times.
There’s no real way for us to truly capture this event in the way that it’s meant to be represented, but at the last Mequoda Summit we decided at the last minute to use our iPhones to put together this 60-second video in the hopes that we could give everyone at least a taste of the awesomeness that is the Mequoda Summit (and they didn’t pay me to say that or make the video, either). Enjoy!