The Business of Being a BlogHer
I have thought ill of you, my sisters.
Ever since the BlogHer conference in San Jose last summer I honestly questioned whether a large group of women could spend a weekend together without any crying or complaining or social politics--or whether it was simply our destiny as the fairer and arguably more insecure sex.
After that weekend, a quick perusal of the blogosphere indeed would have yielded a plethora of thoughtful posts on the value of the conference, lessons learned, connections made, pasties worn. But scattered among them was all this unnecessary whiiiiiining: Childless women upset about the clique of mommybloggers. Socialists upset at corporate sponsorship. Lesbians upset at finding condoms in their goodie bags. Plus various 8th grade-esque takes on this one snubbed me/ that one seemed fake /that other one didn't spend all night in my hotel room braiding my hair and agreeing to be my bff after which we raided the refrigerator and went to second base with our pillows.
Those of you considering attending BlogHer 07, please don't let this dissuade you. The weekend was utterly enjoyable and spectacular in every way. Certainly my complaints stem from a few bad (discontented, self-pitying, annoying as all sh*t) apples in an otherwise stellar crop of them, however it did leave an unpleasant pesticidal taste in my mouth. After all, would a man ever go to a tech conference - not summer camp, mind you, but a tech conference! - and complain that Guy Kawasaki and Anil Dash seemed all cliquey and my free t-shirt didn't fit and by the way, the gift bag had a sample of Drakkar Noir in it and for God's sake, are the organizers implying that I smell? Are they? ARE THEY?
Let me go out on a limb here and say mmmmm....no.
But this week, after two days spent at the BlogHer Business conference, my confidence is again renewed as I realized that there can in fact be an entire midtown hotel full of highly polished apples with nary a rotten one in the bunch.
The parentingbloggers I really got to know and admire in large part shaped my experience. In particular: Rita who is a bona fide farm girl turned high-powered exec which only makes me want to go read all of her archives because you know there are great stories in there. Laura, one of my new favorite people and I don't just say this because she's Cool Mom Picks' newest rock star writer. Karen who is so gorgeous you literally cannot stop staring at her when she's in your presence (sorry Karen. I know I was staring). Kristin who makes you say right away, "oh, so that's why her blog was called Tall and Lucky. Bitch." Kristen, who had the best energy I've ever seen hands down, for a woman attached at the sling to a 6 week-old--plus she gave me a great "baby brewing" maternity tee which will come in super handy on the subway when my 8 month pregnant belly isn't enough of a hint that you, Mr. Healthy Middle-Aged Corporate Guy in a Suit should stand the hell up and give me your seat before I smear colostrum down your jacket sleeve when you're not looking.
Then there was blushing bride-to-be Mir who has probably still not forgiven Isabel and me for commanding her to go to dinner Thursday night somewhere she would have to spend more than $6, but dammit, she was in New York City, and the frugality was causing us physical pain. And of course the ridiculously popular Chris who was gracious enough never once to roll her eyes when I went on and on about my fears of having a second child, considering she herself has a half-dozen of them.
(Edited to add: Ack, Beth! How could I forget Beth! I have to blame this one on pregnancy brain, considering how hearing her take on the Left Coast got me more excited about the potential of moving there than simply thinking about earthquakes like I normally do.)
Finally there were the conference organizers, particularly Lisa Stone, who is one of the single most impressive businesspeople, with or without ovaries, that I have ever encountered. She's like one of those people who just never seems to get rattled, never seems uncomfortable in her skin, and if you didn't like her so much you'd have to hate her.
The speakers at the conference were motivating and compelling. The panels were fascinating - which says something considering that these days, I have the attention span of a 3 year-old watching McLaughlin Group on a 9" black and white portable. And the other attendees were an admirable mix of women (and a few of the menfolk) from websites, PR companies, small businesses, Fortune 500 companies and the media.
Overall, it felt like an honor to be a part of this amazing community of exceedingly diverse women who just want to achieve--or rather, continue achieving--great things all while helping one another to do the same.
Also? There were Chipwiches during the coffee break. And no less than 6 people who kindly pointed out in hushed tones the Chipwich crumbs all over my boobs after said break.
So you can imagine why this woman is madly in love with women again.
And this last sentence, from what I learned in one of the panels, is destined to bring me a whole lot of traffic. Even if it is from frat boys at 2 AM looking for...well, let's just say not a momblog.