I just got back early in the morning from San Francisco and Udemy Live 2017, and thought I can drop some thoughts on my experience while they’re still fresh.
I arrived in SFO on the Thursday, and had a few good things happen. First, my hotel was ready for me at 10am so I was able to check in and get settled pretty much as soon as I arrived. I stayed at the Palace again, and it’s a “nice hotel” with a “nice hotel price”. I mean, it’s really expensive but I couldn’t find an alternative that was close to where I wanted to be. But got there and got checked in. The hotel was great.
Later that day, I met up with Sarah Cordiner and we went over to see some of our Udemy friends at their Airbnb. We had a nice dinner and some drinks, and it was nice to hang out and chat for a few hours there.
Friday was when things got serious. Met up with some folks at a bar, and then headed over to Udemy HQ. Got to meet the Udemy for Business folks, and got a good sense of their excitement in building that business. Got some cool UFB socks.
Then it was downstairs to meet the larger Udemy team. I felt rushed because I had to leave early for another Udemy event, so this meet and greet went by quickly. Got to see the new Udemy CEO for the first time, and talk to some old friends.
Then I had to rush off to dinner with some fellow instructors. Great chance to sit with Phil Ebiner and his wife, and we got a chance to have a long chat. The steak was good too, as were the views.
Saturday, the conference started in earnest. Up early, before 7am, to shower and rush downstairs. I wanted to be there super early, and probably got in the door around 7:10am. Good thing I did, as I was able to sign up to a few one-on-one sessions with Udemy staff to talk specifically about my business and my courses. That was a great idea, and was so glad to catch that.
Now I found, like last year, it was tough to decide which sessions to attend. I wished I could go to them all. Could we turn the event into 3 days? I guess not. But I really missed a few sessions I wish I attended.
So what were the best sessions? Hard to say. The session led by Udemy on “Global Expansion” really stuck with me. I came away thinking about more I can do to make my courses available worldwide. I got to see Mimi G, and she’s got a great brand and a great presentation style. There was a lot to take in.
The Gala event was good, but felt shorter than last year. Maybe it’s just a trick of time.
Afterwords at the bar, I got into a discussion with a Udemy person about marketing. I didn’t have a sip of anything, didn’t even get near the bar itself. I was so taken in with a discussion on marketing courses, that the time just few by and before I knew it it was 1am. Another illusion of time. How did 6pm turn into 1am without feeling like 7 hours?
Sunday’s session was interesting. Watched the closing keynote by Danielle LaPorte. Now I’ve heard of her, but was not really aware of her style or message. It’s fair to say that there were things she said that didn’t resonate with me (something about chakras), but I found her to be brutally honest on stage. She talked about her struggles in business – not from a “slept on a couch and now I’m rich” way that many internet gurus wear like a badge of honor – but she still has struggles even today. She came across as sharing all and not selling.
She’s a creative person and she was trapped running a business and far away from feeling creative. That I get.
I believe in listening to all people from all walks of life. I will listen to a hard core internet marketer, and then listen to someone talking about chakras and opening yourself up to the universe. If you only are open to receiving one message, you’ll be missing out on a lot of truths and buying into a lot of lies.
Was the conference worth it? A strong YES! Yes, I am glad I went and yes I will go again next year. Sign me up.
Was the conference perfect? I mean, there were times I was sitting in a session and wished I had chosen something else. There were a ton of people I wanted to spend even 10 minutes chatting for a bit, but time just flew by. (Plus they were quite busy making sure the event was going off as planned.) On the whole the sessions were great. I went for the people, and made maximum advantage of meeting new and interesting people, and getting ideas to grow my business.