BlueGlassLA Goes Full Circle & Drops Knowledge

When it comes to conferences let’s just say I’ve been to a few. Okay maybe more than a few…maybe more like a lot. Okay fine! I admit it…I’m a conference junkie.  I can’t help it, somewhere between too much coffee, a few too many cocktails, and a lot of handshaking I find myself completely elated to be in this industry…with all of you.

{Enter BlueGlassLA.}

This past week I have been in Los Angeles (huge thank you to Rand—my boss for allowing me to work from coffee shops and enjoy the Southern California sunshine), for the first ever BlueGlassLA conference. For those of you (clearly living under a rock) and not sure what BlueGlass is, you can read all about the merger here, and quickly understand why I was excited for this one.

After tweeting out I was attending a few weeks back I got a DM from someone—who I will not publically embarrass at this time—and it said, “seriously what could possibly be special about this one, it will be the same old stuff.” My reply was, “just you watch, this one will be special.”

{Pats self on back for being right}.

BlueGlassLA didn’t just attract a top-notch speaker lineup, but it filled the room with people that are making waves in our industry. I was literally shocked to see all of those faces in one room, and even more shocked to see them all meeting each other, hitting it off, trading biz cards, clinking glasses. I mean wow…just…wow.

Okay this post isn’t meant to make you feel bad about missing BlueGlassLA (although it may not have been your best decision ever) instead I wanted to highlight something original that BlueGlassLA reminded me of…

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

What the hell am I talking about? BlueGlassLA set out to change up the conference agenda. You can tell by scoping out the schedule they wanted to capture the full cycle of Internet marketing, from the very beginning (seeking out investment) to the middle chaos (trying to build a community and harness attention) to the end challenges (increasing traffic, making money, optimizing the pieces).

While I have always been aware that you needed each piece to perform for success, I think somewhere along the way I forgot that it’s not about having each piece do well, it’s about having them intersect and do AMAZINGLY well.

The BlueGlassLA speakers each spoke to their successes, their failures, and everything in between but perhaps even more importantly, in my opinion, is that they all alluded to this idea of reaching out to your network for help in the areas you don’t know. In doing this, you are able to make sure that no piece is overlooked, or half-assed.

Even the moderators and BlueGlass employees themselves touched on this as they complimented each other (in typical sarcastic, smart-ass ways) on how well they each know their piece of the Internet marketing pie. By surrounding yourself with people that are the best at what they do, you start to see a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

I felt like this whole damn conference exuded this tenet, and I was privileged to sit in the audience. I think in many ways the conference audience became an extension of the knowledge on stage…again demonstrating the power of smart people eager to learn more.

Too often at conferences there are “tracks” of topics, and I go about my paid search, SEO, and social panels. While I get to see friends, and hear about a new site or tool to check out, I rarely walk away thinking “Jesus that just blew my mind.”

By tearing down the walls between the different parts of Internet marketing and filling in some, too often overlooked, holes, I think this conference reminded me just how little I know. For those of you who know me well, you know that I value few things more than “knowledge” and “exposure to new ideas.” They keep us humble, and stretching, and motivated.

While I could have written about my experience at BlueGlassLA in a few different ways, I felt the need to really reiterate—what I believe—to be BlueGlassLA’s biggest achievement—the way in which they took a bunch of really smart Internet marketers and reminded us just how much more we have to learn.

For that I think the audience walked away from the conference a little more excited to “get after it,” and that is freaking priceless.

Did you mess up by not attending? Yeah. You. Did.

Luckily for you, and for me, it looks like they are going to be putting on another one later this year in New York. See you there? I’ll be up front eating my piece of humble pie.

  • Dana Lookadoo

    I’m glad I was honored to share some humble pie with you and be stretched and motivated!

    Agreed, it was amazing to be part of such a brain trust, all in one room! Nice summary.

    For those who missed it, Joanna’s right. You missed out… Have any idea of dates of that NY event?

  • Scott Skurnick

    It was so refreshing to go to a small conference with only one track. I told Chris that he better not let the success go to his head and change the format. This was an absolutely wonderful event and am already looking forward to next year.

  • joanna

    Hey Dana! So great to see you this week ;)

    Not sure on the dates yet, but Chris alluded to a Q4 conference in NY in an article he did with MediaPost. Needless to say, Ill see you there ;)

  • Michael Martin

    Was mobile touched on much or at all?

  • Annie Cushing

    Seriously, what a great conference writeup. I can only imagine the conference that dream team pulled together. But if they pull together one for NYC, I just might have to pull out all the stops.

    (Oh, and great writing style, btw. There aren’t many people who can pull off winsome like that.)

  • joanna

    Hey Mike! Yeah a lot of the panelists talked about what they have been seeing on the mobile side of each channel. There was a continuous attention to it throughout the conference :)

  • Michael Martin

    Sweet, I like the one track setup & collection of the best speakers in the circuit.

    Well run by Tony Adam & the BlueGlass team.

    Being in San Diego I tend to avoid LA like the plague ;)

  • joanna

    Annie…would that mean that we would actually meet in real life? {world explodes}.

    That would be awesome lady :) …and thank you for the kind words, I’m excited to jump back on the writing train…I’ve missed the ride.

  • David Szetela

    All true – and well-said, as usual!

  • Roy Morejon

    Hate to have missed this conference, as it looked like a great event with many of the best marketing minds in the biz in attendance. Great writeup Joanna!

  • Greg Gortz

    JL – couldn’t have put it better myself.

    Pound for pound, this conference was fantastic. One thing I loved, it was two days only. Not a drawn out three day event. Packed a lot into two days!

  • Greg Shuey


    Great post! I am so kicking myself for not attending this year. wouldn’t send us since we just went to SMX, but I should have just bought my own ticket and went anyway.

    I am glad to hear that they are considering another in NY, that would be totally kick ass!

  • Loren Baker

    Thanks so much Joanna for attending BlueGlass LA : I hope you enjoyed our stories and tactics … and even tales of failures :)

  • joanna

    Loren–seriously so glad I made it down for this one! Already looking forward to the next one :)

    Greg S.–we have all been there, I remember I bought my own ticket to my first PubCon a few years ago…so worth it. Hope to see you in NY!

    Greg G. — Great seeing you :) and TOTALLY agree about the two versus three day piece of it all.

    Roy–Glad you liked it!

    David–I’m just fine tuning my writing skills so I may one day be a published author like yourself ;)

  • Tony Adam


    Awesome write up about the conference and was happy to see you attending BlueGlass LA. It will definitely be a memory that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, because of the amazing attendees…just like you. :)

  • joanna

    Ahhhh shucks {blushes}. It was great seeing you in LA Tony, and seriously…thanks for all your hard work on the conference. It was absolutely vital to the success that was found. :)

  • Gina Gotthilf

    Joanna -

    Thank you for the amazing review! We couldn’t have written it better ourselves. It was a pleasure having you there and we hope to see you in NYC. I hope we get to talk there, I was way too busy hosting to network enough with other pieces of the humble pie!

    - Gina

  • Annie Cushing

    LOL. I think the world might just tilt on its axis when we finally meet irl. Can’t wait to make that happen. :)

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  • Kristy Bolsinger

    GREAT write up! Surely wish I could have been there. I’m listening very closely to hear about the next BlueGlass. I’ll hitch hike if I have to :)

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  • Richard Swart

    Fantastic summary Joanna. As someone fairly new to the internet marketing world, it was amazing to see the life cycle laid out, and also to have the chance to really talk to the other attendees. Ideas and creative juices were flowing!

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