dawudandliz.jpgLiz had been telling me (that’s she and I on the right) for weeks that SOBCon07 (link to pictures) was going to be a different kind of conference. How? She kept telling me that we were going to take the comment box to the conference room.

Boy, did that ever happen.

From when I arrived on Friday to meet my friend Adam Kayce to talking WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen til 1:30am Sunday morning, the conference was really one, large conversation. It was incredible, amazing, remarkable. So remarkable that while I’d like to share with you all my experiences I’m sure I’m unable too.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t share with you the incredible relationships I built and deepened.

First off, Christine Kane was amazing Friday night. Her voice, her guitar playing, her use of story – I loved it. If you don’t know Christine’s music, you have to check it out. Or at least watch her videos. And if she’s coming to you town, you have to see her perform live.

After talking a number of times to him on the phone, it was finally great to meet Mike Sansane. He’s a great guy and an even better hugger. And the presentation he did with Drew McLellan and Mike Wagner on ways to improve our blogs was stellar.

dawudandwendy.jpgThere were a few people I was specifically looking forward to meeting. So when Wendy Piersall (and me in the photo) hopped in on Friday night there was nothing I could than jump out of my seat and wrap her in a huge bear hug. Her presentation was dynamic. If you’re going to BlogHer, she’ll be speaking.

I finally got to meet Chris Brown. We’ve been sharing on our blogs back and forth for months. And Robert Hruzek, who recently replaced his blue shark with a real photo of himself. Oddly, he left my 1000th comment.

On Friday night Connie Reece was keeping us all updated on the fashion coordination between Drew and David Armano. Seems that Drew was looking for pink pasley. Connie was rewarded with drawing Tim Johnson as her blogging buddy. Tim and I had a great conversation around being wierd.

If you’re blogging, you probably know Make It Great’s Phil Gerbyshak – the guy with the best smile in the blogosphere. He is every bit as sweet in person. He’s electric…no other way to say it. His presence is contagious. I feel fortunate that I’m his blogging buddy.

So many other people I met. I found out the spelling of Troy Worman’s name was misspelled a few hundred years ago and has stuck ever since. It was great hearing Director Tom talk video with Ben Yoskovitz. Spending time with Jesse Peterson, Mark Goodyear, Alex Shalman and Lisa Gates was a blast. As was my running comment joke with Jonathan-C Phillips – which continues.

Meeting Word Of Mouth Marketing author, Andy Sernovitz was a highlight for me – since much my marketing tends to be word of mouth. I highly recommend his book.

I finally got to meet Ben Yoskovitz – whose blog I read daily (and whose birthday was Monday) – and Peter Flaschner and Lucia Mancuso from The Blog Studio. I’m a big fan of their work. You have to check out their Beginner Blog Basics series.

dawudandarmano.jpgMy friend Dave Schoof, who couldn’t make it, asked me what my favorite presentation was. They were all great. And I really enjoyed David Armano – twice (three times if you count the photo to the right). Once, speaking about Conversation by Design. The second time was his, Liz’s – and the group’s – critique of this very blog. Very helpful. Thanks David, Liz and everyone’s feedback. And watch for changes in the coming weeks.

A few of us work-at-home dads were there together. Easton Ellsworth – who did a nice brain dump during the event, Mark Goodyear, and Tony D. Clark. It took us til late on Saturday night, but Tony and I finally got to talk shop a bit.

Then there’s Lorelle…yeah, that Lorelle. We talked WordPress until the wee hours of the Sunday morning. She’s great (and knows a ton). Not to mention, she’s a sweetheart.

Had some other great talks with Mr Geek With Laptop himself, Sean Rox and Franke James. Sean, thanks for the tips on my site. And Franke, thanks for being a great listener and for offering your help. I just found Franke’s second blog – Office Politics – it’s a great read.

dawudandthecrees.jpgWhen I think about it, I spoke the most with the Crees (here we are togther). Chris and Lisa. Chris Cree you probably know. Lisa you should. They’re both quite lovely people. And they both worked tirelessly on the event. If we didn’t live 900 miles apart, I could see my wife and I having them over for dinner quite often.

Of all the remarkable moments during the event, the most selective had to be Terry Starbucker singing a little Elton John to close the show. The position of master of ceremonies fit him really well.

Gosh, there’s so many more people I met. Like PurpleWren, Barry Zweibel, Joe Hauckes and my new blogging buddy Kammie Kobyleski (hi Kammie).

Then there’s the folks I really wanted to meet and speak with but couldn’t get enough time too. People like Steve Farber, Kurt Blumberg, Muhammad Saleem, Vernon Lun, Rick Cockrum and Dr. Tammy Lenski. The truth is, there wasn’t enough time to meet everyone. So I could go on just keep naming people.

If you couldn’t be there, don’t fret. There are plenty of photos floating around. And Jason Alba took an amazing set of notes on many of the sessions.

But if you were there, drop me a line and say, “hi,” because I miss each of you already.

Reader Interactions


  1. Adam Kayce : Monk At Work says

    Great post, Dawud; I miss everyone already. I’m bummed that I forgot my camera at home, too!

    I absolutely loved and resonated with David Armano’s talk as well, and yet there wasn’t a one that didn’t spark some insight, idea, or inspiration for me. I think I took more notes here than in my third year of college.

    And, for posterity’s sake… Tandoor!

  2. Robert Hruzek says

    Dawud, it was a pleasure to meet you and all the folks! I can’t remember when I’ve had a better time with a bunch of people I’ve never actually met in person!

    Here’s to next year!

  3. Connie Reece says

    You are so photogenic, Dawud! Super photos. Great overview of SOBCon. It was a truly remarkable conference, and like you, I miss everybody already. But aren’t we fortunate to have great blogging buddies? I drew Timothy Johnson’s name, and Derrick Sorles drew mine. Derrick is already ribbing me about being sentenced to spend 20 years to life as my blogging pal. 🙂

  4. Phil Gerbyshak says

    Dawud – you are an amazing guy. You keep the conversation alive in so many ways, I’m honored to call you friend.

    I’m already missing folks at SOBCon too, and thinking about how I share this experience with others in a meaningful way so somehow they can understand it.

    Thanks for the nifty recap. I think you managed to say hi to almost everybody, just like you did Friday and Saturday. You’re amazing!

  5. Rick Cockrum says

    I appreciate the mention, Dawud, and I was there in spirit, but you missed me because I wasn’t there physically. I’ve been making up for it since the end of SOBCon.

  6. Char says

    I am enjoying all of the post-event posts! Keep ’em coming! I am so glad to hear that my favorite bloggers are even more wonderful in person than they are online.

    Next time I won’t even dare miss it.

  7. Mark Goodyear says

    Dawud, you are one cool dude. I wish I had caught wind of the WordPress discussion. I’m still a little new and I think it would have helped me a lot.

    Interesting that you thought I was a work at home dad. I work at home a lot, but my day job is to edit for a non-profit foundation–two websites, but also books and all sorts of random stuff.

    More and more, my day job is becoming about how to mobilize social media for non-profit work.

    But I love working with my kids the mostest.

  8. Tony D. Clark says

    It was so great to meet you in person, Dawud. We have a lot in common, and it was very cool talking about the parallels in our lives.

    And I’m with Adam — Tandoor rocked!

  9. Tammy says

    Dawud, I was so looking forward to meeting and chatting with you too! I guess we’ll both have to be sure to continue the conversation online and then find the opportunity at SOBCon 08…

  10. Liz Strauss says

    How nice it was to dream with you before we went . . . while we were mired in piles of details. You were a most charming and sweet distration. Thank you.

  11. Kammie says


    You truely are a miracle!

    I’m so glad we got to hang and have dinner at the Tandoor…it was yum and way FUN…hope you’ll take advantage of pulling my card outta the bowl and drop me some e-love frequently.

    I’m always up for brainstorms if you’re ever in need of a partner…just holla!

    I heart you:)


  12. Dawud Miracle says


    Thanks Connie. It was great to see you, too. What was your favorite moment(s) from SOBCon?


    Thanks, man. It was a joy to meet you as well. I’m just happy you were there. Where do you live, btw?


    My long-time friend…the Indian food was amazing. I thought I took more photos but only found 10 or so on my camera when I got home. Oh well, more next time.

  13. Dawud Miracle says


    See…all the more reason we didn’t meet. Hard to meet the folks that weren’t there. Next time for sure. Going to any more conferences this year?


    I’m sad you weren’t there. I’m looking forward to meeting you – and Gayla and Ponn and Ed. Some time, perhaps. Really, everyone was incredible. I love this group. Anything specific you’d like details about?


    You got it, my friend. It really was a joy. Sad you couldn’t come last minute. But I know that how things go sometimes.


    I know, it was incredible to hang out with people I’ve never met, yet feel like they were old friends. It was great putting a face with your blue shark. Next time, let’s sit down and chat a bit more.

  14. Dawud Miracle says


    Great talk – thanks. I’d love to chat more about being dads…and about design work. Really great to finally meet you. Are you traveling any more this year?


    Yeah, thanks. If it wasn’t for the elevator, that might not have happened. Hope your weekend was a blast. Let me know if you’re ever in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area.


    It’s funny…a few times I set my sights on meeting you, someone would always ‘get in the way.’ Not a bad thing because I loved everyone I met. Yet I do look forward to finally meeting you soon. And please, drop by any time, or contact me, for anything.

  15. Dawud Miracle says


    I can’t even tell you what you’ve added to my life. Just know I’m happy to call you a friend. Where I may be charming, you are lovely without a doubt.

  16. Dawud Miracle says


    Right back atcha…really. I loved not only meeting you, but watching you with others. It was like looking in a mirror to some degree.

    Seems like we’re cut from the same cloth. And I’m honored to call you my friend.


    What can I say…you are such a delight. I’m certainly happy Adam dragged you along to dinner. Thanks for great talks. And now that we’re blogging buddies, we can have more of them. I will be calling you sometime soon…


    When I saw you name tag on Friday night I perked up. It was cool that I could recognize you from the comments you’ve made on my blog personal publishing system.

    I loved your stories – especially the one about why you have a photo of yourself with your kids on your blog. I’m still chuckling. (for those reading this who were not at SOBCon, Mark said that copy editors are hated by writers so he chose to put the photo of him with is kids so that he’s seem more human and perhaps not take such abuse. Trust me, it was much funnier in the delivery.)

    We need to do some work-at-home/daddy talk one of these days.

  17. Terry Starbucker says

    Gosh, the next SOBCon couldn’t come soon enough- after reading your summary I realize that while we got to deepen many great relationships, there is so much more we can “mine” from each other (like that Word Press discussion ,for example!). You are a gem and I’m so glad to know you. And you were kind about my singing! 🙂

    All the best.

  18. Dawud Miracle says


    Funny thing, I was looking for you there. I know you weren’t coming, but it felt like you belonged there. You came to my mind many times. Odd, huh?

    Campaign away on SOBCon Scotland. I’ll help you get the word out and I’ll try to come.

    Do you do a blog meetup with the folks near you? That’s how SOBCon got started. I’m considering organizing a small meetup around me.


    Really, the pleasure in meeting was all mine. I loved learning a bit about who you are. Thanks for everything you brought to the event.

    And I’m in full agreement. We only begun to tap into the knowledge, talent and skills of the people in room. Perhaps a bunch of us should brainstorm how to bring more of that out next year.

    Your singing…it was pretty good. Question is, was it recorded???

  19. Dawud Miracle says


    NY is still a jaunt from Michigan, but, let me know. You never can tell where I might show up.


    Thanks David – either way on the contest. I’m just happy you think of me as a host. I’d like to think that dmiracle.com is developing into a large number of conversations that I simply host.

    I actually thought about getting involved in the Blogger’s Choice Awards but felt it was a bit premature for me. Besides, it might have taken me away from the conversation.

    If/when you go to the Friday morning meetup, let me know how it goes.

  20. Chris Brown says

    You’re great. I just love your write up of SOBCon with the photos. It brought back memories of last weekend.

    I’m meeting a friend next Tuesday for breakfast (Deborah Brown of Bizinformer.com) and going to try to give her my takeaways. Can you give me 3: one about the speakers, one about the folks in the room and one about having your website critqued? Thanks!!

  21. Dawud Miracle says


    Thanks. Takeaways. Boy there’s a bunch.

    Speakers: Read my post on David Armano’s talk.

    Folks in the room: The biggest thing I took away is how much bloggers really want to help each other. It’s genuine, sincere and oft-practiced.

    Site Critique: Two major things…First, be really clear on who you are, what you’re doing and who you do it for. In other words, branding. Second, Pay very close attention to what’s “above the fold.” Your most important content should be above the fold. There’s much more, but these are two major ones.

  22. Dawud Miracle says


    I agree Kent.

    I have a little secret about offering up my blog for critique…I’m going through both a change in business direction and I’m in the process of beginning a redesign of my site. So it wasn’t as hard as it might seem.

    Also, having been a designer for 10 years, I’m used to people not liking the work I do. Clients can sometimes be down right nasty in telling you what they think of proposed designs. That’s part of the reason I was chosen.

  23. Chris Cree says

    Dawud, Gorgeous and I had a blast just hanging out being ourselves with you. You are definitely one of those “comfortable” people. And it is obvious from your passion that you totally get the relationship part of business. Thanks for being you. 🙂

  24. Jesse Petersen says


    That’s a great write-up of the conference. I really liked our couple of minutes to chat. I’d love to spend hours with you if we made it into a whole weekend. I’ve always been more of the computer geek than the publisher, so I really connect with the core designers and techies like you and Mike Rhode.

    I think we should all start a bloggy-hippie colony. I suppose it should be in Iowa to save half of the people who attended from moving too far. Then again, there’s always Tampa…come on in, the water’s fine.

  25. Dawud Miracle says


    She really is Gorgeous, isn’t she? As much from her heart as from her outer beauty.

    I loved spending time with both of you, too. I’m sure we’ll get to play sometime. And who knows, I may pack up the kids one of these days and head to Georgia.

    Thanks for everything you both did in pulling off SOBCon. I’ll keep you updated on the coming changes up here.


    Iowa’s fine, but the winters aren’t any better than Michigan. If I’m moving, I’m moving to a more agreeable climate.

    It’d be great to talk sometime. Conversation and relationship is why I’m blogging in the first place. And it’s amazing that I could meet so many incredible people from a little website.


  1. […] I had an amazing weekend at SOBCon07 in Chicago over the weekend. My write up will come next. But first, I want to send out some link love and a whole bunch of huge, bear hugs to every person who was there. Each of you inspired me to be a better blogger personal publisher, and a better person. I’m truly in awe of each of you. Thank you for your sharing, your honesty, your beauty and our new friendship… […]

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