When I received my invitation to attend last night’s Swagapalooza event in Chicago I had visions of a bountiful catch. The concept is actually pretty cool: bring a bunch of bloggers together, feed them, water them, and then parade a series of entrepreneurs in front of them; the entrepreneurs pitch their products (or services) in the hopes of igniting some social media buzz and viral marketing. And in return, the bloggers get a Swag Bag filled with said products and other little (in this case, real little) tchotchkes. I joked about bringing a wheel barrow to the event so I could lug all my loot home. Sadly, none was needed.
The best entrepreneur of the night was FoundIt! I think the opportunity – particularly for losers like me (you really have to dig that pun) - to register my easily misplaced items (phone, keys, wallet) is brilliant. Some kind soul who picks up my Péle Lunchbox on the street can text the ID or go online and let me know they found it. Brilliant – and practical. I’m a fan.
Alas, it turns out the swag was sad: a bottle of fiber laced water, one serving of packaged vegetable puree, a box of old-school candy, a squeeze toy. I got a pretty cool book from the “keynote” speaker and a beer pong game (yes, beer pong) that will not collect dust. But that’s it. No shit.
A couple of parting comments for the Swagapalooza founder, organizers, and attending entrepreneurs. Take it for what it’s worth, but you kind of asked for it…
- Pick a venue that isn’t such a dump.
- If the very fiber of your being is Swag, then you better Swag with Swagger. Your offering amounted to a pittance. I’ll get 20 times as much just for showing up at the next HR Conference.
- My time is valuable. I know, I’m just a low-rent blogger; but there’s a lot of stuff I can do with my time and you stole two hours of it.
- If you’re asked to stand on stage and promote an idea, you better be freakin’ passionate about it. And learn some pretty fundamental presentation skills. There was very little inspiration emanating from that microphone last night.
- You should include a directory of all the bloggers who were in attendance – who they are, what their blogs are, and what they blog about…a bio even. I enjoyed meeting several of my fellow Chicago Bloggers (my new favorite is Mobile Cuisine Magazine by Richard Myrick), but certainly didn’t have the chance to meet you all. Said directory might have been the best Swag of the night…
Thanks for the invite, guys. And sorry to pooh-pooh your event. It’s a really good idea, but it needs some serious pollish.
Image Credit: Walt Stoneburner