Part 2: The People (don’t look up)
I checked out some financial bloggers before going, and, quite honestly, didn’t know what to expect. I pictured a mix of over-hyped 20-something along with some cold, calculating businessmen thrown in for a good measure. Being an introvert, I was scared of putting myself out there and getting lost in financial and blogging lingo I wouldn’t understand.
Well, I was wrong all alone.
There were plenty of 20-something, but they were not over-hyped. There were also plenty of big business names, but they weren’t cold or calculating. Many a time, they were the same people, very helpful, friendly, and down to earth. Everyone was approachable, and no one had a problem sharing information. One guy led me around the hall to try and find someone he thought I should talk to. And while there were plenty of twenty-something, there were also old-er guys just like me. Gary from The Dollar Stretcher has been running his blog (even before it was called a blog, I guess) since 1996–my goodness, isn’t that when clickable internet was born?
The reason why I went to FinCon13 in the first place was two-fold: to make some connections (and get more writing gigs), and to learn how to run my own blog, so it didn’t look like I’m in the 5th grade. I ended up with more than I bargained for–having a lot of fun, as well. FinCon13 was easily the most entertaining conference I’ve ever been to. There was a sing-and-dance number at the Plutus Award ceremony by Kevin McKee (someone please tell me where I can find the video). That performance led me to check him out some more, and find his Reward Booster tool. I didn’t have a chance to play with it yet, but as someone who lives and breezes that stuff, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of that before. I find it a very cool idea. Now why couldn’t I have thought of something like that! Arghhh!
There was one thing I found amusing, though. Almost no one spoke my language. Using credit cards for free travel did not interest them at all! That was something I didn’t expect. In my imagination, a financial blogger was someone who knew more than I did about using credit cards for profit. I mean, if you teach people how to save $10 here and $30 there, why not teach them how to save $100s and $1,000s on travel or free stuff, right?
Well, then I began thinking (I do that sometimes), and it just occurred to me that this was not exactly my choir. These are the folks who have dedicated themselves to teaching others how to live a well-balanced financial life. Playing games with credit cards is not their thing. Even with all the safeguards in place, it’s still dangerous for some folks, so I can see how they would be cautious. I remembered myself 10 years ago, how scared and skeptical I was when I read about that stuff, and the chips fell into the place. Oh well…
Still, I met a lot of cool people, both from the blogging community and the business side–read, sponsors. I met George from Travel Blogger Buzz and liked him immediately (well, us both being travel junkies didn’t hurt). George is a very interesting blogger, unique even. I call him the Blog Police, and we spent quite some time arguing about his, well, unorthodox views. I met Jason Steel, a very prolific writer. He was the guy who had actually told me about this conference in the first place (sorry, you didn’t win, buddy, I was rooting for you!). I met Paula who runs Afford Anything—great concept that resonates quite well with what I’m trying to do. I met Scott from Focused Intensity Couching. He’s an exact opposite of me and he hates credit cards, but he’s such a great guy that I didn’t hold it against him:).
I had a return ticket for Monday, so I was happy to join PT (Phillip Taylor from PT Money who organized the event) and his lovely family along with a few bloggers on Sunday Zoo trip. The Zoo is easily accessible via MetroLink and it’s fantastic! The grounds are beautiful; and it’s one of the very few US zoos that are free of charge, as well. A great finale to a great weekend!
And I managed to snap a few semi-decent pictures, as well.