Long Time Listener, First-Time Caller – My Dad 2.0 2016 Summit Recap

If you are an occasional reader of my humble blog you may have read that I was invited to speak at Dad 2.0. What you may not know is that this was also my first time to attend the 5th annual dad conference. I became acquainted with the conference through a Dad Blogger group on Facebook about 4 years ago. For a number of reasons, I was unable to attend the previous four installments of the conference. But, this was my year!

Before arriving at the hotel, I was lucky enough to share a shuttle provided by Kia from the airport. In fact, when I put out the call for some help in locating the shuttle, Jen Busfield was kind enough to help me out.

I was lucky enough to join Jen Busfeld (in glasses behind me) and the rest of the Kiddie crew on the Kia shuttle to the conference hotel.
I was lucky enough to join Jen Busfield (in glasses behind me) and the rest of the Kidde crew on the #KiaDad shuttle a sweet minivan to the conference hotel.

The conference is held in a different city each year. This year the summit was held in Washington, DC at the Mandarin Oriental.

A view out the window of my room at the Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC
An excellent view out the window of my room at the Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC. Jefferson Memorial on the Potomac River in the background.

The hotel was spectacular and the events about to unfold over the weekend even more so. 400+ Dads, the majority of whom maintain active blogs and social media accounts were descending on this event.

What I Liked Best About the Conference

There was tons to like about this conference. The thing I liked best about Dad 2.0 was connecting with other Dads that I had become acquainted Click To Tweet The thing I liked best about Dad 2.0 was connecting with other Dads that I had become acquainted with in the Dad Blogger group. We met in real life after years of sharing our ups and downs, frustrations and victories. And it was awesome! Really, really, awesome.

Spike Zelenka aka Double Trouble Daddy, was one of the very first dads I met up with when I arrived at the hotel. In fact, we were able to grab lunch, chat and pickup some other supplies for our stay. Great to meetup and get to know you better Spike! (Really wish that photo had turned out Spike!)

Scott Behson is another super cool dad. We chatted about all things book writing, book marketing and family. He was extremely generous with his time. Side note: I did a Dad Blogger interview on this blog with Scott back in 2013. This time we talked in person.

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Scott Behson and I meet.
Scott Behson and I grab a picture after I pick up a copy of his book “The Working Dad’s Survival Guide“.

Some Dads you just continually run into at a given conference… cosmic coincidence? Maybe… Drew Bennett and Larry Interrante we’re two such Dads (as well as 1st time attendees like myself) that I collectively spent a good amount of time in conversations.

There were HUNDREDS of other dads that I had conversations with as well. And this was the true genius of this conference. Many of these dads and I exchanged bro hugs or handshakes and chatted for a few minutes. I think that connection we had online translated well in real life and it’s something I will carry with me for a long time. A shared mission, solidarity, fully invested in being great dads, creating a legacy and expressing it.

Bourbon at Dad 2.0 2016, Because

Bourbon at Dad 2.0 Summit 2016
Bourbon at Dad 2.0 Summit 2016 with some of the Dads. Brandon to my left. (Image courtesy Dad 2.0/XY Media)
Bourbon at Dad 2.0 with a few more dads. Scott Behson, Spike Zelenka, Jeff Tepper and myself.
Bourbon at Dad 2.0 with a few more dads. Scott Behson, Spike Zelenka, Jeff Tepper and myself.

A really cool evening experience was the bourbon event. We got to eat some great food and sample a few different bourbons including bourbon in an Old Fashioned (liked) and a muddled mint julep (did not like). Add to that, conversation with some great Dads, including Brandon Billinger (The Rookie Dad), Scott Behson, Spike Zelenka (Double Trouble Daddy), Jeff Tepper (Dallas Dads Group) and it was a solid evening.

Speaking at Dad 2.0 2016

Speaking at Dad 2.0 was another first time experience. The panel “The Signal and the Noise: Standing Out From the Crowd” was a lot of fun and something I won’t forget. Moderator, John Kinnear (AskYourDad Blog) did a great job steering us in the right direction. The session was well attended and the audience had lots of great questions. I am grateful to Doug French for reaching out to me via Facebook and asking me to present on the panel. I am glad I got the chance to share my knowledge of SEO and experience as a marketer and a dad blogger to help other bloggers.

Favorite Sessions

The programming was top notch. Keynotes and Blogger Spotlights (selected dads reading favorite posts) were inspiring, heart wrenching and even tear jerkers. When does that ever happen at conference? Rarely. But, it did at Dad 2.0.

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Brad Metzler brought the house down with a keynote on legacy. It was a deep talk that’s given me a lot to think about.

The Roundtable Workshops really stood out for me, in particular:

  • Write for Others, And Stay True to You” with Aaron Gouveia (The Daddy Files) who is also a fellow Patriots fan, gave a great session. Reminding us that we have an audience and that we should write for that audience. This dovetailed with what I touched on in my panel. It was great to hear it again in other way.
  • Brand Relations” with Colby Shipwash (Days of Domestic Dad) was very helpful in getting better grounded on this topic. Colby’s wife chipped in quite a bit to add to the value of this roundtable workshop.
  • How to Pitch Brands” with Matt Schneider (City Dads Group) further grounded me in some ways to look at blogger/brand relationships.

DadSlam

And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention another favorite the DadSlam organized by John Kinnear (AskYourDad Blog). In the DadSlam, dads put their names in a hat to be drawn to read a blog post of their choosing to the assembled audience. Great to hear the many voices behind the blogs that I’ve read over the years and share my post with them. And also a realization: I still have a way to go in improving my writing.
The DadSlam reminded me a lot of the coffeehouse type experiences that I enjoyed while in community college. In a similar way, you signed up to participate in the coffeehouse reading poetry, performing music or, a short play.

Doug French, XY Media and all the people behind the scenes you should be mighty proud of yourself this is one hell of an event.

All in all, I am very glad that this “long-time listener” was able to finally “call in” to this show to attend and participate. I look forward to doing it again, next year in San Diego.

Rob Ainbinder

Rob is an SEO and Marketing strategist, creator, writer, entrepreneur, blogger, Dad and husband. He is also the author of “Mastering Google Keep”. In his spare time, Rob enjoys completing home improvement projects, crafting barbeque and cheering on the New England Patriots. Rob lives with his family (Wife, our teenage daughter, and dog Lilly) in Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem area of North Carolina.

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