PubCon: Post BBS Pioneers Take Over the World

They don’t talk about butterflies, candy ass theories and granola bars here. You get the impression that these used-to-be geeks are delightfully modest, after systematically bringing the known marketing-universe to its knees over the last 10 years.

Having sprung forth from IRC, NewsGroups, Pine, BBSs and nightly modem buzz–PubCon is all about science, social engineering, huge business, perpetual evolution and a driven sense of humor. Rock on geeks and phreaks…rock on!

It’s easy to appreciate a session in the next room that is explicitly about violating Google’s Terms of Services, with untraceable link-buying methods…seems as natural as pie to this crew.  Yet respect for the order and venerable system permeates the hallways and neuro-paths. It was strangely exhilarating to load my own deck onto the presentation laptop. Somehow it’s  soothing to have speakers share deep SEO code-chunked PowerPoint examples for hours.

Very little is more beautiful than a thousand+ webmasters in a room, intense, engaged, exchanging anecdotes and absolutes amongst the other  wicked smart kidz.  Jane Copeland is even finer to hear to in person than to read. John Andrews is streetwise scientist, master of intra-operative maneuvers and such a nice person.

Outside the Hard Rock Hotel last night, Stephan Spencer spun wonderful stories from his teenage years, about building a homemade BBS community over his parents’ phone line (to the their annoyance). Cool! This is total immersion here in Las Vegas. PubCon 2008 was a serious gas.

The duality of PubCon is complete respect for the user, you know the actual customers we serve, amongst the climbing machines. User experience is obviously paramount between these blue jean-business moguls, hacks and geeks.  I use those terms with complete reverence.

This week has helped me better appreciate the genesis and genius of SearchEngineWatch and SMX, the fine conference series’ AIMCLEAR cut its teeth on. Many faces familiar to to SMX and SES junkies are here too. They party even harder here.

The magnanimous Rand Fishkin, Andy Beal, Lee Odden (who thinks I’m from outerspace), Richard Zwicky, Michael Gray, Rae Hoffman, Todd Malicoat, Neil Patel, Jill Whalen, Bruce Clay, Greg Jarboe and dozens more pundits and luminaries. It’s easy to see how this industry all fits together once you attend PubCon.

I’m sitting at, what Brett Tabke, CEO Webmaster World calls, the “anchor of the conference, Search Engine Smackdown.” Google’s affable spam ambassador Matt Cutts is listening attentively to Nathan Buggla from Microsoft Live’s Webmaster tools. This session is fully indicative of the PubCon reality-the nerds have taken over the world, they’ve got vision, verve, heart incredible power and are entirely approachable.

This week AIMCLEAR also live-blogged 7 sessions for SEORoundTable and for that, we thank our friend Barry Schwartz. It was good to see so many industry friends, meet new folks and get to know you all better. I’m looking forward to getting back to Minnesota tomorrow to relax a bit before next week’s challenges.

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