The Other Side of Search is Found

Speaking to a pair of packed sessions at sold-out SMX Advanced in Seattle, I took time to look out into the audience and measure attendees’ eyes. After all…you savvy wordsmiths, demographic research artists, technicians, agencies, account reps’, geeks, evangelists, administrators, parent-workers, presidents, marketing directors, CMOs, brothers and sisters are totally my people …right in the wheelhouse baby. Bring it!

Looking around the gorgeous auditorium and inspired by the stunning Pacific ocean backdrop, I noted your attitudes, attire, mannerisms and powerful group-aura. Honestly, ya’ll are the most beautiful people in the world, a rainbow of eclectic professional diversity and intellectual prowess. Joy!


I can’t even express how perfectly exhilarating it is to consume twit-stream chatter amongst dozens of respected community members, discussing, debating, following, leading, quoting and sharing my thoughts and words real-time amongst tens of thousands. It’s a complete professional privilege to be perceived as any kind of starting place or reflector, for ideas that take on lives of their own.

Thank You For That
I sat in freakin’ awe watching SMX Advanced Twitter-waves ripple through the known search universe. I just want to say thank you for that. The feeling is as good or better than having a hit record. Having treasured clients in Seattle who came from around the country, in part to connect with AIMCLEAR, made Advanced so satisfying. To AIMCLEAR‘s awesome clients–thank you for that (you know who you are).

Hashtag wisdom is the new black. SEO is dead. Long live SEO.

Perspective On Wing
I write at 34,000 feet, fully disconnected from the grid and alone with my thoughts. At SEATAC waiting for flights to rejoin family and AIMCLEAR team (Hat tip to Matt, Manny, Merry, Marc, Nam and Laura), I noted a tiny, unexpected and completely precious feeling, one rarely felt: living in the moment …actually living in the moment. Joy!

photo credit: Qfamily

No matter where you touch my life, personal, professional or hybrid, thank you so much. I find it deliciously ironic that our industry came to be called “search.” 🙂 SMX Advanced left me feeling found, effervescent, alive and ever-so-grateful.

Coming down from mighty lymphoma haze in spring of 2006, I recall wondering what elements of my life I wanted to rebuild from chemo- radioactive devastation, to keep my feet on the ground, to be a better man, professional, father, life-partner. I pledged to remember that living well is essentially about embracing things truly important and peacefully letting others go.

At that time I had worked in Internet marketing for the better part of a decade. Then by way of an article in USAToday about Danny Sullivan, I found our community just as it went mainstream in 2006. When I attended SES Chicago that December to see Chris Elwell’s Agency Business and Chris Sherman’s social media tracks my mind was totally blown. I found it unbelievable that so many people all spoke the same language as me. That was 20 search conferences ago.

photo credit: ArtBrom

Cancer kind of brings ya’ around to purposeful perspective.  Search has become my personal island, stimulating to nearly every creative, intellectual and emotional instinct in my body. Our industry’s happily twisted combination of science and witchcraft is unique in the history of human communication. Some days we’re anthropologists, computer scientists, rack jobbers, Tin Pan Ally lyricists, analyst, thought leaders or journalists. Search is rarely boring. Dude and I so love my job.

Since search marketers are undisputed stewards of early-adoption connection-tools so (of course), we’re marvelously deep-linked to each other. I meet someone physically I’ve known forever online, at every search event attended. As colleagues, teachers and students, so many of us have found personal and professional perspective, in shared commitment to excellence and friendship, to bring our employers and clients best practices.

Industry insiders call our marketing sector “search,” which takes a nearly romantic tone. We grew from the geeky very-early-90’s cult of BBS, IRC, newsgroups and nascent webs. The modern “search” category has come to imply all things SEM (SEO, Paid, SMO, ORM, PR, DR, etc…).

Waxing nostalgic, it’s easy to see our vocation as a poignant life-analogy in craftsmanship, community and overcoming adversity. We help people find things by making them more discoverable. In search, I’ve found myself. Together we make our living, grow companies, provide for our families, see the world and thrive. Thank you so much for that. The other side of search is found.

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