September 20, 2007

Join Me At Blogworld Expo - An Interview with Rick Calvert

BW_JoinMe_135.gifOne of the truly nice guys in blogging is Rick Calvert. I first met Rick via an e-mail from him asking about advice for his blog The Real Ugly American. Now, I was pretty much a novice also so I don't know how much help I was, but Rick and I hit it off real well. When I was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, Rick was there in my corner, sending e-mails and checking on me from time to time, and for that I bless him. Recently, I asked Rick a few Questions about the up-coming Blog World Expo, which I intend to attend, (Las Vegas look out, here come GM) and at which, I hope to meet many of my friends the blog world over. (Note: Click on the BlogWorld Expo logo on the left and it will take you to their site.)

1. You started blogging with “The Real Ugly American” but recently, you are working quite hard to put on the BlogWorld Expo. Why a blog expo?

Well George as my Blogfather, you know you were one of the first “big” bloggers I ever contacted when I was a newbie. As The Real Ugly American started to grow I had all these questions. Again you know that because most of the time I would email you and about 10 other people asking you “how do I add this widget?” “how does site meter work?” “what is a trackback?” etc. Finally I had reached a point where I wanted to take my blog to the next level. I happen to have been producing major tradeshows for a living for the last ten years so naturally I thought “I should go to the blogging tradeshow”. That’s when I realized it didn’t exist and there were at least a million other people with the same questions I had.
2. There are trade shows all over the world, all the time. What makes Blogworld Expo different?
There isn’t another blogging tradeshow. At least not what I consider to be an industry wide tradeshow like the other events I have attended, exhibited at or produced. We want every blogger, vlogger, podcaster, internet radio and TV broadcaster in the world to think of BlogWorld as the place to go to find out what’s new in this industry, where to get the tips and education they need to create better content, increase their readership, and monetize their site.

3. You picked Las Vegas, Nevada for the venue. Why there?

Because Vegas is the number one tradeshow city in the world. It is the 2nd cheapest city in the country to fly in to, it has over 200,000 hotel rooms at every price range, more entertainment choices and restaurants than you could ever experience in a lifetime. People of course think of gambling when they think of Vegas but tradeshows actually bring in far more money to the city’s economy than gaming. They have three major convention centers at the LVCC, the Sands and Mandalay Bay each with over one million square feet of space. There are only a dozen cities in America with even one convention center that big. Not to mention Vegas has dozens of hotels with 100,000 square foot convention and conference centers.

4. The world of blogging has grown from a few thousand not so many years ago to several millions and more being added all the time. Why do you think this is so? And what impact do you think this will eventually have on the MSM?

Andrew Sullivan back in 2002 called blogging “a publishing revolution more profound than anything since the printing press” and he was right. When we announced the launch of the show back in November of 06 Technorati was tracking 57 million blogs, today there are well over 70 million. I tell all my blogger friends this revolution is just beginning. People like Sullivan may have been blogging in 2002, and guys like Dave Winer back in the 90s but most of the world had no idea this great content was out there. The MSM is just starting to get it now and the mainstream public is just starting to get it. This will be much much bigger than it is today and already every major newspaper, magazine, TV and Radio station is blogging. Not to mention vlogging and podcasting. We are in for a very fun and interesting ride.

Blogging empowers every day people to ask the questions MSM journalists never ask, to write opinions never expressed in MSM outlets and talk about topics that just don’t get MSM attention. It takes literally five minutes to start a blog and the moment you hit “Publish” more than a billion people can read it. That is a power that the common man has never had in all of human history.

5. You and I both were commenter’s at Marc Coopers blog and Marc is certainly one of the biggies. Will he be at Blogworld expo?

He is certainly invited and I hope he joins us. I love Marc’s blog.

6. Why should bloggers attend this show?

To learn how to make their blog better, to learn the tricks that the techy guys already know. How to use the latest widgets and plug ins, decide which publishing software is best for you, learn how to increase your readership, monetize your content if that’s your goal, influence more people if you want to advocate a political or social position, just meet your friends who you email every day and those guys like you that people look up to. We will have Rock star bloggers from just about every community. Political bloggers, business bloggers, Godbloggers, tech bloggers, mommy bloggers, milbloggers, pop culture bloggers, sports bloggers, diarists, every type of blogger you can imagine will be there. I just want to say I was there for the first one ever.

7. This is similar to question number one, but what gave you the idea to do this, and how long have you been working on it?

I wanted to go to this event. It didn’t exist and this is what I do for a living. I know I’m not the only person in the world who is geeked up about blogging. For all the reasons I mentioned above I want to go to BlogWorld and meet the people I admire and respect. It was last September that I first started thinking about it. I told a couple of my tradeshow friends including my partner Libby Durfee and as soon as they heard they idea they said “Lets launch that show today!”, then I set up a meeting with Hugh Hewitt who had linked to my blog several times and actually inspired me to start blogging. I know these guys at a really great PR company who had an associate who used to work for Hugh. She set up a lunch. He had no idea who I was. We sit down and he asks so what’s this all about?

I had to tell him to start that I was The Real Ugly American and I had called into his radio show several times an even interviewed him for my blog when he released his book “Painting the Map Red”. He was just a really nice guy and was familiar with my blog. Then I told him the idea and like everyone else he just looked kind of stunned for a moment and said “I’m in!” he was a huge help in the beginning introducing us to major bloggers and other potential exhibitors partners etc and still is a huge supporter of the show. Townhall has been a sponsor of the event since the very beginning.

8. Can you tell us about some of the exhibitors that will be there?

Sure. Yahoo, Feedburner, WordPress, Six Apart (Moveable Type, etc), Pajamas Media, Federated Media, b5 media, Truth Laid Bear, Shure, Sports Blogs Nation, Biola University, Blogger & Podcasters Magazine, Blog Talk Radio, Talk Shoe, Blurb, PRWeb, Blogsvertise, Newstex, PayPerPost, Campaigns & Elections Magazine, Fast Company Magazine and a lot more.

9. What about speakers and/or presentations?

Honestly it is going to be amazing. We will be announcing a big list of speakers soon but just a few names your readers will know, Hugh Hewitt, Dean Barnett, Mary Katherine Hamm, Lorie Byrd, Roger L. Simon, Glenn Reynolds, Jerome Armstrong, and I am really leaning on some other big progressive bloggers as well Glenn Greenwald, John Amato from Crooks and Liars, and one really big name I can’t mention until she is confirmed. There are at least a dozen more major political bloggers and that’s just the political guys. LaShawn Barber. We have huge tech and business bloggers like Om Malik, Dave Taylor, Charline Li, Maggie Fox, Andy Wibbels, the Chief Architect of, the Director of New Media communications from Kodak. The Milbloggers alone are worth the trip, Matt and Uncle Jimbo from Blackfive, Tim Boggs, Colonel Austin Bay, Michael Yon told me he would be happy to do a live feed from Iraq if we set it up. I am actually talking to Andi from Andi’s world who runs the milblog conference tomorrow to talk about other speakers. It is going to be an amazing mix of people. You can check out the sessions on our website at: Blog World Expo

10. Bloggers run the gamut from folks just writing about and for family members to hugely popular political blogs like Instapundit and Daily Cuss, I mean Kos to gadget blogs, blogs like BoingBoing and so very many others. Is Blogworld expo for everyone, or mainly the political bloggers?

Everyone. While political bloggers will have a big presence so will the mommy bloggers, milbloggers, godbloggers, sports, business and tech bloggers. We are intentionally a non partisan event and I sincerely hope on the political side that the guys on the left and right will be able to realize they are talking with real people over the net who if you leave politics out of it would probably really like each other. If we could impact the level of political discourse in the Blogosphere in some positive way that alone would make the event worthwhile to me.
So, I encourage everyone connected with blogging, or who wants to blog or who reads blogs to consider attending this Expo. Besides, you'll get to meet me and that is worth the trip alone. 06 ROFL2.gif

Posted by GM Roper at September 20, 2007 12:05 PM
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