A Dream Speaker Lineup for a Dream Conference

Posted on May 10, 2013

*This is an imaginary conference

I’ve decided to have a bit of creative fun and put together my ultimate dream speaker line-up for a conference. For the sake of this post I am calling this imaginary conference “DreamCon13” #dreamcon (I’m trademarking that before you get any wise ideas!)

Before I begin, I just need to clarify a couple of points first. This is my wish list of speakers for a dream conference and it does not really exist, there are no tickets available (if you are a person of means and have lots of spare cash available and would like to help me make this dream come true, then I’m all ears!)

I consider myself a bit of a conference veteran and personally I find conferences a great way to stay up-to-date with current trends in a particular industry. Not only that, but it’s a fantastic place to meet like minded individuals. I’ve even seen some pretty fantastic speakers along the way and with any good conference there are always one or two stand out talks.

But wait just a second though! What if there was 10 amazing talks by 10 amazing (out of this world) speakers!

I decided against having a theme for my conference, I hate themes, I’m just one of those people who likes to learn lots of different stuff and not just focus on one particular field. I’m an entrepreneur that’s just how we roll!

If I could organise this ‘Dream Conference‘ it would be AWESOME and if it could ever happen I would invite the following people to come speak.

Seth Godin

Seth GodinThe ‘Mac Daddy‘ himself, a best selling author of numerous marketing books. Seth Godin is to modern marketing what Albert Einstein was to modern Physics. If you’ve never heard of Seth Godin before, you’ve either been living under a rock or simply put you’re just not reading the right stuff about marketing!

I’d have Seth talk about my favourite Godin based topics; including being remarkable in business and how to spread ideas that win. I’d also ask him to include loads of real life business examples as he does in my favourite talks.

Seth would be the keynote speaker at the event. Below is one of my favourite Seth Godin talks, you can almost imagine what it would be like if he were to speak.

Gary Vaynerchuk

gary vaynerchukWhat can you say about Gary Vaynerchuk, a self-made entrepreneur from humble roots with a dream of owning the New York Jets. A person whom I have the utmost respect for. Gary’s advice is always straight shooting, to the point and has raw honesty behind it.

He rose to fame through his awesome work on WineLibary.TV revolutionising the way people talk about and buy wine online. He is also the author of two best selling books Crush it & The Thank You Economy (both of which I can definitely recommend reading).

What I love about Gary is his passion for life and for business. His motto  ‘Crush it!‘ is something that everyday I try to put into practice, doing the very best I can in everything I try to do.

Give the video below two minutes to start – there are visuals. And enjoy Gary’s entrepreneurial story as he shares his insights into using social media for marketing and selling online.

Lewis Howes

lewis howesLewis Howes is just one of those people born to become an athlete, he could of being playing in the NFL today…but what happens when a Pro Athlete gets a career threatening injury that turns his world upside down.

Do you sit there feeling sorry for yourself? Or do take inspiration from Lewis’ story and learn to become a entrepreneur just by going out there doing it, making it up as you go a long.

For those people who haven’t ever been self-employed or have worked for themselves before you, might be forgiven for not knowing that being in business is one MASSIVE learning curve. You’re expected to simply get it, but most often than not you learn through your own mistakes and failures.

I should know because that’s exactly how I’ve developed as a business owner.

Whilst Lewis was recovering in hospital from his sports injury, he discovered LinkedIn. It was through using LinkedIn that Lewis built one of the biggest groups on there, the ‘Sports Industry Network’, and turned the social network into a place where you could sell products and gain more business for just about anything you decided you wanted to do.

He just happens to be a pretty approachable and a nice guy to boot.

Lewis was able to leverage his authority and connections through building up his group and even turn that into an entire site dedicated to the Sports Networker.

His current courses and eBooks on using LinkedIn for business are extremely worthwhile. Having attended a couple of his webinars, I can say he really knows his stuff and I know a tone of things about using LinkedIn for business myself.

Note: There has been some pretty big updates on LinkedIn since this video was recorded but a lot of the advice is still excellent and really useful today.

Sean Malarkey

sean malarkeySean Malarkey is another online entrepreneur and also business partner with Lewis Howes, one of the main reasons I found out about Sean was directly through Lewis.

Sean is the Author of Twixplode, a book about how to generate a strong following on Twitter and find potential customers who might be interested in your business or products via tweeting.

What I’d really be interested in having Sean Malarkey talk about (aside from how he takes awesome photos on his iPhone) is the story about how he and Lewis got started doing webinars together and the tips about how they use webinars to generate income, sell products and increase their e-mail lists. This is something both Sean and Lewis are incredible good at.

Perhaps, I would get them to put on a dual workshop on this subject alone. I’d also be interested in hearing Sean’s story of how he went from a relatively novice social media user to expert in such a short space of time and the steps he went through to achieve this.

Sarah Parmenter

sarah parmenterSarah Parmenter works as User Interface Designer for the Web and iOS, she was recently named .Net Magazine’s ‘Designer of The Year’ in 2011 and as a designer myself (see my presentation work) Sarah is someone who I look up too and whom I’m inspired by to improve my design skills further.

I also had the privilege of hearing Sarah speak back in 2010 in my old University lecture hall at the Hull Digital (HDLive) Conference. Sarah has a real determination for problem solving and for asking challenging questions about they way we do things as designers.

She’s not content with simply approaching a solution in a traditional fashion. As designers we should always be looking to push the boundaries of how we can improve usability and change the way people see and use our designs.

She started her own web design business aged 19 and has since developed her skills through hard work and practice (something I can really relate with). She has spoken at some of the world’s most respected and prestigious web / digital design conferences and now it’s time to take centre stage at DreamCon.

I’d love to have Sarah talk about the developments in user interface design and the challenges that rapidly changing technology pose in the future. The added insights into her early beginnings and the lessons learnt whilst in business at aged 19 would also be great to hear.

Josh Long

josh longJosh Long is another well respected designer and also Editor at Treehouse. He the co-host of the Happy Monday’s Podcast with Sarah Parmenter (a podcast I’m an avid fan of).

Josh recently co-wrote and published a book in just 8 days called Execute. It’s packed full of great advice on how you can quickly turn inspiration and ideas into real tangible products. Simply by getting starting, taking action and shipping fast you can accomplish anything you set your mind too.

I’d invite Josh to speak about his tales of co-authority a book and the process he went through to get it done in such a short amount of time, sharing some of those golden insights contained within Execute.

Jason Santa Maria

jason santa mariaSticking with the designers, next up is Jason Santa Maria a person I consider to be a very talented individual (world class I would even say).

One day, I was checking out the Creative Mornings talks that take place on monthly mornings in NYC and elsewhere around the globe. This is were I noticed Jason’s talk all about ‘Saying NO’, this talk changed the way I work completely.

In the talk he recaps his lessons and learnings from going freelance and why sometimes it’s best to say NO to a project if it’s going cost you money, time or sap you of your creativity.

I’d love to listen to this talk all over again because it’s that good and it’s one of the MOST important lesson that any freelancer can learn.

Learn to listen to your gut, that’s what Jason would say.

And my gut instinct would tell me that Jason would bring the house down with an awesome and creative talk!

2012/10 Jason Santa Maria (Benefit CreativeMornings) from CreativeMornings on Vimeo.

Darren Rowse

darren rowseWhat Darren Rowse doesn’t know about blogging isn’t really worth knowing. He is looked on as one of the pioneers of turning a blog into a fully fledged business.

He is respected as a true guru when it comes to blogging and producing content on the web.

With the success of his sites such as; Problogger.net & Digital Photography School, Darren has many wise lesson he can impart about how to make a successful career out of running your own website online and generating an income from it. He’s also being doing this since before blogging was even consider a ‘thing’ or cool I might add.

Ben Settle

ben settleSome people think e-mail is a dead medium for generating business. And to those people you are really stupid.

Meet Ben Settle, Ben is not your average Joe marketer. He is an avid and passionate e-mail marketer. Not many of those around anymore.

But can you make money from e-mail? Well, of course you can!

Is there a quick fix? NO.

Ben is not a ‘guru’ who selling methods and training doesn’t actually work or someone who does not put his own advice into practice. He literally loves e-mail and writes e-mails to his lists every single day, 365 days a year.

Why? Because people respond, people buy and most importantly the more Ben e-mails, the more engagement he gets from his lists.

Just like Gary Vaynerchuk, Ben is a straight shooter who will never BS you with crap advice that isn’t going to cut the mustard. Ben e-mails are something that I look forward to reading every day, as they usually contain a truck load of useful advice and tips.

E-mail as a medium is a copywriters dream – it allows you to get super creative.

Most people’s inboxes are an intimate place and one that you’ll never get a single e-mail read by bland, run of the mill, dull ass copy which wouldn’t even sell a Ferrari if it was offered freely.

Welcome to the stage Ben and feel free to go blow people perceptions and negativity around using e-mail to make MASSIVE amounts of business online.

Anivash Kaushik

avinash kaushikThe King of Data himself, Anivash Kaushik. As the Author of numerous Web Analytics books and also a world leading expert on digital marketing data intelligence. Anivash is well place to give you the low down on why data is important to businesses online.

As we move further into the digital age and at such a rapid pace, having a true understanding of the data behind your website and how your online marketing is performing is now more critical then ever.

I myself have been constantly blogging about the important of web analytics for years. I have been very much inspired  by reading Anivash’s content for so long.

It’s about challenging the HiPPOs (Highest Paid Person Opinions) where most Directors or Marketing teams will assume that their website is performing well and that customers are buying from them online…but do they really understand the data behind this reasoning.

  • What if we changed the website to green?
  • How would that effect conversions?
  • What if we tested the janitor’s idea? 

These are all the things I’d expect to hear in Anivash’s talk.

Web Analytics can tell you within a 95% of accuracy just how effecitve your marketing channels are performing online. Yet, it can do so much more.

We can delve into the data to find nuggets of gold which help improve bottom line or increase overall sales revenue dramatically.

As an overview data doesn’t mean much but when you segment the data and ask specific questions such as; How many customers purchased a product and then signed up to our e-mail list?

It is only then does Web Analytics truly become as important to a business as having an reputable accountant.

Some Worthy Mentions:

There a few more names that I would have liked to add to this list but I could only pick 10 for the purposes of this blog post and admittedly I really don’t enjoy writing all that much (as I’m a visual creative thinker and my brain simply hurts working in this way creatively).

Anyway, I digress these are the people I’d also would invite to speak if we could have more than 10 speakers available:

  • Scott Stratten, Author of UnMarketing. I’d have Scott impart some of the lessons and advice from UnMarketing and the way social media has changed how we market a business online. 
  • Steven Pressfield, an American author, of historical fiction and non-fiction – I’d get Steven to talk about his book Do the Work, which is all about the daily battle with procrastination and getting more stuff done.
  • Brad Frost, A mobile web strategist & font-end designer, from the States. I’d get Brad to do a version of his talk Death to Bullshit, which would be absolute winner.
  • John Cleese, an English Comedian, National Treasure, Played Q in James Bond and also a writer. I’d have John Cleese do his talk on creativity, which is a simply genius talk and something everyone can relate with. Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative type, you will learn much from this talk.

Well, there you have it folks I hope you’ve enjoyed looking into a slice of my imagination. One day in the future maybe I’ll be able to organise this conference and enjoy hanging out with the people who inspire me.

You’re Turn

If you were to put together your own dream conference who would you invite to speak? Tell me in the comments below and I’ll reply with my thoughts.