My Dad 2.0 Summit Survival Guide
I attended my first Dad 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, CA, last year (2015). To say I was unprepared for the experience – and completely humbled and inspired by it – is an understatement. I’ve never really had the opportunity to attend a convention so going to something like Dad 2.0 was a mind-blowing experience. With this year’s Summit attendance surpassing that of even last year’s Summit, first timers might find themselves wondering what they’re getting themselves into. Without further ado, here’s my Dad 2.0 Summit Survival Guide.
Bring Extra Bags
While Dad 2.0 Summit is intentionally not created to be a shwag fest, you will definitely accumulate extra items and free product that you didn’t have when you showed up. Last year I was lucky in that the Summit was in San Francisco, an hour away from my house, so I didn’t have to worry about baggage fees. This year, however I’ll be flying from round trip from California to Washington DC, so I’m planning on packing an empty duffel bag in my suitcase to accommodate anything I may accumulate.
There is a Marketplace room where you can connect with brand representatives and possibly lay the groundwork for a sponsored partnership in the year to come. There may also be hands-on workshops where you may be given some free product. Last year a bunch of us received a drill starter kit from Ryobi. And then, of course, there are contests throughout the weekend. I do recall some guys last year had to hit up a UPS store or post office to ship some items they had accumulated back home. Since
So. Many. People.
I’m not even joking about this one. The Summit will have a TON of people! If, like me, you lean toward the introverted side of things, you’ll be happy to know that everyone there is completely cool with people stepping out to recharge for a few minutes here and there. Thursday night is the opening dinner and it’s controlled chaos. Good friends reconnecting like a high school reunion and even more people meeting for the first time. Pace yourself and if you need to step away from the hustle and bustle, nobody will mind.
Try to Stay Flexible
While you might think you have your Summit schedule of classes, panels, and discussions figured out after you arrive, be prepared to change things up at the last minute. Last year, I looked at the schedule and felt like I knew exactly what I was going to do each day. After meeting some cool new people, I ended up going to different panels and discussions than I had anticipated.
Try to be comfortable stepping outside of your comfort zone. Last year, I ended up spending the last night of the Summit with a bunch of dudes from all over the country who I had never met before in a basement karaoke bar. Even for a guy who doesn’t like to sing, it was an amazing experience!
Intentionally Meet New People
While it’s easy to stick with the crowd you’re comfortable with, try to meet new people. We’re all dads and we’re all bloggers, so those are two things right off the bat that you’ll have in common with any of the other attendees. Someone suggested to me that I should come up with a mental list of 4 or 5 fellow dad bloggers that I didn’t already know that I wanted to meet. This was great advice because it forced me to branch out on my own and it led me to meet some truly remarkable people.
You get out of the Dad 2.0 Summit what you bring to the collective table. What makes Dad 2.0 Summit such a transformative event is that it’s a blogging conference where you’ll be surrounded by hundreds of other men from all walks of life and all sorts of family dynamics.
There will be moments when you’ll want to enthusiastically cheer for someone you might not have ever met. I can almost guarantee that there will be moments when you’ll tear up – either from something that strikes a particular chord with just you, or because something remarkable happened that brought the entire ballroom to tears. If you tear up, embrace the moment and whatever emotion you’re feeling.
Be your authentic self and you won’t go wrong. Unless your authentic self is an asshole , in which case you’ll probably feel like an outsider anyway because this is a tribe of genuinely good people who want the best for their fellow dad blogger.
Have something to add that I’ve forgotten? Leave a comment below!
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Photo Credit: The Dad 2.0 Summit Flickr photo stream