At this moment I am sitting in the board room of the Westin in San Diego in between sessions. I am at the Online Marketing Summit as the event photographer. On occasion I do trade out work in exchange for event access. I get to meet pretty awesome people doing big things for pretty amazing companies.
I admire these people because of what they are doing in their industry, most of them are pretty well known for what they do, but I am glad that I am not on that level. You would think that when I am talking with these people in between sessions or at cocktail hours that I would have nothing in common with them but it turns to be quite the oposite. Most of these people come to these events and all they get to talk about is what they do. They are hundreds of miles away from home and they get to talk business all day. Of course they are passionate about what they do, this is why they are here, but the true passion for most is the things they enjoy outside of the office. Because I often am carrying my camera around, photography becomes the topic of conversation. Everybody loves pictures. I end up having great conversations with people which starts out with photography and usually ends up with life and family. I love talking to people about where they are from and what they do in their free time.
I have always made it a point to not force people to talk about things they have to talk about all day even if I am interested in what they might say. I want them to talk about what they are most passionate about, which is usually family or some sort of hobby. Now that I have a little boy I have found that I am able to relate to more people.
Being able to attend so many of these large events with people in attendance that are really doing things with big companies I often wish I had something to push, but I am glad that I don’t. I am a freelance photographer doing my own thing with nothing to push unless someone expresses that they just got engaged to be married. This allows me to just be and because of that I have the opportunity to connect with these people with no agenda, something they don’t experience often. Of course I get some value out of attending the events because the topics can relate to small business at times.
I walk around these events pretty relaxed. I have a list of the shots I must get, anything else is just icing on the cake. I don’t have anyone to answer to back at HQ. When I call back to HQ I am talking to my wife who makes my baby laugh into the phone which makes me smile.
When I talk to some of these people and explain to them that I am basically a freelance contractor I think that they see what I do is more risky then what they do. Everybody has a story about someone close that they know who tried to do their own thing and failed. In my mind I feel it would be more difficult to appease the higher ups then it would be to just do my own thing. If I fail at my own thing then I can just move on to the next. I guess that allows me to take more risks.
At this conference they are teaching medium to large business how to engage online with potential customers. Some of it I can not relate to because I will never have a situation like Southwest Airlines did with Kevin Smith but it’s great to see how theses companies do what they do on the large scale.
Now it’s time for me to go shoot some photos of a round table session that includes executives from Intel and McDonalds.