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I speak at a lot of conferences – I’m basically happy to give a speech or sit on a panel if I’m in the town when the conference is happening (I don’t want to have to travel to speak since I travel all the time, but if it’s convenient, I do it), have time, and feel I have something to add on the topic in question. I generally do this for the intrinsic satisfaction of participating and whatever intangible second order effects result (e.g. who the hell knows why I really do this, other than I enjoy it.) Yeah – I’m a panel whore.
While I usually get a live thank you in real time, I’ll occasionally get a handwritten thank you note after the fact (very nice – the people who do this should be pleased that their mothers’ trained them well.) Sometimes I get a token of appreciation in the useless gift category (a pen with a sponsors name on it, some little plaque, or some other left over schwag.)
I spoke at Metzger Associates First Annual New Media Summit last night. The intrinsic benefit factor was high (the panel was fun, it was a good audience, it was local, Amy came and cheered me on, and I got to go out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants (The Kitchen) with Amy afterwards since we were in Boulder.) This morning, an unexpected surprise showed up in my inbox – an Amazon gift certificate for $50 with a thank you. Of all the things I’ve gotten for being a presenter or panelist, I think this one is the most useful. It caused me to stop, smile, think happy thoughts about Metzger, appreciate that this is actually a functionally useful thank you gift, and then feel inspired to blog about it.
When someone gives you their time for free, it’s easy to thank them, but it’s rare that people think creatively about how to show appreciation. Metzger did a great (and relatively inexpensive) job of that – Seth Godin would be proud of them.