Ok, so I’ve been to WPPI for the last 3 years, before that I had never even heard of WPPI. Each year that I’ve been I’ve never really participated in the official conference activities. I know they are awesome but it is always more fun (to me) to experience the underground activities. Well… maybe calling them underground is a bit much, but they definitely are the top 5 tips you wish your mom told you before going to WPPI.
Here are my top 5 tips to get into the underground of WPPI:
1. Keep tabs on #WPPI on twitter
So this one might be a little obvious, but I’ll get a bit more into it for you so you get the most out of it. Before we even get started, when you are at WPPI this year you should add the hashtag #WPPI to all of your tweets. If everyone does this it will be very easy to see what is going on at WPPI at a glance.
Now, how to use this… First, using your favorite twitter application save a search for #WPPI. This will allow you to check at any given time what is going on anywhere at WPPI. Any time you are looking for something exciting to do you just need to look at that saved search and you will instantly know who is doing what. You can even take this to the next level by looking for geotagged tweets, my favorite twitter app on the iPhone (Tweetie 2) supports this, here is what it looks like:
(The first one shows you how to geotag your tweet and the second shows you what it looks like to search for geotagged tweets around you)
Second, you need to pick a handful of people you really admire and follow them… more importantly you will want to enable updates via SMS and start to receive the updates from those people as text messages. This is great because you will get push updates instantly from all of the people you admire the most. To enable this go into your twitter settings page and click mobile, follow the on screen instructions:
Next you will want to enable SMS notifications from certain people, be careful because if that person twitters a lot you will end up with constant updates via SMS (but don’t worry, you can shut it off any time you want). You can easily do this on the twitter website by going to that persons profile and clicking the SMS updates button:
Or, most of the mobile twitter apps allow this too, in Tweetie 2 you can do it like this:
This allows you to keep near stalker tracking status on the people you want to… don’t worry it isn’t that creepy; they are publicly publishing this stuff, so its ok. You will be able to know what’s happening all of the time now!
2. Hang out in the hallways and go to lunch
This one is kind of odd, but don’t be afraid of just chatting it up with people in the hallways. I’ve made better connections and better relationships with people by meeting them in the hallways and going to a spur of the moment lunches and dinners than any business meeting has ever done. Keep in mind, you are going to be hanging out with like minded people struggling with the same things you are… you will make fantastic long term friends and business contacts by just being open to meet someone new.
The last thing I have to say about this is that you really don’t need to try to get to go to lunch with the ‘cool kids’ either. Your peers have more to offer than you think.
3. Avoid WPPI SARS
Pretty much every year there is some sort of outbreak of sickness at WPPI. You get home and sleep for 4 days straight and have to have someone nurse you back to health.
This is fairly easy to avoid by just drinking LOTS of water, I mean LOTS… taking some zinc (I’m not a doctor so don’t do this unless your doctor says it is ok)… and getting at least 4 hours of sleep every night. Airborne usually helps too, but the most important things are LOTS of water and as much sleep as possible.
4. Get invites to the parties early
Ok, so by now you should have already found out about all the cool parties you want to go to, you know the ones everyone is tweeting about from tip #1. You should have met some nice new people from tip #2 that might have an in for this one. So use your most charming voice and start to get some invites to the cool parties early.
Lot’s of the parties have long lines and guest lists or even tickets… so the earlier you get in the better.
If you really want to get in good, walk up to one of the party’s sponsor booths at the trade show and ask them how you can get it. Chances are they will love your face and hook you up.
5. Bring your laptop
There is nothing better than being able to check out something online, catch up on emails or video chat with your kids at home after being gone for a few days. This year the New Media Lounge will be on the tradeshow floor and offer up some juice to charge up your iphone and laptop as well as some free wifi for your enjoyment.
Don’t worry, even though it is sponsored by Pictage, FastTrack, and The Bui Brothers… it is a no sales zone. Free means free to us so come by with no fears.
BONUS underground tip: Save your cash!!!
This one just came to me!!! SAVE YOUR CASH!!!
There are so many booths at WPPI with great specials, what unfortunately happens is that you go in… you see an unbelievable sale… you buy it… then you see another… you buy it… then you see another… and you ran out of money!
Here is what you do, take a notepad or write it down in your iPhone or just use the WPPI floorplan map to write down all the booths you want to see. Go visit all of the important ones the first day and see what specials they are offering, take notes but don’t buy anything yet. Now take a bit of time to go through all of the sales and see what you really want to spend our money on. That way you don’t end up spending all of your money at the first few booths you go to and then miss out on something fantastic you find later.
So after finishing this up… calling it underground might seem a bit silly… but I’m sticking to the title because I think it sounds so cool!
Ok… that is all for now, if you have some tips that should be added please leave them in the comments below. See you at the New Media Lounge during WPPI!!! Until then, you can keep track of The Bui Brothers on Twitter at http://twitter.com/vubui and http://twitter.com/lanbui
Written by Lan Bui