ad:tech San Fran: Excitement Within the Golden Gates

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sanfran_smallADOTAS – The rites of spring: St. Patty’s Day, the vernal equinox, March Madness – they all fall around the third week of March. Many weeks ago, Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring – but was he correct? Snow continued to fall all around the U.S. – even on April 1, no foolin’!

The Florida Gators made it through the Sweet Sixteen into the Elite Eight, which made my spring look brighter, but lost to a cocky Butler team who eventually made it to the final game. We’ve even suffered through one of the worst allergy seasons in history – any money I won on basketball went into the pockets of the folks at McNeil for their wonderful ZYRTEC-D.

Well folks, don’t fret – for no matter how dreary and allergy-ridden your spring has been, there’s always that light at the end of the proverbial tunnel: ad:tech San Francisco!

ad:tech San Fran never fails to deliver, featuring over 10,000 attendees and over 200 exhibiting companies. But their list of dynamic speakers makes you want to get out of bed earlier and maybe reschedule a meeting or two. For example, you can nosh with Guy Kawasaki, co-founder of Alltop.com, who is speaking about “The Art of Enchantment” at the delegate lunch. Or maybe you’d like to thank John Bax, CFO of LivingSocial, for all those local deals delivered to your inbox.

Many of you might want to probably want to kick Manny Anekal in the shins – he’s in charge of brand advertising for Zynga. If you don’t know who Zynga is, they’re the folks that bring Mafia Wars, Farmville, and all those other annoying updates from your friends to your Facebook wall. Just kidding – please don’t kick Manny. While you at it, check out Antonio Lucio from Visa and B. Bonin Bough from PepsiCo – you might have heard of those companies, if you can’t place Zynga.

Last but not least, if you can get up after all the Tuesday night parties, drag your bloodshot self into the Wednesday morning presentation to hear a visionary keynote by Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of something called The Huffington Post. Personally, I’m going to ask her how to sell my company to AOL for over $300 million… they won’t budge at a quarter-billion.

Speaking of, there seems to be a plethora of parties at these performace-marketing proceedings. (Holy alliteration, Batman!) To kick things off, the Mailer Meetup takes place at Project One Gallery. You have to be an email company to attend this one, folks. Also on Monday night is the VIP MIX+MINGLE party by Moss Networks – I’ve attended quite a few of these!  This one is brought to you by Peer 39, MediaMath, and Empyre Media.

Tuesday is the big night, starting off with DirectTrack and Digital River’s Red Velvet Blue Ribbons party at the Clift Hotel.  Epic Direct, Traffic Marketplace, and Epic Social keeps things going at The Press Club – this one is an exclusive event so you need to be invited to this one. For those not so lucky, the big parties of the night start with Advertise.com’s 10 Year Anniversary Party at Ruby Skye.

You could also head over to Vessel at 85 Compton Place where Adknowledge is hosting its Festival After Dark — “mysterious entertainers” are promised. At 1015 Folsom, the Marketers Ball takes place with Too $hort and Digital Underground performing! I can’t believe I’m going to miss that one!

Another one I hate to miss is ClickBooth’s Affiliate Bash – these guys are well-known for throwing great… well… affiliate bashes. Finally, engage:BDR and Ads4Dough is throwing their shindig at The Ambassador, featuring DJ Crooked and DJ Spider.

I won’t be around taking pics of people holding FFC cards on Tuesday night, so make sure to have a drink for me. I’ll be on the redeye back to South Florida to catch a concert with Gator buddy Danielle Raybuck from RevEngine. However, I’ll be there today (Friday) through Tuesday afternoon, staying nice and cool with lows in the high 40s and highs in the high 50s.

So come prepared for the not-so-early-spring-like weather, catch some of the great speakers, and get some speed networking done at one or more of the many events and parties! Maybe catch a baseball game – the world champion San Francisco Giants have a home series against the Cardinals, and AT&T Park is a first-class stadium that has to be experienced.

Safe travels, and I hope to see you in San Fran!

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