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#Fincon2012: My Financial Blogger Conference Recap

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Fincon 2012I just got back from Denver where I attended the second annual Financial Blogger Conference, known as FINCON (you probably saw #fincon2012 blowing up over the weekend if you follow twitter and any personal finance bloggers), and it was a lot of fun. I missed the inaugural event last year but I’m happy I was able to attend this year because I was able to meet up with some familiar faces and get to meet a lot of new ones. There were over four hundred attendees this year, which is amazing when you think about how many bloggers existed when I started Bargaineering so many years ago (there were about a dozen bloggers eight years ago).

Hats off to Phil and his crew because they put on a great weekend. I don’t know what it takes to throw a convention that had 400+ attendees with three speaker tracks but I imagine it’s very difficult and the whole operation was streamlined. When I was tired, I’d just sit at the registration table and chat with Jessica and Joan and it was amazing how efficient they were at doing basically everything, even with me getting in the way. :)

Denver: Great Venue

I’d been to Denver before, once with my wife while she was at a conference, and I loved the area. I stayed at the Grand Hyatt, which is where the conference was held, and that’s a few short blocks over to 16th Street. 16th Street is billed as a pedestrian mall, so it’s not open to cars (watch out for the trams!), filled with shops and restaurants. It’s also home to many a public house, which sponsoring companies threw happy hours and dinners.

Now that we’ve had two of these, it’s an annual thing. There has to be a FinCon2013… hopefully it’s an east coast thing so it’s a shorter flight. :)

Meeting Old Friends, Making New Ones

The best part about going to a conference like this is being able to meet people that you talk to all the time on instant messenger or email. Most of us work on our own, going to day jobs and then pounding the keys hard once we get home – never meeting people who talk to all the time. For example, I instant message Ryan at Cash Money Life and Jeremy at GenXFinance all the time. As in almost daily. I’d never met Ryan before and only met Jeremy once, again at a conference in Florida, so it was great to spend some time chatting with them.

It’s also fun to be able to put faces to the names of blogs you see in the blogosphere. It’s funny but sometimes people don’t look like their picture. Prime example was Jon at Free Money Wisdom. So if you look at any photo of him on his site, the camera is usually at eye level or a little higher. Jon’s probably close to or a little over six feet tall, I’m around 5’9″ – so when we shook hands I didn’t immediately recognize him (or his sister haha). It happened a bunch of times… but usually because people like to use pictures from five years ago. :)

Lastly, it’s fun to make new friends, especially when they aren’t necessarily personal finance bloggers. For example, I randomly met Josh from Bigger Pockets and we hit it off. I’d been a fan of Bigger Pockets for a couple months (another friend of mine is big into real estate and told me about it) so it was fun to see the man behind the magic. He just cross the 100,000 member mark… absolutely stunning stuff. I also met Steve from My Wife Quit Her Job and we hit it off immediately, found out he grew up not far from where I live now, and we had a lot in common. I’d known, and been impressed, with what he’s been doing but unless you meet face to face, it’s hard to form that connection.

Our Q&A Session

So I was part of a fun little Q&A panel with JD Roth, Will Chen, and Flexo on Saturday. It was about blogging and building it as a business. I had “put it together” (in the sense that I called them up and then asked Phil if we could do it) and so I felt responsible and was nervous about how it would turn out … but it turned out great (I think anyway!). I want to thank JD, Will, and Flexo for doing it, I know getting on stage for anything, let alone a free wheeling Q&A session where you don’t know what will be asked, is tough and I appreciate it.

I also wanted to say thank you to the folks who asked questions – thank you Adam, Jeff, Ginger, Shawanda, Lindsey, Kelly, Lynnae, David and about ten more. I know there were more of you, some I didn’t recognize or you didn’t introduce yourself (or I forgot, sorry!), so let me know. Thanking you is the least I can do, you folks made that session interesting.

Finally, thanks to all the sponsors and great companies there, especially GoBankingRates and Bankrate for sponsoring the happy hours that made everyone more relaxed in a roomful of near strangers. And Baker for the “after party” Saturday night.

Fun times and I look forward to next year!

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20 Responses to “#Fincon2012: My Financial Blogger Conference Recap”

  1. Jim,

    Good to meet man! It would be great if Fincon13 was in NYC or perhaps DC. Hopefully it’ll be in San Francisco though so I can take da bus.

    You look better in person too btw. Don’t ever let a girl tell you otherwise!

    Sam
    Love Boat Da Ge

    • Jim says:

      Haha it was awesome meeting you too, a FinCon in NYC would be unreal (and more expensive) and awesome… SF would be fun too. Just so much to do.

      I’m visually unappealing, I get it, no need to rub it in. :)

  2. Jim –
    It was a pleasure, and thanks for the plug! Lets hop on that Skype call and keep the convo going.

    Talk soon,
    Josh

  3. Glad you had a good time. I just hope fincon13 is mid to late month so that accounting professionals can make it. I couldn’t go this year because we can’t take the first 5 to 6 business days off each month. Atlanta might be a good place for FinCon13. Should he cheap flights because it is such a large hub.

  4. David says:

    Jim, it was great to meet you in person finally (if briefly). Thanks for all the knowledge you shared over the weekend; hope to see you again next year.

  5. No problem! It was great to have you all there at one time to pick your brains! Developing my master plan this week!

  6. Buck Inspire says:

    Sounds like FinCon12 was a blast. I felt the same way when I met Jon (Free Money Wisdom) and J$ at BlogWorld last year. I really need to hit the gym! Finally, maybe that girl was playing hard to get? Way to be humble. :)

  7. I am definitely his WIFE…not his sister. AWKWARD!!! Haha….how did you think we were sisters?! :) Wow, we are definitely affectionate for siblings…

    And it was great meeting you too, Jim. You’re hilarious! Can’t wait for the next FinCon!

  8. Siblings*** haha….brain fart. :)

  9. Jim, it was so good to finally meet you! I’ll never forget when you came up to the bar and just stared at me. I was about to say something but then I realized it was you, so funny! Anyways, had an epic time. Vote for San Diego next year!

  10. Ben Edwards says:

    Hey Jim, it was fun hanging out again, glad you could make it this year.

    I actually did have a question to ask you guys but decided against it b/c I didn’t want to bring up a sore topic for JD.

    My question is – how did your spouses/girlfriends react to you spending all your free time working on your site and how did you squeeze in quality time with a full time job and your blog?

    • Jim says:

      That’s a good question (I understand why you didn’t ask it) and I was a special case. I actually started Bargaineering because my then-girlfriend, now-wife was living and working in New Jersey. So the first two years of the site I was basically alone at night, so I wasn’t taking away time from other obligations. Then, she moved in, we got married, we have a family – by then I was doing it full time.

      For that brief period, of maybe a year or two, of overlap, she was cool with me spending time at night working on the site. That period overlapped the first year we lived together so we were spending so much more time than normal (since we lived apart) that it wasn’t a big deal.

      Long winded answer for it didn’t apply to me I guess. :)

  11. Martin says:

    Yo Jim, it was cool to finally meet! Too bad we didn’t get to chat more. Cheers to next year :)

  12. Will says:

    Jim thank you so much for putting this panel together. I have harassed JD and Flexo into doing interviews for the Wise1000 newsletter, so you’re next on my list. Let’s chat soon about your exciting new ventures (are we allowed to talk about it yet)?

    BTW, was browsing through FinCon pics and thought this one was hilarious:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/marubozo/7980264679/in/pool-fincon

    You’re like “WTF is Ramit saying?”

    Props to Jeremy for taking amazing pictures at FinCon. Is there no end to this man’s talents?

    • Jim says:

      I’m in! (I don’t know exactly what the venture is yet!)

      That is a good one, it was at the Bankrate Happy Hour at the Irish bar and I don’t remember exactly what he was saying but I’m certain I didn’t believe Ramit. :)


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