Apr 22

Google for Entrepreneurs, Nashville

By Tom Brander

The Google for Entrepreneurs One Day Conference held in Nashville on April 19, 2012 was very well done. Even though I follow Google closely, I still learned quite a bit as well as cementing past knowledge. The conference page and schedule, along with speaker bios, follows:

Update: the below site now has a nice summary and links to some of the presentation material.

http://www.findyourflo.com/g4e/

Google provided the following top notch lineup of speakers from Google:

      Most of the speakers indicated that they would make the presentation materials available, however so far I have not seen where or how.

      The volunteer organizers from the people of FLO {thinkery} did a great job and I’m sorry I did not get a chance to get to know them and thank them in person.

      The presentations were of uniformly high quality.

      The audience was surprisingly diverse with a healthy percentage being from the music/entertainment industry, which of course makes sense given the impact that the internet is having on that industry, and the role it plays in the Nashville community.

      Unfortunately, I was dragged away a few times by phone calls from a client about an uppity router, and a newspaper phone interview which caused me to miss some key parts of a few talks. As is so often the case with Google, the information density of the talks was very high.

      Mary kicked things off by noting that this event was the first time that Google had gone out to smaller markets with a group to provide 1st hand information in person. She indicated that next week the team would be in Minneapolis. I later spoke to her about getting Birmingham on their radar for a future event, but we will have some work to do to achieve this.

      Mary also highlighted many projects which Google has sparked around the world including crowdsourced mapping in underdeveloped areas andcommunications in politically sensitive countries.

      Bridgett reviewed a number of lesser known tools for understanding your markets, including Google Correlate, Public Data Explorer, and Fusion Tables.

      Carl gave a helpful presentation on using search and ad placement and tools. Of all the presentations, I found his two to be the most helpful to me since I do not use these features as much. While I am generally familiar with the area, the detailed explanations which he provided will enable me to be considerably more helpful and effective for my clients. I was able to spend some time with Carl after lunch and ask some specific questions about Real Estate Marketing, which as he had pointed out was a crowded market and therefore more challenging to breakthrough. He laughed and mentioned that he is a part time Real Estate Agent, as well as helping out some friends in that area, in San Francisco, a highly competitive market. He provided me with some very helpful hints which I doubt I would have ever figured out on my own.. And no I’m not giving them away here! (feel free to call though!)

      Steve and Timothy gave a very insightful talk on how to effectively use G+ for business. Now Google + is still very new but it has already gotten significant traction in many dimensions. Perhaps the most significant is the G+ button.. To the extent that this is used by your circle to highlight your pages it will influence search results for people in your circle. I have found this quite helpful. People I know tend to have somewhat similar interests and tastes, they often find things before I do, so I am more likely to click on something that they have indicated is useful. There are many other aspects of G+ that are still emerging such as Hangouts..

      Margaret gave a great presentation on “Monetizing Your Content”. It was rife with examples of great success stories of people making substantial incomes off of Youtube and G+. One highlighted success story is http://www.michellephan.com/ . She provided excellent suggestions on how to get started. The takeaway message was: Get started now! It is still a ground floor opportunity.

      Carl and Bridgette provided a deep dive into analytics and website optimizer which I missed most of due to those phone calls.

      Timothy showed how to put up a basic App-engine app using Python, then showed off some of the Google api playground, followed by material on G+ api interaction.

      There was an open floor Question and Answer session where the audience attempted to get as much undisclosed information from the Google staff as possible, and the Google staff did their best to provide what information they could without violating company confidentiality.

      Alex Curtis presented material on the Creators Freedom Project which included a panel from the Nashville music industry. They discussed the issues and opportunities presented by the new internet technologies and distribution channels and the question of how the industry and artists can make money in the new environment.

      Margaret gave another talk about getting on with content creation with Youtube.

      Derek Slater gave some insight on the regulatory process and the need for all of us to have our voices heard in addition to the Google effort.


      Drinks and snacks followed, and I saw that dancing was on the schedule, but I had to leave for the 3 hour drive home.

      I’m looking forward to seeing some of the Google faces at Google IO in June, although with over 5,500 expected, finding anyone in the crowd will be hard if not impossible!

      Tags: Conference, Google

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