I spent a few days in Seattle this week and was sincerely overwhelmed. Though I was jokingly told I came for its annual one week of summer, the weather, the people, the Social Media Club, the community … everything about the trip was perfect.

Typically, I don’t blog about the trips I take. I take far too many of them, am not a travel blogger and me talking about what I’m doing has to be monumentally boring for you, as Twitter-esqe as that concept might be.

But Seattle is one of those communities that when you walk away, you think, “I’ve got to tell people about this place.”

The top of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington
Image via Wikipedia

I was there to speak to Social Media Club Seattle, a local chapter of SMC that was started by my friend Kevin Urie. At dinner on Monday with Joann Jen, Shauna Causey, Eric Berto and Urie, they told me that the 225-seat event sold out in eight hours and they had 110 people on a waiting list to get in. (Clearly, they don’t realize how unimpressive I really am, my wife was quick to remind me.)

It’s not the number of people that’s important here, it’s actually the quality of the people. SMC Seattle has grown to perhaps one of the more active chapters in the umbrella organization’s network. I was assured several times that the audience wouldn’t tolerate 101 content. This was a 301 audience. They needed to be pushed.

Thank God!

And I was told they would push back.

Double Thanks!

I was asked a tough question or two from the crowd, which I appreciate. When everyone walks away with, “Great talk.” I get frustrated. I want people to push back, get uncomfortable and maybe even be a little mad. It makes them think about the issue more which produces more clarity of thought moving forward. You don’t have to like me for me to be useful to you. Often times, I’m more useful if you don’t.

One question I was asked had me perplexed. I’m still chewing on it and will probably blog it soon. More later.

Perhaps its the fact that everyone seems to have some Microsoft connection in Seattle. They either worked there or work for someone who works with them. Perhaps its because they have Starbucks here like most cities have fire hydrants. But there exists in Seattle an awesome tech community. And those here who are passionate about social media are passionate AND knowledgeable. There’s also a cohesiveness in Seattle’s social media enthusiasts you can sense. The people I encountered unknowingly showed me how it ought to be done. Ironic since Urie insists my co-founding of SMC Louisville inspired him to do the same here.

I walked away from SMC Seattle wishing SMC Louisville could be more like them and that we could all have the benefit of such a passionate, smart community just outside our door. Maybe you have that in your community. Cherish it.

From my hour talking to Neil Crist and Pete Mannix from ValueVine to hanging out with Jeff, John and the gang at the Whrrl offices, to getting a Windows Phone demo at the gdgt event I crashed, to the chic and social media hip Hotel Max, to Shauna Causey trying to cheauffer me around town in a car the size of my left thigh, every bit of Seattle made me smile.

I even got a big-time save from Alaska Airlines when my crazy schedule put Wednesday’s PRSA Independent Practitioner’s webinar (of which I was a speaker) butted up against my return flight. Elliott Pesut, Bobbie Egan and crew snapped a few fingers and booked me a board room in their elite traveler’s lounge so I could be on the call and not have to race to the airport after.

Thank you, Seattle. You reminded me this week what it means to have a community that oozes its essence. I got a little on me. And it’s nice.

Note: I have to give a shout out to Blake Cahill who really started the ball rolling to get me to Seattle. Blake, you’re a saint. Thank you for inviting me.

Follow-Up: I knew I’d forget someone important (and ironically unforgettable). Brian Westbrook was not only Mr. coordination for all I was doing in Seattle, but is the emcee and host of SMC Seattle’s live streams and events. The guy is the bomb. Hopefully, he won’t blow me up for not mentioning him on my first run through. Watch the stream below. He steals the show.

A video of the event (SMC Seattle live-streams their events and run them like a TV show … very cool) is online at UStream.There are some great pictures of the SMC Seattle Event taken by Berto here. Tac Anderson recaps my talk on his blog as well. And I uploaded my snapshots from the trip to Flickr.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • ronschott

    Jason – it was great having you in town. Like we said on the Spring Creek Group blog, we definitely enjoyed the talk.

    Next time you're up this way, give us a holler.

    Cheers,
    Ron Schott
    Spring Creek Group

  • http://www.changeitmarketing.com kevinurie

    Thank you Jason for the great blog post and re-cap of your trip to Seattle. It was a honor to have you out to Seattle and to hear you present to the SMC Seattle community.

    You are correct in that you are one of the main reason I started SMC Seattle, and it was great to have this come full circle.

    The content you dropped on us might have pushed a few buttons, but one of the goals we have for SMC Seattle is to start conversations and debate, and you did just that.

    Take care, and welcome to the SMC Seattle family.

    Kevin Urie
    SMC Seattle

  • http://twitter.com/jimmyrey Jim Reynolds

    Jason,
    I've had the same opportunity to visit Seattle and felt the same way coming back. It's such a cool community and when you leave you want to come back.

    Jim Reynolds
    Alterian

  • http://www.facebook.com/neilcrist Neil Crist

    Great to catch up with you Jason, let's be sure to meet up again when your in Seattle next.

    Best,
    Neil C
    Valuevine

  • http://twitter.com/traviswals Travis Wals

    Jason -

    As a reader of your blog, I wish I would have made it to this event! I guess that means you will have to come back again. Soon.

    I am a newcomer to the Seattle Social Media community, and I have to say that I agree with all of the above. I have been to a number of events in the past couple months, including an SMC Seattle event, and I am so impressed with the caliber of people in attendance, their passion for Social Media/Tech and their willingness to engage in conversation.

    Kevin, thanks to you and your team for helping develop such an awesome community!

    Travis Wals
    @traviswals

    • http://www.changeitmarketing.com kevinurie

      Thank you Travis!
      Anyone can put on an event. The people that come are what makes it special. I am just lucky to be part of the the community.

      You guys inspire me.
      Kevin

  • http://www.sparkplugdigital.com/blog/ Jason mKey

    Great presentation. I agree that Seattle is very much a 301 audience and I thank you for not sparing us with rehashed information. Your perspective on increasing the bottom really got me thinking about how I can do the same for some of my clients. You're always welcome in Seattle.

  • Matt

    Seattle is lucky to have a vibrant community. As one who missed the event, I am definitely looking forward to what…the question was.

  • http://twitter.com/DocuSign DocuSign

    Jason, ack – I can't believe you were in town and I missed you! I was at the gdgt event and somehow managed to miss you there too! #AnFail – let's catch up next time we're in the same city!

  • http://www.sparkplugdigital.com/blog/ Jason mKey

    Great presentation. I agree that Seattle is very much a 301 audience and I thank you for not sparing us with rehashed information. Your perspective on increasing the bottom really got me thinking about how I can do the same for some of my clients. You're always welcome in Seattle.

  • Matt

    Seattle is lucky to have a vibrant community. As one who missed the event, I am definitely looking forward to what…the question was.

  • http://twitter.com/DocuSign DocuSign

    Jason, ack – I can't believe you were in town and I missed you! I was at the gdgt event and somehow managed to miss you there too! #AnFail – let's catch up next time we're in the same city!

  • Barry Hurd

    Glad that you could make it out to Seattle.

    As you noted in your post for people 'who do what we do' – it is often a refreshing insight to see how communities and support groups differ from city to city.

    A lot of people in Seattle forget that we have a city that is powered by dozens of innovative tech companies, creating a strange echo chamber that sometime leaves us feeling isolated.

    Again, thanks for making the trek out here. Everyone on the board of SMC Seattle enjoyed you taking the effort to share a great conversation.

  • John Cass

    Jason,

    There's something about Seattle, I've lived in three big tech towns and of all of them Seattle has the greatest sense of entrepreneurship, think about what companies have risen from its rain soaked hills; Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Real Networks, Costco.

    There's a real sense of creativity in the State even more so than California, just something about the place.

    I think its because you have such a great sense of nature from the place, walk down several Seattle streets, turn a corner, and there you see Mt. Rainier, like a mirage, appearing when you least expect it reminding you that nature has its dangers.

    Plus, it rains so much there, you have to get a lot of work done. ;-)