How Does Danny Do It?

You know, I don’t a have a hero-worship thingey or anything, but I can honestly say that I have grown to admire and appreciate what Danny Sullivan has done for the SEM community more and more over the past three months.

First, let me say I don’t know Danny very well. Second, if Danny remembers me at all (which is doubtful) then, based on what happened, I think I would prefer it if he forgot. There is a story there…

The (sad, sad… sad story….)

… When I first found out Danny was leaving Search Engine Watch and probably Search Engine Strategies I was, like most of the SEO world, shocked. When I subsequently found out about the first SMX conference, I was (understandably) very excited about it and quite determined to go.

Unfortunately I got the acronyms SES and SMX a little muddled, and told my boss and colleagues at Critical Mass (my employer at the time) that I wanted to attend the SEX conference.

SEX made perfectly muddled sense – Search Engine eXpo – and I really, really wanted to go to see SEX. The amount of crap I got from work alone for that minor error cannot be imagined.

By the time SMX actually came about I was there, and my embarrassment had morphed into a rueful sort of self-deprecating humor. For some bizarre reason I thought Danny might appreciate it, but I somehow don’t think he was terribly impressed when I told him at our first encounter that I had come to see the SEX show. He looked at me funny and moved on…


I’m not entirely sure what made me want to start a search based conference series in Canada. I know we have SES Toronto, but we are kind of a big country and I thought a few more conferences based along the lines of the highly successful SES and SMX conferences would be great to host in other Canadian cities. Canada’s search community is small relative to that of the States, but it’s not THAT small, and the talent is pretty great.

The SES and SMX shows I’ve been to have run flawlessly and on schedule. The amount of work that was put into their production appeared negligible simply because they were so professionally managed. Well I’m here to tell you it ain’t that easy, it’s flipping hard work, and it’s enough to give you grey-hair over night.

We’re doing a pretty good job with SEM Canada (Calgary), and our attendees are guaranteed to have a great time, meet great people, and glean a lot of great information from our sessions and our speakers. But this is just one conference, hopefully the first of many. Danny has done this for years, multiple times a year in fact, and all over the world. He is quite simply a natural. He doesn’t even live in the US and he makes it seem effortless.

Apart from his SEO knowledge, his leadership skills and his ability to make people feel entirely comfortable, his conference management and organizational skills place him in a class of his own.

Danny, if by some miracle chance you read this, please accept my sincere and humble admiration. I will try to make a better impression next time 🙂 

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