This year’s Financial Blogger Conference, FinCon14 to us nerds, was held in New Orleans. 600 passionate writers, authors, speakers and, of course, podcasters came together at the Marriott on Canal Street – deep in the heart of the city.
I can’t give you a full recap because there was no way to attend every session, breakout, meet up, or dinner. What I can tell you is the awesome time I had with the few people I was able to hang out with for three days. Forgive me if I ramble on too long – there were just too many magical moments that can not be described as happenstance.
Oh yeah, AND WE WON AN AWARD! Scroll to the end of this post to see the award.
The Collaboration Multiplication Factor
I attended the Podcast Movement one month earlier and met Mark Deal. He hopped onto the same shuttle bus and we started talking about our podcasts. Mark had purchased tickets for FinCon and knew I was going.
About a week before flying to New Orleans he called me to offer a ride from the airport to the FinCon hotel in exchange for free parking. He wasn’t able to secure a reservation at the Marriott and was staying elsewhere through a deal on AirBandB. Me: “Mark Deal, you’ve got a deal.” He’s never heard that before.
The day before the conference began I learned Jared Easley, Co-founder of Podcast Movement and host of Starve The Doubts podcast, was landing 20 minutes after my plane. Knowing Mark had 2 available seats gave me the opportunity to invite him along for the free ride.
Jared and I met at baggage claim and we walked out to meet Mark and his Passat. Not even 10 seconds passed and Jared bumps into someone else he knew: Grant Baldwin. Grant is a professional speaker and would be presenting one of the seasons on Saturday. He was standing in line to grab a shuttle or cab to the hotel. Jared looks over to me and asks “Does Mark have room for one more”?
SCORE! I think I brought serious value to Mark’s trip. Not only did he get to ride with Jared Easley but now he has some pre-conference time with THE Grant Baldwin.
Collaboration at work brother!
Power-up the Podcasting Stage
The podcasting stage returned this year with eleven shows happening throughout the conference schedule. My show followed Joshua Sheats from Radical Personal Finances, my favorite New Personal Finance Podcast, and concluded before my old favorite podcast of 2014 – Cash Car Convert by James Kinson.
My show consisted of an interview with Anthony Sprauve from FICO. This interview was in the making since January but we could never make our schedules work. This time I had him sequestered in a hotel and asked for an hour of his time.
Yes, I asked him pointed questions and attacked the credit scoring industry. Yes, this was an epic interview (Anthony admitted that this could be the first appearance or audio interview with FICO – EVER). No, I did not make him cry. Please forgive me but I’m not into the sensationalism of broadcasting – this is about getting to the truth and helping people pay attention for themselves.
BTW: Thank you Country Finance for sponsoring the stage.
Jazz Parade to Ignite Speeches
Two main events were scheduled for Thursday night: The Welcome Reception and Ignite FinCon. The Reception was your typical hors d’oeuvres and drinks but was enhanced with a live New Orleans jazz band. Fun.
But that’s not all! The band got up and led a FinCon parade down two floors and out to door, leading us towards the next event: Ignite. If you ever have the opportunity to attend an Ignite event in your city – GO! It’s a blast.
Start watching at the 30 second mark:
Going to see Jeff Goins (he’s never heard that before)
The conference started off with a keynote by writer/author Jeff Goins. He talked about Doing the Work of a Dream and shared stories about being turned down by a girl when he serenaded her in front of a live dorm audience. Ouch. Don’t worry Jeff, that wasn’t the only takeaway from your presentation.
BTW: My buddy James Kinson did the introduction. Great job James.
Interviews and the “Value” of a credit card
The rest of the day consisted of sessions, hallway conversations – including an hour long debate between Joshua Sheets and me about Dave Ramsey’s advice (to be released as a future episode but you can listen to it on Joshua’s website now – 80 minutes).
Lunch was provided by a large banking institution. I won’t name them because I am thankful for the free food but were pushing something I don’t believe in – their credit card. The spokesperson did a wonderful job in her presentation, but she was pushing their new rewards credit card.
Over and over and over again she would say “this is a really good value”, value this and value that – IT’S A STUPID CREDIT CARD! I understand the attraction of rewards – I used to spend $1 to get the prize in a box of Cracker Jacks too – but borrowing money in the form of a short-term loan is not what I call VALUE. Blah.
Dr. Daniel Crosby and the 10 Commandments of Investor Behavior
I need to stop going to these conferences: The more people I meant the dumber I feel. These are some smart, intelligent and creative folks! I’m not worthy but can learn from their knowledge.
One example is the keynote presented by Dr. Daniel Crosby. I had the opportunity to Tweet back-and-forth a few times with him before meeting him in person.
First impression? What a nice guy! He can’t be that smart or he wouldn’t be spending time on Twitter with little ‘ol me.
Impression after speaking with him and watching his presentation? He’s awesome and connects with the audience on a personal level – even from the stage.
He presented the 10 Commandments of Investment Behavior. A title like that often denotes one person’s opinion of how things work – or how they think it should work. However, Dr. Daniel Crosby’s list was based on behavioral studies and even contained statistics like “You need to get it right (timing the market) 82% of the time to match a buy-and-hold strategy.
If you believe a buy-and-hold strategy is an effective way to invest, click on this to send Dr. Daniel Crosby a Tweet:
Tom Corley’s Greatest Hamburger
In my interview with Tom Corley, Author of Rich Habits, I asked about Chapter 27: The World’s Greatest Hamburger. We both think you should buy his book but if you want me to spoil the secret – it’s Port of Call on Esplanade in New Orleans.
A dozen FinCon’rs walked 30 minutes with me to find the coveted sandwich. It was good, but the company and time spent talking and walking made the entire evening more enjoyable than a happy belly. Thanks for the recommendation Tom!
Chris Ducker and PT Money are Happy
OK, I always heard Chris Ducker is a cool guy but he’s also a great dancer.
Watch the raw recording of PT Money cutting the rug with Chris Ducker
Takeaways from Chris’s keynote?
- You have something nobody else has to offer the world.
- “Your audience wants you to help them and solve their problem. SO SELL THEM SOMETHING FOR GOD’S SAKE”.
- We love Bob and will pass the grocery store to buy his bread 😉
By the way: Chris Ducker uses ScreenFlow to train his VAs. If you would like to learn how to use ScreenFlow to train your VAs or clients, go to http://HowToUseScreenFlow.com
DEBT FREEDOM FIGHTERS WIN!
WE DID IT! WE WON! Sorry, I was pretending to be Tom Corley there for a second.
No, the show did not win Best Personal Finance Podcast. That honor went to Stacking Benjamins and I TOTALLY AGREE!
But we did win Best Debt-Focused Blog. There was NO WAY we should have won that award. After all, 95% of the blog posts on MoneyPlanSOS.com are show notes for the podcast. I started the podcast because I’m a horrible writer.
That’s why I was totally shocked when Kay Bell announced the winner. I was watching, recording and just enjoying the fact that the site was in the list of finalists. Then she said it “The winner for Best Debt-Focused Blog is MoneyPlan SOS”.
What? Huh? Wait, that’s my site. Kate Rhoten was sitting to my right and Kraig Mathias to my left. They were applauding and cheering and I hesitated for a second.
I was so taken up in the moment that I didn’t hand the camera over to my friends. No, that would have been perfect! Instead, I took it with me and threw it in my pocket – still recording while accepting the award. Duh.
Watch the raw footage:
Reflecting on FinCon14
Winning the award is obviously huge for me. It has given me confidence and the message of Debt Freedom more social proof.
But the real value is, and always has been, the relationships rekindled and forged while at the conference. I love the keynotes, learn from the sessions, but I bought my ticket to be in the hallways with great people. It’s my favorite place to be when attending FinCon.
I’ve already got my ticket (see, my confirmation is below). Are you going to #FinCon15?