The Dad 2.0 Thrival Guide

Are you going to the Dad 2.0 Summit? If so, this might be useful. If you’re not, but you like cigars, scroll to the bottom of this post because I am giving away a humidor and a mess of cigars. If you’re into both, then jackpot. I wrote this just for you. Since this is going to be the fourth year that I will be attending Dad 2.0 (actually, I might have skipped one of the middle ones, so let’s say third, lest I be Brian Williamsed and cast from blogging for six months, which really wouldn’t impact my current cadence in the least come to think of it), I figured I probably have something useful to share about it. At first, I thought about doing a survival guide, but it would be an awfully short post consisting of “don’t get arrested” and “don’t tweet past 11pm or four bourbons,” so I decided to go for less doomsday, more thrive. After all, fatherhood is all about kicking ass rather than simply not getting your ass kicked, right?

I’m about to take a red eye for work, spending too much on airport booze to help me sleep, and don’t have time for crafty transitions. Let’s just do this:

1) Make one new friend
Every conference I go to, whether it’s this, Blogher, Mom2.0 or BondageCon, I give myself a one-friend quota. Try to find one new person who really clicks with you. It’s not tough to do, but it makes all the difference in the world. Buying people beer offers you the best conversion rate. That said, I will be your friend.

2) Everyone Cares About Your Blog
You know when you go out into the real world and people just look at you funny when you talk about your blog? For three days, everyone around you will be speaking your language. They will get you. They’ll cringe with you about search terms bringing you traffic, stress out about the Facebook algorithm, and high five you because Melissa Joan Hart followed you on Twitter. Nerd out about your blog. You are among friends. 

3) But Not That Much
However, we all know you blog. So talk about other stuff too. Turns out, dad bloggers have a lot in common aside from our blogs. Stray from that comfort zone and you’ll discover other topics. Like kids. And blogging about them. Wow, this is harder than I thought.

4) Don’t Stress About Business Cards
You’ve probably seen a lot of conversation around getting business cards ordered. Screw that. You don’t need them. If you have them, great. If you don’t, you’ll be fine. If you meet a cool blogger just follow them on Twitter or like their Facebook page. If you meet a brand person you click with, get their business card. Then take the initiative to engage with them later. Little good ever came out of giving someone your business card. Think about it. I’m right. I find that people put too much false hope on them when they have them. 

5) Be Nice to the Sponsors
I get it… you may not ever want to work with brands. But many of your fellow bloggers do. It’s actually a big deal that dads are making an impact in how things are marketed these days, and whether they’ve got it right yet or not, at least we are in that conversation. As someone on the other side, I know how hard it is to get a client to take a risk with dads. Help them feel like it paid off, because it will lead to better opportunities and more influence for us as a whole. Stop at their booths, chat with them, tweet with them, use their hashtags, show them some love. They are taking a leap of faith with us. 

6) Go To One Totally Irrelevant Panel
We tend to choose panels to attend that are familiar to us, whether that means a topic we dabble in, or panelists we know. Try attending one that you think you have absolutely nothing to do with. Those tend to be the most memorable because they offer you new perspectives on things. Plus, knitting baby bottle koozies might be the big Etsy break you’ve been waiting for. 

7) Enjoy Not Being a Dad
I don’t mean in the metaphysical sense, but in the “I have to pack school lunch for tomorrow” sense. Ironic as it is, Dad 2.0 is one of the few times during the year that you don’t have to be “on” in your role as dad (unless you brought your kids, for which I say kudos to you, and thanks for making the rest of us look bad, and skip this one). Have fun, be a guy, and hang out with other guys who are also taking full advantage of their temporarily reduced responsibilities for the weekend. Drink more, worry less. 

8) Call Your Kids/Spouse/Significant Other
Before you dive head first into the above piece of advice, do this. This would have been in the survival guide as well. 

9) Bring Aspirin
See above.

10) Hydrate
See above above.

11) Make Opportunities For Yourself
Remember that thing I said about brands taking a chance on dads? This is good not only for the dad collective, but also good for you as an individual. The brands are there to have conversations with you, and part of that is sharing ideas. Maybe there’s something you do that would be a great fit for a brand. This is your time to get in front of them and share it. 

In the spirit of making opportunities, I went and did that in a small way for this post. I’m sharing this because:

  • Opportunities don’t have to involve gobs of money on either end
  • They can be fun and aligned with your personality
  • I love cigars
  • I know a lot of you do, too
  • They don’t take a ton of work
  • It’s all about relevance and fit

A few months ago, the folks at CigarsCity.com contacted me to review some cigars. While I love cigars and they’ve been an integral part of the happy times of my life, I don’t have much cigar content in my head to do a good “cigar post." But I do have pictures of me enjoying some. This one is on my desk:

Times I'll never remember with friends I'll never forget.

Times I'll never remember with friends I'll never forget.

Here's one I took with work buddies just last month:

I did, however, need a new humidor. And yes, even though I do get paid for most of my brand posts, I also know that in order for a brand to pay me, they need to get something out of it as well. Like I said, I don’t think an amateurish post about cigars would really move enough cigars, or change the conversation about cigars in a way that would warrant their $[classified] expenditure on me. However, it might be worth the cost of a humidor and a couple handfuls of cigars. And while I might not be someone who can move the needle in the cigar consumer space, I do have an in with dads. And dads (at least the ones I know) are a strong cigar demographic. So I asked them to send me a humidor, and let me give one away (along with a couple handfuls of cigars picked just for you) on my blog.

Booze Not Included. 

Booze Not Included. 

If you’re curious, here is what I do know about cigars:

  • They are best lit with a wooden match and you aren’t supposed to draw the flame in when you light it. Just hold the cigar over the flame and turn slowly. Actually, that’s not true. The best way to light a cigar is via the smoldering remains of your would-be assassin’s car after you thwarted his attempt and made him pay dearly.
  • If you’ve never smoked a Cuban cigar, allow yourself the entire next day to recover from the nausea. After that first one, it doesn’t hit you half as hard. Not sure why. 
  • To get rid of cigar breath, no amount of brushing or mouthwashing will help. The only thing that really helps is eating Denny’s. Not sure if this is backed by independent peer-reviewed research, but neither is anti-vaccination and people seem to buy that just fine. 
  • Nothing smells worse than cigar ashes, the morning after. Trust me on this one. Do not dump it in the trash. Bury it, or something. 
  • Use a cutter or punch to cut the end of a cigar. You might think it looks cool to use your teeth, but it’s not. You look like the kid ordering a Strawberry Daiquiri the first time his fake ID works.

Ok, I’ve kept you from better things for long enough. I would love it if you could leave any conference tips of your own in the comments section, since nobody comments on blogs anymore and I want to feel nostalgic. Also, if you would like to win a humidor like mine (with cigars!), please let me know in the comments and I will add you to the drawing. If you would like to give CigarsCity an idea of the type of cigar you would like to try, visit their site and add that to your comment. They will then custom choose an assortment that fits your liking. How’s that for relevance?

I will draw the winner on Feb 28 at 9pm PST, so you have time to unwind from the conference and make some school lunches. If you'd like to purchase something in the meantime, use the promo code BUSYDAD with any order over $50 to get 10% off until the end of April. 

I look forward to seeing you at Dad2.0. I am going to be moderating the "Everything is Negotiable... Until it Isn't" panel, (which is coincidentally very related to this post) so please check it out. If you can’t make it, follow all the activity as it happens by following the #dad2summit hashtag.