Wednesday, March 5, 2014

You Make Me Smile!

"Hi, this is Diana"
"I need to speak to somebody by the name G! who has a blog called"
"This is me... my name is Geeta" I said with a chuckle!
Diana had called 2 days in advance to reconfirm if I was coming to the Indiblogger meet... & I sure was going!

A day before the event... i had a mail sitting in my inbox imploring me to share my travel pics... so there is a contest before the event even starts.. in fact, the event starts with with the results of a contest... great way to have people come to your event in time... & a stupendous way to make your hash tag a trending hash tag.. woah #skyscanning... a successful hash tag helps you build thousands of followers within a day.. imagine if the same hash tag was being promoted by 400 people at one time!!! woah... huge!!!

You may think what a weird thing to mention.. but the fact is.. as a marketer.. i tend to notice such things... so when i reached Le Meridien (dot on time)... there were a handful of people... as it was my first time at the meet... knowing anyone here personally... was sorta impossible... so I just struck a conversation with a lost soul.. she looked like an introvert... so i asked her what is it that she blogs about & travel it was.. i was like... cool.. a travel enthusiast & blogger at a meet that has been organized by a travel search engine... I many be a misfit... but we continued talking & she asked me how many people will be coming.. i said, this is my first time here.. but my guess is even if there is a 3/4th drop ratio.. it still should be around a 100... that's the ratio we marketers in the IT field use... so it was my estimate!

By the time the registrations opened... the place was flooded... my estimate of a 100 was definitely surpassed.. I was surprised to see that apart from the singlet bloggers... there were couples & families.. commendable, i thought to myself.. on one hand.. my family does not understand what i keep keying into my computer.. & other hand, there are families that are doing it together... so cool... I was so amused by this... so amused, that I was amongst the last few to key in my name into the registration lappies in front of us...

By chance, the lady in front of my registration lappy was Diana & I asked her if she could let me know how this event will pan out... (she remembered me... as the somebody by the name G!... i must say commendable.. to remember the people who registered with your event for the 1st time! I was pleasantly surprised!).. she guided me to Karthik.. he first offered me a lanyard & then we walked & talked... the man is patient... with the no. of things he was supposed to do (including the transfer of gifts from lobby to inside the Sovereign ball room, which he had right there in his hands), he still answered my questions... till he got a call... he suggested to have fun.. well.. that was my intention in the first place!

I recced the ball room.. a round table set up with 7-8 chairs per table... a big podium... the stage was at least 1 feet high... 1 backdrop.. 2 screens... 2 each of 3 uniques standees.. the white & light blue colors (a standee also had a green).. so soothing to the eyes... i noticed that gift wrapping was in silver.. it all felt joyous. I have been in the same room before.. last year I attended a CII Infrastructure Management Services based event here... they only used half the space though... the funny part is... I don't recall much more about the event except that even though it was in the same location, that one was dull... but it did bring a sweet memory.. The Le Meridien fish! As I turned my head to the food area.. my sight was flooded with people... Alright.. I remembered... we start the meet with lunch... Oh yea.. the foodie in me was exhilirated! The fish there.. & the jalebi.. if I would have died right then.. I would have gone in peace!

But because I did not die... I made friends.. The networking guy in me made me wanna meet as many people as I can... within 30 mins of chit chat I had found 4 people who were connected with me via IndiVine... I got to know that the most common form of blog is the "Personal" blog... people tend to find their niche basis their passion off the same... travel.. technology.. food.. fashion.. they are a subset... that become your niche basis your knowledge!

There were about 400 unknown faces there... but somehow.. it still was so warm & welcoming... you could just walk up to anyone & start like with a fresh page... I even made blogger friends in the little ladies room.. actually, I made a red pants blogger sister team with the IndianHomeMaker... She had been to 4 - 5 blogger meets before.. so she assured me it will be fun... & was it fun!!!

I mean.. we started the meet with lunch.. followed by the contest results (the tripod selfie guy won the domestic travel tickets... hmph.. So Jealous man!) hmmmm, i thought now will be some serious stuff.. so I seated myself... I sat with a bunch of 4 boys.. we introduced ourselves... 2 of them were tech bloggers... 1 was a love & relationship blogger & the 4th one had a personal blog... 2 more guys joined us.. both of them were tech bloggers too... this table has too many engineers I thought to myself... Note - I am an engineer too! & you know what engineers do when they are in a class... They Sleep... So bring on your salesy pitch Skyscanner.. we are ready to sleep it off... But Indiblogger surprised us... there was yet another contest... The selfie contest!!! more hash tags for skyscanning i thought!

If you know me.. you would know that I am soooooooooooo not a fan of the selfie... unless it is the coveted selfie I take at my photographer friend's studio (click Aman Shaw if interested in a folio).. who is it that I wanna go with on a domestic vacation here??? you know who I chose? The bhoot.

My tag line - Merepe travel ka bhoot chada!

you know who won?
ofcourse... not me...
it was the honeymoon couple...
they are happy & gay... (sheer pun - nobody sue me, okay!)

we had the power to choose which 2 people go for the domestic tour... & off the 4 pictures selected... maximum votes went to the honeymoon couple.. if only Barney Stinson was here.. he would have witnessed the Indian bromance!

This was followed by a very brief session about Sky scanner... when.. where.. how... I am in love with everything English.. so I was interested in the story... the fact that Skyscanner was formed by 3 Scottish men because 1 of them was having troubles finding cheap flights to ski resorts.. makes me believe "in every trouble, lies an opportunity" (if nobody said that already, I'd like a copyright)... such an inspiration... We simultaneously had the tweet about your International travel dream destination contest (more hash tags.. btw.. i won a cool wrist band USB for my tweet - if I find it cool as a marketer... imagine how the non-marketers feel)... Then we moved onto actually learning about the Skyscanner app.. okay, so.. I have been to multiple events.. trust me when I say, this was the most fun!

I mean who does a Treasure hunt to teach someone how to use an app... this was sooooo much better than doing a regular demo.. there is something about direct interface... & skyscanner got it bang on.. by giving us a treasure hunt... they were able to teach us how to use the sky scanner app... it is a user friendly app... I can say so.. because i was the designated find out the cost as per the permutations of travel from location X to Y in my team... This also helped skyscanner learn the thought process of their end customer & they may be bring in some tweaks to suit their Indian customers... we din't win this one.. but it was great fun working with so many people for the first time.. & there was no fighting or screaming.. or expectations... we all wanted to win... but it was pure fun & games! I even got the Indiblogger photographer to take a group picture of our entire team!

This was followed by hi-tea (how english :)) with the croissants & the pastries... oh sweet delight... but what was sweeter was the fact that a fashion blogger walked upto me & said "you're a fashion blogger.. right?".. She was a quite sure that I am... & complimented me quite a bit for my style.. I told her how my sister is a fashion merchandiser & just hates my style... but she re-assured, that i look awesome... now c'mon... let me bask a bit in this... all women like to be complimented... even if it is fake.. & this one felt damn real!!!

It had been a good day by far... & then started the share your travel stories... I was grinning ear to ear when the doctor couple (wife) told about their their sweet love story... it sounded like travelling binds them! i was all "aaaaaaaaawwwwie" in my head... & must have laughed at something when the Indiblogger photographer took a solo photo of me.. I am photogenic & I think the picture came out cute... so thank you!

Then we had a open panel on the safest places... you know.. which is the safest place.. SINGAPORE!!! Like Singapore.. seriously?? In 1945, (right after the war - Battle of Sgp & Japanese Occupation) Singapore had shortage of food... no electricity... no water supply... & hence... extreme crime & violence.. & India preached non-violence in 1947.. & Singapore is the safest country??? It is... It really is!! In 2011... Law of Index ranked Singapore in the top countries surveyed for Order & Security.... If Singapore can do it.. so can we.. right? We also discussed about the safety of women.. I have already penned down my thoughts about the same here. That was some brainstorming I must say.. but the fun wasn't over... Becuase.. I have never seen a 400 people single shot picture taken before... & it happened right there... woah... what fun... & a great meet came to an end...

So... we all walked outta the door... in a line as suggested... it amused me that 400 people actually cared enough to follow instructions after a meeting.. I mean my experience tells me that after a 1/2 a day event... everyone rushes at the door like it will magically expand & allow everyone through!!! hahaha... but not here.. this sorta discipline... just fabulous... & it had a perfect reason... as we all moved outta the room... we were handed 2 tee-shirts each (both skyscanner & indiblogger - i love the fact that I now have a tee shirt that I can proudly wear & which clearly states that "no animals were harmed in the making of my blog"... we moved along & were handed a pouch & a tag... I loved the tag... as marketers... we like to give souvenirs that people will keep & use... I mean.. if im travelling & have an skyscanner tag on my luggage... not only is it easier to locate... but also draws attention of fellow travelers... & the pouch opened up into a bag.. so damn cool!!!

The day ended at that & I got home to unwind.. thought about adding a few fellow bloggers i met onto my Indivine network... & got to the indiblogger page.. & voila.. the pictures from the event were uploaded already... I mean none of my vendors has ever given me the photographs/videos of my event before 2 days & here.. it was a matter of few hours... & there already were likes & tags & comments.. & a fellow blogger asked me if I had struck a deal with the event photographer for taking solo pictures of me (I got 2, you see).. & all i had to say was, oh dear boy... I'm photogenic... a photographer's delight! He's delighted & so am I.. hahahaha!!! & the day ended on this high note.. I must say.. this Indiblogger-Skyscanner meet made my entire day an absolute delight!

Thank You - You Made me smile!


  1. Aaawwww G! Great writeup. Iv neva been to an IB meet and how I wish Bangalore gets to host one this year

    1. I'm sure they will have one soon & you will enjoy! :)