One of our favorite stories from Evolutions is from a gentleman named Squirrel Rosenberg – host of the SQR podcast. We asked Squirrel if he would be willing to share his story about how he found out about Evolutions and what benefits from his experience attending the event.
Serendipitous: occurring or discovered by chance happily or beneficially.
It's the perfect adjective for what I experienced this weekend on a romantic getaway to Sonoma with my wife, Ellie. Excited about the trip, she surprised me with first-class tickets from New York to LAX, where we were scheduled to spend a few days before driving up to Sonoma.
Arriving early to Newark International Airport was our goal, which we accomplished. So we sat down to have a quick bite and wait for our boarding. After eating, we walked towards the gate. I noticed that we still had a few minutes to use the restroom before the doors closed, which we quickly did. As we got back to the gate, we were told the doors are closed, and we would have to take the next flight out, and unfortunately, there would be no first-class seats.
Frustrated, angry, disappointed, all the emotions I dealt with realizing I won't be able to stretch my legs and really relax in first-class as intended. Ellie immediately said, “This is for a reason. I don't know what it is, but this is for a reason. Let’s calm down catch the next flight out at 11”, which we did. Cramped in coach for a five and a half hour flight to LA, we settled in, with my wife’s constant reminder of the fact we missed our first plane for an unknown reason; but she knew it was for a reason. This was a pretty uneventful flight.
We arrived at LAX and disembarked. Neil Beck, who was also there on behalf of B&H offering advice and solutions for podcasting, noticed my SQR Podcast sweatshirt I was wearing. He enthusiastically asked if I was here for Evolutions (which happened to be in town that weekend, unbeknownst to us).
Ellie and I looked at each other, mouths agape. “What podcast conference? Where is it being held? How do we get involved?” These were all the questions that came spilling out of my mouth 3 seconds after hearing Neil's description. We left LAX with a new mission; to get to our hotel, get settled, find out all we can about the podcast conference, as well as how to get involved.
The first item on our list for Thursday morning was to get to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. We wanted to research and make a decision, as we were scheduled to take the 6-hour drive up to Sonoma Friday morning. With my wife, Ellie, as a team leader, we quickly went online and realized the only ticket left was the most expensive ticket. The change of plans included the expense of staying back in LA for the additional 2 days. It also required a flight to San Francisco on Sunday morning to meet my wife. This would allow us to visit Sonoma together as planned before flying back to NJ on Tuesday. With so many moving parts, this was a test to see how bad I wanted it.
We pulled the trigger, bought the tickets, and jumped knee-deep into all the sessions provided on Thursday. The energy in the entire conference was one of support, fresh new ideas, and growth, which was more apparent with all the speakers.
Getting back to our hotel on Thursday night, we were so excited about what I experienced, and the fact that we made the decision to get involved immediately. We decided that my wife would take the solo drive to Sonoma after dropping me off at the Biltmore Friday morning. I went into the rest of the conference with an aggressive game plan: to visit all the seminars, take notes, meet with speakers, and to leave an impression on everyone I came across. As my sacrifice was more spontaneous and costly, I had to focus and put the work in to get the most significant ROI.
Podcast Movement Evolutions did not disappoint. Meeting Dan Franks, and seeing the time he took out of his hectic day to hear my journey made me feel at home. Being able to meet all the vendors I have read about or looked up online was priceless. The warm reception from Roni Gosch of Podbean added a special touch to my experience, as Podbean is the platform used at SQR Podcast. Tamika Campbell from iHeart Podcast Network was extraordinarily inviting and informative. Sarah Van Mosel of Stitcher was approachable and very receptive. Daniel Raynaud of Jive World has a wealth of knowledge as it pertains to translating podcasts into different languages. Neil Beck and Tina Dasaro from B&H were extraordinarily knowledgeable. They displayed the perfect devices to take your show to the next level. The support and love from all the fellow podcasters were terrific. Deborah Kagan from “The Real Undress Podcast” gave me some great ideas to implement. Tania Woods’ from “The Inkfully podcast,” Nivi Achanta’s from “Soap Box Project,” Meha Chiraya & Archita Fritz’ from “The Nine Oh Six Podcast” and Laala Matias (Blogger), made a long-lasting impression.
Initially, I was not aware of the massive support from vendors and fellow podcasters to aid in making a substantial footprint in podcast space. My flight to San Francisco to meet Ellie was filled with gratitude for the experience. The sacrifice we made as a couple, the lessons we learned and the people we met are all ingredients infused in the podcast meal I enjoyed. As I discovered by chance this beneficial opportunity. Thankful for the impact on my life and our little podcast that could and will be something significant.
Educate Entertain & Encourage