The PAB2012 family picture
It’s done. PAB2012 was this past June, and it was the final instalment in the adventure that began 7 years ago.
It’s a rare privilege to be able to decide when a long term project ends. There are plenty of examples of projects that were cut short by external forces, or even worse, allowed to run too long. Although part of me is sad the event is over, there’s a strong sense that this was the right time to end PAB, and I’m left with a great sense of satisfaction at what we accomplished from 2006-2012.
I find it interesting now to step back and look at PAB as a body of work, as opposed to a string of individual events. There’s a whole lot I’m proud of about what we did with PAB, and thankfully, there’s nothing I regret, though there are things from which I learned.
One of the things I’m most proud about PAB is the content evolution it took. Podcasting is what brought the group together initially, but it stopped being about podcasting once the how-to information became easily accessible. We could have gone the easy route, and become an event about social media and online interaction. Somehow, while we couldn’t put our finger on it, we knew that this wasn’t the place to go with this group of people. Good stories and being human is what created the connections, and we did our best to grow from that.
Of course when the core aims of a project don’t include ‘make money’, it allows us to be bigger risk takers, and choose speakers/directions that weren’t all based on google-juice. I won’t name any here, for fear of leaving someone out. Suffice to say almost everyone who ever presented at PAB enriched me as a person.
PAB wouldn’t have happened at all without Mark Blevis, I’ve told the story many times, and will again for a beer , Mark took an idea for a camping meetup, added the conference framework around it, and helped make it reality. Neither of us had ever organized a conference before, and somehow, we did rather well if I do say so myself. Through the ups and downs of this project, we were fortunate to have the other up when one of us was down. We were an incredible team, and I hope we get to do it somewhere again. It’s a good thing we used our powers for good.
The biggest lesson Mark taught me is that you need to give people a chance to say ‘No’. If you want to ask someone for something, don’t assume that ‘no’ will be their answer and not ask them. Make sure you give them the opportunity (in some cases, multiple opportunities, hehe) to say no. You just might be surprised, and get a “Yes” instead.
I purposefully didn’t blog pre-PAB this year, I didn’t want to build hype or anything, I wanted PAB to be PAB. If someone didn’t get it by now, they never would, and that’s ok.
In seven years, PAB could have evolved to become a lot of different things. Now, as I look back, I realize that PAB was, exactly, what it was meant to be.