Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Conference Unlike Any Other, @MiamiDevice

I'm not quite sure how to even put into words what an experience like #MiamiDevice was.



I was contacted a little over a year ago, by Felix Jacomino, to ask me if I would consider being a featured presenter at a brand new conference coming up.  When he told me it was in Miami, I of course said YES!  Little did I know how amazing it would be.




I have been to MANY conferences.  I have been to some really great conferences and some that I didn't enjoy quite as much.  But none compare to Miami Device.





From the moment I boarded my plane in Houston, to the moment I landed back in Houston 4 days later, there was not one negative thing that happened or one thing I would change from the entire time.





I also had the extreme pleasure of bringing one of my best friends, and my campus instructional coach, Aaron Marvel along for the ride.  He had only been to one really small conference before this, so I knew he was going to have his mind blown.





The reason that Miami Device was unlike any other conference I've been to was because of how it was all set up.  There were about only 350 people there, but the caliber of presenters was HUGE!  They had Tony Vincent, Kevin Honeycutt, Wes Fryer, Lisa Johnson, Jeremy Macdonald, Janet Corder, Jed Dearybury, Erin Klein, Brad Waid, Dave Guymon, and soooo many more.  And because the conference was so small you go to interact with people and have these amazing conversations that don't always happen when you're at those larger conferences.



Felix put together more than a conference though.  He put together and experience.  The swag was top notch, the food served for breakfast and lunch was incredible and authentic to the area, he had a Miami band play a show at the end.  He brought in YouTube star Daniel Kim (PopDanthology) and recent Bammy winner, 13 year old Joshua Williams (Joshua's Heart).  I mean he hit the nail on the head in every way with this conference.





I leave with learning so many great tools.  But I also leave with the distinct reminder that without relationship building, these conferences only mean so much.  What does that mean?  I can attend a conference and fill my head with lots of great ideas and tools.  But when I leave a conference like Miami Device, and I've chosen to spend just as much time in conversation with others, my learning increases 10 fold.  I strengthened relationships, built new ones, and learned more in small group and one on one settings than ever before.



I look back at the over 200 photos I snapped while at Miami Device, and I scan back over my countless tweets, and tears are brought to my eyes with wonderful memories.  I can't believe I had dinner with Tony Vincent or Felix Jacomino.  I can't believe I spent my Saturday with Joshua Williams and his mother touring Miami.  I can't believe I got to hang out with my buddies Paul Carver, Russell Kahle, and Jed Dearbury for a few days.  I can't believe Erin Klein, Aaron Marvel and I stumbled upon a fashion show at Miami Beach and got to walk the red carpet!  I can't believe my buddy Aaron Marvel got to experience it all with me.  There are just so many countless experience that will not be soon forgotten.







So to Felix Jacomino, I say thank you.  Thank you for working tirelessly to make this an experience to remember.  Felix is truly one of the most incredible men I've ever met and so hard working.  He put countless hours into Miami Device, and it showed.  It went off without a hitch (at least from the outside looking in haha).  But this conference wouldn't have happened without a man like Felix willing to put the work in.  He brought together a great team that helped him bring this all together.  But most of all Felix worked tirelessly to make sure each and every attendee got taken care of.  He was everywhere.  Thank you Felix, I'm not sure you'll ever understand the impact and mark you left on thousands.  You are incredible.