Travel Archive

Digital Marketing Conferences are a Lot Like London Buses

I remember my first post on the Microsoft adCenter Blog (now Bing Ads) was similarly titled to the above. I’d just got back from about three conferences in a week that had crept up on me after a drought of face-to-face contact with people in the industry.

Well, 7 years on and this summer has been pretty bonkers in that regard.

First there was the BrightEdge #Share13 event in August during which I spoke about loving links beyond SEO on behalf of Majestic, who I have had the pleasure of being their US Brand Ambassador for over a year now.

Mel Carson #SearchLove

On Stage at Distilled’s #SearchLove Conference

Then it was off to San Diego for #SearchLove organized by those lovely guys from Distilled. There, I was asked to speak about the book and kicked off proceedings by Celebrating the People Behind the Pixels. It was one of those conferences where your brain bleeds with the influx of new and scintillating information. Thanks to them for the invite. I’ve only just recovered!

Finally it was back to San Francisco for SES and a solo session on The Marriage of PR and Social Media, which went well enough for me to hopefully get asked back in the new year for their New York event.

Next week I’ll be in New York for SMX East and then Vegas for Pubcon, so you can imagine how the missus feels about it!

During the BrightEdge event, I was interviewed by the fabulous Murray Newlands from Search Engine Journal which you can view above. I was talking about how you can use Majestic link data to discover influencers for PR outreach, especially as it’s so easy to see competitor link information.

I’ll also be spending 3 weeks with the family in the UK during November for meetings and a couple speaking gigs, so will be getting a few pints of real ale and pork pies in to satisfy my cravings!

If you’re in London in November, let me know as I hope to meet up with some old faces while I’m there!

Book Update, Happy New Year and Fitbit

We’re already four days into 2013, I’ve just done a five mile run on the shores of Lake Washington and I’m writing this before delving back into some fascinating client work.


The book is going well and we have started releasing excerpts from each of the Pioneers so you can get a flavour of what their chapter is about.

Here are the first four: Thomas Gensemer from Blue State Digital, June Cohen from TED, Denzyl Feigelson from AWAL and Avinash Kaushik from Google.

We’ll update you next week with another four and so on. We hope they spur you on to buy the book and share it with friends and family. Winking smile

I’ll be travelling with my family to the UK in a couple of weeks as we have our official “Pioneers of Digital” book launch at JWT’s offices in Knightsbridge, plus I have some client meetings.

The other thing is, I have bought a Fitbit pedometer and think it is simply awesome!


The idea is it tracks your steps and keeps you motivated once it’s synced with your computer or iPhone (which I don’t have ;-() It’s all part of my plan to lose 30lbs in the next 6 months. 30lbs sounds a lot but I want a big goal to aim for.

Pretty much my whole US family is travelling to Phoenix for the 1/2 marathon at the start of March so I’m using that as a goal for fitness and weightloss (and so I don’t have to drag quite so much weight around with me).

Check out the site and see all their different options. I’ve had it since Christmas and it literally doesn’t leave my side!

Happy New Year. Thanks for all the support in 2012. Here’s to a cracking 2013!

Social Media & Escape to the Country AGAIN!!


Over 3 years ago Ashley and I appeared on the UK property show Escape to the Country.

All these years later, it’s STILL getting repeated (must be more than 10 times now so they’re getting their mileage out of it) and every time I find out through social media.

The above was taken by our friend Katie who lives in Sussex and she posted it to her Facebook page tagging me saying “AGAIN!???”

Another friend, Carey, posted:


But these are friends. People that know us.

What about people who don’t? Well when I know we’ve been on, I love to see what people are saying on Twitter:


All pretty innocuous right? But good fun to eavesdrop on complete strangers’ viewing habits.



My next favourite things is to reply to people who say things like that:


To which I got an immediate reply:


And then:


Now this was all a bit naughty of me and the lady then got chatty and was very nice (that’s why I’ve scrubbed her name out, although you could easily work out who she was) but it just goes to show what kind of feedback social media can provide and just how people react when, as she says, they are “rumbled”.

Food for thought for brands on a bigger scale?

BTW if you’ve seen the show, we couldn’t afford any of the houses as the house market had crashed between when we applied and when we did the filming. It was good fun and Alistair Appleton was a lovely man!

Giddy On Up to Pioneertown Motel and Pappy and Harriets

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When my brother-in-law Josh suggested the whole family go to a place called Pioneertown for a few days, we weren’t too sure what we were letting ourselves in for.

By “we” I mean Ashley, Maggie and me, Josh and his wife Colleen and toddler Julia, their sister Aubrey and her husband Chason and the sisters’ parents Bob and Nancy.

Yes, in all TEN of us!!!

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We had a blast.

Pioneertown is in California, about 30 minutes from Palm Springs and near the Joshua Tree National Park. It was built in the 1940s to be a set for western films and TV shows.

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We were staying at the Pioneertown Motel who looked after us very well. Eccentric but clean rooms, they provided little kitchenettes, coffee and water even though we were only paying about $60 per night!

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The main drag was pretty empty when we got there. This saddle-maker was open at the weekend and there’s a really good pottery that sells some nice wares, but all in all it’s generally a tourist destination to visit for a few hours, or somewhere to use as a base to explore the park, which I’ll write about in another post.

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The highlight for me was the night we spent at the local BBQ restaurant which is in the town and only open a few nights a week. Pappy and Harriet’s does quite the most amazing food. The chef told us they get through over 500lbs of beef a week!

Josh and I cracked out our Outlier set and did 3 songs at the Monday night open mic spot which was great fun……..before we got stuck into the tequila and the rest is a bit of a blur!

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Being there in March was great as the days were very warm (75 degrees), but as soon as the sun went down it did get chilly.

Thanks from all of us to Josh for his enthusiasm in getting us all to go down there. Really recommend a few days at the motel, if only for the novelty value and a fantastic steak at Pappy and Harriet’s.

If Pioneertown doesn’t grab you, Joshua Tree National Park will, so check back in a few days to read about that!

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in America


Remnants from last night…

Ask me yesterday how many St. Paddy’s days I’d celebrated in England over the last 40 years, and I’d have replied precisely “zero”.

We just don’t do it. I don’t know anyone who does.

But in America?

By the time the England v Ireland 6 Nations Rugby game started yesterday (10am PST) the lovely McGilvra’s, in Seattle’s Madison Park area, was starting to fill up with people wearing green tops, socks and even green fingernail polish.

These people were not there for the rugby – we beat the Irish on their special day in case you were wondering Winking smile – they were there for the craic.

By the time the game finished the place was starting to burst for lunch and was doubtless thumping well into the night.

Later in the day, Ashley and I ended up hosting 10-odd people for dinner – corned beef and cabbage cooked fabulously by her sister Colleen – and we got through a good amount of Guinness and (my favourite stout) Murphy’s.

For a Brit whose heritage is most definitely Irish on at least one side of the family, I find the whole “holiday” thing surrounding St. Patrick’s Day astounding and endearing.

For such a proud nation, that leaps to its feet at the opening bars of the Star-Spangled Banner, the fact the whole country seems to turn green on the 17th March every year (even if the person in Gaelic fancy dress has “zero” connection with The Emerald Isle), just shows how relaxed they are about the cultural melting pot they’ve become and how up for a good time they are.

Since I’ve lived in the US, I’ve been to Jewish festivals, Greek festivals, Halloween parties, Oktoberfest shindigs and the obligatory 4th of July party. For most of them, they were firsts for me.

Although I initially balked at the thought of “celebrating” St. Patrick’s Day through my in-built British sense of “ but that’s for them”, I’m glad I did, as we all had a blast.

Now I’m looking forward to St George’s Day on April 23rd which I’m going to be proud to celebrate with my new Seattle family.

Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding anyone?

The Race – British Airways Ad

Love this ad from BA in time for the run up to The Olympics. Makes me feel a bit home sick actually. That coupled with imagining little Maggie as that little girl…….sniff…..[reaches for tissues]!

Update: Check out their Facebook Page too. There’s a great competition going on there right now for free flights:

Photo: Seattle Skyline at Sunrise


As we set off for our trip to Victoria BC on the Clipper, I ran upstairs on deck and took these dramatic photos of the Seattle skyline.


Quite by chance, I managed to get the entire vista just as the sun was peeking over the top of the buildings with my Panasonic Lumix G2 camera.


I also whipped out my Windows Phone and snapped the above…


….using the fab Apict App to create the above.

So many people who don’t live here seem to think Seattle is a dreary, rainy city. These photos show it’s not!

Maggie’s Got a Passport


“But where’s my UK passport daddy?”

We’re off to London to see The Queen in a couple of weeks (oh and to see some family and friends too!)

The US passport process was very easy and now Maggie has her own. Ashley said getting her to lie still for the photo was a fun experience (!)

Now for the British one……

Blue Angels Aerobatics Display at Seattle Seafair 2011

Who needs to go down to Lake Washington for Seafair, when you can watch the Blue Angels from the comfort of your own home?

Filmed from our deck, they flew so low they set off car alarms on our street. Check out the very cool final frame fly past!

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