Primer for Dad 2.0 Summit: New Orleans

With my flight to New Orleans eight days away and the Dad 2.0 Summit only nine, it’s time to put in words what I’m most looking forward to this time around.

Last year was the first time I attended and it was an all-around awesome time. Still relatively new to this whole dad influencer space, I still consider myself somewhat green, but this year I’m hoping won’t be as overwhelming and intimidating (?) as last year.

Here are just a few of the reasons to get to a Dad 2.0 Summit – if not this one, then the next one.

  • Connecting/Reconnecting: Going into last year, I had actually met ZERO of the dads there. I’d only seen their faces as Facebook profile pics and in Instagram posts. I knew the names/handles, but didn’t actually know them. Several of us compete in a few different fantasy sports leagues, so I guess I kinda felt more familiarity with my fellow “owners”. But as the minutes and hours passed, I was able to connect to the guys behind those Facebook profile pics or blog names or Instagram handles. After all, there was really nothing to be worried or nervous about – we’re all dads who just happen to blog/influence/create content. In nine days, I look forward to connecting with new dads and reconnecting with those whom I formed friendships with a year ago in San Diego – the first being Madison Dads Group co-founder Eric Jacobs (whom I shared a ride to the hotel with prior to imbibing some local beers and borrowing a fridge from the front desk) and fellow Connecticut dad Kevin McKeever, who I met the next morning as he was asleep when we got in at midnight and allowed me to crash in his room. And this year I’m stoked to meet three dads I’ve never met before the summit even begins: Red Wings fanatic/pen collector Jeff Bogle, Canadian dad and super-gymnast Chris Read, and also-Canadian collector of kid-drawn tattoos and Harry Potter enthusiast Mike Reynolds. Not to mention the contingent of City Dads Group organizers and members I look forward to meeting.
  • Roundtable Workshops: If you’re more on an introvert, these right here are your sweet spot. This year’s intimate, 20-minute roundtable workshops include photography, writing, yoga/meditation, podcasting, men and relationships, crowdfunding, cartoons and how to sell them, tracking your SEO impact, and building your Twitterverse. Guarantee you’ll learn something at each table, round or not.
  • Camaraderie: We’re all dads. Roughly 90% of the conversations you’ll have with  will revolve around something pertaining to fatherhood, the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations. And regardless of backgrounds and personal beliefs, one thing we all agree on is the want and desire to raise our children to be kind, compassionate, decent human beings. Did I mention we’re all dads?
  • Food+Swag: This is the part I was definitely not expecting. The spread and beverages at the Welcome Party on the first night of the Summit was pretty damn impressive. I mean I think there might have been lobster! It’s also a great time to shake your nerves with a few drinks, allowing you the courage (should you need it) to mingle and meet dads you might’ve only known from afar. And that fodada-designed long-sleeved red tee was pretty awesome as well. Not to mention the swag/experiences brands like Dove Men+Care, Best Buy, Kia, SmartyPants – along with new sponsors Safety 1st, Hanes, and Clorox – are likely to offer up.
  • Events: Last year started with the Best Buy Drone Outing at an electric airfield and it was awesome. There were only 50 spots, and I was lucky enough to get one. This year they’re offering it again and I am once again gonna check it out – and the sights along the Mighty Mississippi River, where I think we’re flying the drones. Kia allowed drivers to test drive any one of their sweet rides. Last year LEGO sponsored and organized a trip to see The LEGO Batman Movie before it was released, so that was pretty cool. Last year it was an Orangetheory Fitness class, this year Dove Men+Care has former NFL player and founder of Pro Fitness Trainers Eric Capers jump starting/ruining our Saturday with a boot camp-style workout. And even as a Raiders fan, the fact Best Buy is bringing Denver Broncos stud linebacker Von Miller for a meet-and-greet with 50 lucky people is pretty rad.

So apologies if these five bullet points didn’t sway or motivate you to try to get to a Dad 2.0 Summit. It did for me and I’m already going!

The one gigantic drawback of attending is leaving behind your wife and kids. Even though I’ll be on the phone and/or FaceTime several times a day, I’m still gonna miss the hell out of them all. But seeing their hopefully smiling faces Sunday afternoon as I pull in the driveway will help sure the guilt of leaving for 4+ days.

See you in New Orleans! (And I’m gonna introduce myself to Doug French this time.)

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