I haven’t put a bow on anything besides a gift here and there, and last I checked, bows aren’t something you can put on typed words, either. And there’s certainly no bow large enough to be put on the Dad 2.0 Summit.
I hitched a ride (thanks Kia) from the airport to the Ritz-Carlton and took a walk down Bienville to meet three men I only ever “seen” online – American Jeff Bogle and two Canadians, Chris Read and Mike Reynolds. We stayed up talking (romantic, eh?) until well after midnight before deciding to finally call it a night. And despite personally being a little unsure of what their level of acceptance may be, my mind was immediately put at ease. So thanks for that and I think I was told I’m an honorary Canadian now, as I needed a third Canadian’s vote (in this case Casey Palmer) to secure my citizenship.
The day began with the Ritz allowing us to check in at 9am, which was totally unexpected and appreciated. I then took to foot on a self-guided walking tour to snap some photos and followed that up with a stroll to Café Beignet for some, you guessed it, beignets. Around noon, we left the hotel for the Best Buy Drone Excursion and tour of the
abandoned Market Street Power Plant, which was unexpected/great news, as well as a delicious lunch from the Fête au Fête food truck. I somehow weaseled my way into a video for Best Buy (despite looking twitchy and itchy as all get out early on) talking about my experience “flying” the DJI Mavic Air. The power plant tour that followed was cool as shit as well and I’m kinda still kicking myself for not bringing my actual camera with me.After checking in to the conference and getting my lanyard and Dove Men+Care swag, I headed to the room to drop it off and relax before the welcome party in the courtyard. Hundreds of attendees ate, connected, conversed, imbibed, reconnected, and kicked off the 2018 Dad 2.0 Summit properly. I had the good fortune of finally meeting and talking to fellow Long Island-native and current Texan Patrick Quinn, something that happened throughout our time in New Orleans. We’re pretty much best friends now.
Breakfast gave way to Doug French’s opening remarks which officially kicked off the programming for this year’s summit. The first Blogger Spotlight was a friend I made last year, Doug Zeigler, brazenly speaking about defeating the demons he’s battled in the past. Dude has endured a lot and is brave as shit for telling his story.
The opening keynoters – NFL Hall of Famer/4x Super Bowl champion Ronnie Lott and his son, Super Bowl champ Ryan Nece – had an open conversation about fatherhood and reminded us that unlike sports, there’s no “film” we can watch to prepare for fatherhood. Ronnie (because I can call him that now) also mentioned that just because you didn’t make one “play” doesn’t mean you can’t make the next one, as the underlying sentiment of their talk was to exhaust every moment.
There were Show-How Workshops (two sessions, eight workshops) that were hard to choose between, but I attended one on personal branding with author/NYU adjunct professor Jim Joseph and the other on cooking with your kids, from the hilarious self-proclaimed “Costco Ho,” Rob Rosenthal.
A one-on-one (not with me) with Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller was followed by a panel discussing vaccines across the lifespan, which offered up some pretty eye-opening stuff thanks to the trio of panelists (Dr. Leonard Friedland, Joan Mann, and paralympic gold medalist Nick Springer). Some bullet points:
- vaccines are second behind only clean water in effective ways to prevent disease
- any vaccine recommended by the CDC is required to be covered by insurance
- make time, as adults, to get yourself vaccinated, because just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous
- trust your judgement as a parent when your child is sick
I also got the chance to hit up three of the four roundtable workshop sessions, opting for the one on photography with Joe Saladino, cartoons even though I can’t draw worth a damn (thanks Brian Gordon and Chris Grady), and even yoga and meditation with Austin Dowd, which ironically enough was interrupted by a false fire alarm.
Several of us then had the chance to meet Von Miller up close in the Best Buy brand experience and ask a question or two before being dwarfed by him in the photo-op.
Then it was happy hour followed by a late dinner at Brennan’s, home of the first Bananas Foster, with some of the other City Dads. We closed it down and were treated to a table-side pyrotechnics show that came with the making of the famous dessert.
Breakfast. Blogger Spotlights. Breakwell. Bravery. Brittlestar. Breakout Sessions. Lotta Bs on Saturday.
James Breakwell (Xploding Unicorn), author/internet-famous/real-life nobody, gave a great talk on starting your own wild-fire (not literally). Jorge Narvaez went all in on a story he’d never shared that focused on ladybugs. Canada’s Stewart Reynolds, aka Brittlestar, reminded everyone that despite waiting being sometimes pretty awesome, we should, because it sucks. And to be punk and just go for it.
I got to drive the brand new Kia Stinger with Cincy Dads organizer Brock Lusch, taking it to some abandoned old exit off I-10. I’m not a sports car fanatic, but it was pretty rad taking this thing for a spin.
I got a chance to chat with Blogger Spotlight 5, who goes by Andrew Knott for some reason, after he read a humorous post about being “in the thick of it” and adequately functioning on minimal sleep as you strive to keep your inner torch lit.
There was also a City Dads Group breakout (kinda) where I got the chance to meet organizers from other CDG cities around the country, which was pretty awesome since I’ve only ever “seen” the vast majority online.
And finally, Google’s Education Evangelist Jaime Casap (who’s ridiculously awesome keynote I’ll try delving into at a later date) closed out the programming.
I then proceeded to meet up and take a stroll with the three Canadians I’d forged friendships with, meandering down Bourbon Street, stopping at Crescent City Pizza Works (twice) for what was actually pretty decent pizza.
Low-key night, in bed by 11pm, because after three-plus action-packed, informative days in the Crescent City, it was almost time to fly home to see my crew, since we all know FaceTime sessions with the kids turn into talking to yourself or staring at the ceiling or better yet the darkness of the floor.
I was in the lobby at 5:30am, along with Mike Cruse, Spike, Lance, and once I figured out how the shit to secure an Uber, we were left with hugs from the guy I met when it all started Wednesday night, Jeff.
Around 3pm, I was back in the car with my crew, two kids passed out because it was their nap time, and Dad 2.0 Summit officials wrapped.
I said it in my last post, I don’t much like crowds, but the men and women I had the good fortune of meeting, hanging out with, and speaking to in New Orleans – Dave, Mike, Roo, the Plum crew, just to name a few – further convinced me that this is the crowd I
kinda enjoy being around.
Until next year (hopefully) in San Antonio, thanks for a kick-ass weekend.