"Yea, good times!" ~~Michael Castello
Patrick Ruddell is better known as ChefPatrick a popular blogger who had an exciting year of challenge, risk taking and change. The biggest of which was going from an entrepreneur to corporate sales broker joining our friends at Moniker.
But that's not why we are honoring Patrick with this distinction. His award is about old-fashioned marketing, reengineered for the digital world. Patrick, and all of our other selections for most fascinating people, knew that the true path to revenues and riches is to build a brand with an actual business model based on differentiation, relevance and value.
And in a crowded over-saturated me-too domain conference market he did just that, surprising everyone with a thumbs up event and memories that will last a lifetime. Acording to Ron Jackson (who was on the cruise), "It's hard to stand out in the crowded domain conference field so Patrick Ruddell (ChefPatrick.com) knew he would have to do something different when he decided he wanted to put together an event of his own. His solution was to stage the first domain conference ever held on a cruise ship - DNCruise - an event that ran Oct. 11-15 aboard the Carnival Imagination.
The boat left the port of Miami on Monday (Oct. 11) with 55 domainers on board with another 25 or so spouses, friends or
guests along for the ride. Including many I have never met and would have liked the privilege to have met.
According to Jackson, "An hour after the ship left Miami under sunny skies, the first conference event, a welcoming cocktail party, got underway in the Illusions Lounge on the 9th deck of the Imagination. Chef Patrick was there to welcome guests with a huge DNCruise ice sculpture serving notice that his was going to be a very cool event."
I enjoyed following every moment of the event via live Facebook updates from the Gilberts, Morgan Linton, David Sams and many more. Unlike the big conferences, warm intimate networking and the "family" nature of the cruise itself, meant you could get to know each other well. Jackson recalls,"Networking got underway early as the first arrivals at the welcoming cocktail party got to know each other (almost half of the guests were attending their first domain conference)."
"It didn't take long for the DNCruise registrants to become one big happy family. Everyone dined together at 8:15pm each night. Guests could switch tables each evening so they could spend time with a wider variety of fellow domainers during the four-night cruise."
"Veteran domainer Chad Folkening introduces himself at the Tuesday afternoon networking session. Many of you know Chad, who is one of the industry's biggest hitters, but the many newcomers on DNCruise were meeting him for the first time."
"David Sams, a world class TV producer who helped launch syndicated classics like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and the Oprah Winfrey show, closed out the business day with an inspiring talk about online marketing and video. At least, that is how it was listed on the agenda. It was more about dreaming big. It is something Sams has done throughout his life while following one key principle - don't let anyone tell you NO or that something you dream of doing cannot be done."
"He pointed out that in the media world, the gatekeepers who used to be in control, have been washed away by the Internet. Now everyone has ready access to low cost worldwide distribution platforms in domain names."
Sams revved up the crowd who all came back pumped and committed to keeping in touch with their new family of friends. They certainly will be back next year, and I suspect bring many others with them.
Ruddell differentiated himself as a brand in a competitive market, creating an event that didn't compete with the others or step on anyones toes. From "no way there's room for another conference" attitude before the ship left berth to "bravo" when the cruise sailed back into port and word of mouth had already spread via Facebook, this is a marketing triumph and one Patrick Ruddell should be very proud of.
Relive the memories or see what a conference at sea is like by visiting Patrick's Flickr gallery HERE.
Ruddell is shooting to do another cruise in September 2011, so get details at DNCruise.com
Photos below via DNJournal: