I am just now catching my breath after a crazy time last week with Affiliate Summit Central 2012 and ShareASale ThinkTank 2012 back to back in Austin, TX.
ShareASale ThinkTank 2012 took place May 16-18, 2012 at the Lakeway Resort & Spa on Lake Travis.
ThinkTank is a different kind of affiliate network event.
It’s exclusive, and all invited affiliates (there is an application process) are able to register for the accommodations, food, and entertainment at a nominal fee ($50 this year).
The first day started with attendees playing golf with CEO Brian Littleton. I didn’t make it out to the course this year, because I was wrapping up Affiliate Summit Central, and then I had to run a practice for one of my daughter’s soccer teams. A benefit of having the event near my home.
Anyhow, I got there just in time to check-in, and part of the package they gave to all attendees was a personalized, color-coded shirt to indicate the type of attendee they were.
I got orange, which was the color for merchants/advertisers (Affiliate Summit affiliate program).
Then I went to the OPMs & Appetizers Welcome Reception, where there were a series of OPM (outsourced program manager) tables, and each had a signature appetizer.
Networking went late into the evening, and it was great to meet a lot of new folks.
The next morning started with an 8am breakfast, followed by a couple rounds of educational sessions.
Then we had a number of Affiliate-Merchant Private Meetings, where dozens of companies got face time with a bunch of current and future affiliates.
This was a great opportunity for us to meet with affiliates to chat in 15 minute segments on how we could better work together.
We then headed out to a tasty barbecue lunch outside, followed by an afternoon on Lake Travis.
This was a fantastic time where ShareASale arranged for a fleet of pontoon boats, ski boats, jet skis, a yacht, and a party boat.
Networking, sun, and fun!
After everybody got cleaned up, Affiliate Summit hosted a poolside party for the ShareASale ThinkTank attendees.
We provided a mixture of hors d’eouvres: mini beef wellington, mini BBQ beef slider on challah bun, chicken quesadilla with peppers and jack cheese, mini jumbo lump crab cake on jalapeno aioli, lobster and mango spring roll, tuna tar tar with toasted sesame seeds in a cucumber cup, and vegetarian eggrolls), as well as a mashed potato martini bar, Texas fajitas, and a prime rib of beef carving station.
And then there was an open bar with cocktails, wine and beer, plus live music from FallenAsh.
This was followed by some more networking and ShareASale Founder & CEO, Brian Littleton, playing the piano and singing with the crowd.
This was a good time to sing poorly and chat up more attendees of ThinkTank.
I made sure to do plenty of both.
The final day kicked off with yet another tasty networking breakfast.
More tasty food, much needed coffee, and chatting with a table of smart affiliate marketers. That’s always a great thing.
After breakfast, there were more Affiliate-Merchant Private Meetings, and then some educational sessions.
One that I liked in particular was a discussion with Scott Jangro about the platform, Shareist, which he currently has in Beta. Those who attended Affiliate Summit Central or ShareASale ThinkTank got codes to join the Beta.
I’ll be playing with it a lot in the coming month.
The sessions were followed by a nice lunch, where I really enjoyed the food and conversation, but was most intrigued by the debut of the ShareASale Merchant Catalogue.
This is a printed directory of affiliate programs in the ShareASale network.
I can’t speak for other affiliates, but this is a really neat thing to me. I don’t typically keep tabs on the latest news in the affiliate networks, but I’ll read it all in print.
I hope this is a regular resource for affiliates in the future.
Finally, there was the closing ShareASale “Things We Need to Fix” Session.
This was an open forum, hosted by Brian Littleton, where attendees are able to share their thoughts on improvements and changes.
It’s a gutsy thing to subject yourself to any and all comments and questions about your company, and I comment Brian for doing this each year.
Thank you to Brian Littleton and his team for a classy event filled with business, tips, new relationships, and great times.
Check out the Tweets from ThinkTank with hashtag #thinktank12.
Pictures: ShareASale ThinkTank 2012