I spent the first half of this week in New Orleans, speaking at Inc magazine’s GrowCo conference. Longtime readers will recall that visiting New Orleans was on my List of 100 Dreams. I was supposed to go last year for a different conference but then I had a few things fall apart and I needed to stay in PA. So I was glad I got another chance this year. Some highlights:
Seeing Bourbon street at night. We had a “VIP dinner” for speakers (well, some speakers – Sheryl didn’t come!) at Galatoire’s, which is a restaurant on Bourbon street. I walked there around 7:30 p.m., on a Monday, and already the revelers were out. It was fun to see a place I’ve read about so much.
Walking around the French Quarter. I skipped the morning stuff on Tuesday (I wasn’t speaking until the afternoon) and I had breakfast in a little spot hidden around the corner, with a real southern biscuit that was worth every single carbohydrate in it. Then I walked around for half an hour enjoying the architecture and diversity of establishments (high end restaurants and galleries right next to adult stores – that sort of thing).
Hearing Sheryl Sandberg speak in a non-Lean In, non-Option B context. She was at the conference speaking about adapting your business for mobile, which is her actual business expertise as the COO of Facebook. My take-away: I should adapt this website and my newsletters more for mobile. Also, I really need to do more Facebook Live videos. I’ll admit I’m a wee bit gun shy after getting trolled on the last one I did.
Chatting with people about their businesses. I love the ideas people come up with in our free enterprise system. There are truly millions of ways to make money. The reality of entrepreneurial life is that there are also a million ways to lose money, but this was a group of happy risk takers. One woman started a business doing consignment sales for equestrian products. The idea is to make it (semi) affordable for people to take up riding, and she also supports riding programs in areas where you wouldn’t expect there to be riding programs. I love that.
Speaking. I saw people taking notes and hopefully they got some helpful tips. I really love connecting with audiences. I am surprised how much I enjoy public speaking, but I really do.
Running in the Sheraton fitness room. I have become quite a connoisseur of hotel gyms, and this one was great. Adequate treadmills, spacious, etc. Could have used a few more 5-10 lb weights, but oh well.
Sleeping. This may not be the normal experience of New Orleans, but I can drink at home. I cannot easily get 8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep at home. So I let myself go to bed early and wake up at reasonable hours. It was awesome. Going to bed early is how grown-ups sleep in.
Marching in a second line parade. This was kind of nutty. The conference arranged for us to have a short “parade” to our Tuesday night dinner venue about two blocks away. We grabbed our drinks and marched behind the band through the lovely Louisiana night. Not too hot, with the setting sun twinkling on the buildings. Lovely.