From now forward, I dub Debbie T. Lawrence of Macon, GA as “The Mother of Men Blogging.” Some might want to spell that “Muther” but to the lack of your satisfaction, she’d probably be pleased that you in particular did.
Five Months of Planning M3Summit
For the past five months I’ve talked with Debbie at least 10 times a day and I’ve had a Skype window open to her that without screen saver or the need to move about 10 different screens around (even with a Mac’s Spaces) it’d probably be permanently burnt into my two monitors by now. But I’ve never met her in person.
In mid-to-late January I got an email from her saying she wanted me to be a part of something big, but at the time, couldn’t tell me what it was.
In March, I found out. The Modern Media Man Summit–the first men and dads blogging conference.
I was wanting to go to SXSW in March, but those of you who are long-time readers know why that didn’t happen. But Debbie’s idea was to create a blogging conference for men like myself who were somewhat or deep into or wanting to get into blogging because, well, there isn’t a conference like that.
From the get-go, I was in.
Over time, we’ve been through a lot to put this first event together. It being a first-ever event, it’s been a challenge to convince some brands to take the risk and invest in M3. Personally, I think next year we should charge some of them a 2010 fence-sitter fee, but that’s just me.
We have, however, been blessed to work with Christopher Barger of Chevrolet to bring in our platinum sponsor for 2010. With Chevrolet comes cars to drive to Atlanta for eight of us. (I have a 2011 Traverse in my driveway with 363 miles on it. It’s sweet and more will be posted on my sister-site, TraverseAdventures.com) Additional Chevrolet cars will be on display at M3. And there will be other bonuses along the way. It’s been a great working relationship and they’ve been highly professional to work with.
And then there have been a share of those who thought that it was fine to make promises regardless of the costs. That soon stopped. (That’s where the Muther label would likely come from.) Unlike our government, at M3, we’ve resisted the temptation to spend what we don’t have, and to not make promises we can’t keep.
Through it all, Debbie has worked tirelessly to make this happen–well, she has gotten pretty run down by fatigue and by some. There’ve been days when she’s worn thin on requests that simply, for one reason or another, can’t be met whether they are contracts in place that prevent such, or potential cost overruns, or just the practicality of it all. That’s put her as the guard at the door. And I can tell you, it’s not been an easy gig for her nor would it have been for anyone else of a lesser constitution.
Some have told me she’s gruff, rude, bitchy, etc. Frankly, she’s had to be. And thankfully, at certain times, I’ve played the Pete Campbell of M3 to try to soften the impact.
We want to make M3Summit the best event it possibly can be and we are working as hard as possible to ensure that our sponsors, our exhibitors and our attendees get the best experience possible. Yes, the economy is still having an impact. Yes, this is a first-year event. Yes, this is and isn’t a lot of things. But it’s going to happen in six days from now, and with the help of a lot of guys from across the United States, with the help of some great sponsors like ManOfTheHouse.com and T-Mobile, Dad Labs, The Stats Grill in Atlanta, AM 790 The Zone and some great media partners like PitchEngine, Mashable, iContact and others, it’s going to be a great event.
No, it’s not going to be run over with people like BlogWorld Expo or even BlogHer. But remember, they weren’t either in their first year(s.)
Men in blogging is still a very young field. Some think they’ve figured out the keys to success. They’re going to be sharing some of their findings at M3. Some are still figuring out new ways to make this all worthwhile and most importantly, something profitable for themselves and their families. As CC-Chapman of Boston told me when Gillette flew me to that Yankees game back in May, “If you’re not making money doing this, you’re doing something wrong.” And like Christie Crowder said on her Blog Talk Radio Show this morning from Atlanta, this is still a wide open space. “There’s room for everybody.”
She’s right. But somewhere down the line, beginning from here, there needs to be a remembrance of a woman in Macon, GA, who fought the fights, who pushed for something she believed in, and made something incredible happen in Atlanta in September of 2010.
Yesterday, as encouragement, Debbie was quoting Teddy Roosevelt and his line about how it’s far greater to have been in the arena and lost, than to have not been in the arena at all.
Debbie, along with the help of our speakers, our advisory board, our sponsors and Kevin Roy, Dave Taylor and myself, have been brave enough to enter into this arena. And the day is just around the corner when we will all emerge better, stronger and smarter about what we’re doing in the blogosphere. And that is what makes us all get up each morning and work to make it all happen.
Thanks, Debbie. Six days till we start. Nine until we start working on 2011.