Andy Swindler

June 24, 2011

SIPA 2011 Publishing Conference in D.C. Recap

We’re big fans of the Specialized Information Publishing Association (SIPA), an organization focused on the ever-changing needs of niche publishers, typically in the B2B space. As members and speakers, we’ve enjoyed getting to know the diverse groups involved, and I often learn as much as I teach at their seminars, since publishers are in the middle of a bone fide revolution.

Tom Lynch and I attended the national conference in Washington D.C. this month, and added “exhibitor” to our list of credentials. Astek’s growth has always been fueled by word of mouth from our happy customers (thanks!), but we felt it was important for us to add another layer of support for SIPA, as well as to get some extra exposure for Astek by having a booth that stood out and quickly became known as “Astek Lounge.”

I’m thrilled with how well our booth turned out, thanks largely to Vin at Vin Design, who is an expert in experiential design.


First things first. Tom and I headed over to IKEA to pick up some essentials. We were creating something very different from the blue table we were provided — a space that would invite people to come in and stay awhile. And it worked!


While we were giving away real apples (on the right), we decided to have a contest and give away another Apple in the form of a new iPad 2. People entered by scanning our QR code (on the left) to register for our ePiphany newsletter. This gave us an opportunity personally to help several SIPA members get their QR code readers installed and working on their smart phones, which proved most painful on Blackberries.


Check out Astek iPad winner Brad Forrister, of M. Lee Smith Publishers/Business & Legal Resources, basking in his new toy (green cover of course):


We had fun experimenting with colorizing QR codes, and used them on the table tents strewn throughout the lounge to make it easy to learn more about Webany CMS, ePiphany, and the people at Astek:




I gave a talk on mobile publishing to a standing room-only crowd. Every couple of years publishers are thrown for a new loop in technology: SEO, CMS, social media, and now mobile. We’re helping many publishers figure out how to go mobile, which is the fastest growing content consumption market.

SIPA is a very progressively-minded organization, and hired Astek to run Twitter for the whole conference. Rachel was putting in 12-hour days back in Chicago, but it was a raging success. Several members participated, both those at the show and ones who could not make it. We had two Twitter walls (one shown below with Kati and Anne), and hashtags for the conference and each seminar to facilitate macro and micro topical real-time conversations.


I tweeted the awards ceremony in real-time and Rachel picked up the broadcast to retweet through @sipaonline. It was a blast and really demonstrated the power of Twitter to the attendees. We’re racing with it, offering this service to all kinds of conference organizers. Twitter has come a long way since I first wrote about it in 2008, and the conference aspect has become the clearest way for me to explain its true potential to people.

We had a tiny bit of downtime in the booth, which Tom used to show me how to juggle apples:


At the end, we donated the IKEA furniture to the local Boys & Girls Club of America, who were as thrilled to get it as we were not to ship it home. Now that’s a win-win.

See you in Miami!

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May 29, 2009

Video – Astek Presents at CoreNet Chicago

Andy and Katie presented on using Social Media and Social Networking Web sites to promote your self and your business at CoreNet Global Chicago Chapter’s Challenging Economy, Digital World learning workshops, May 5 & 19, 2009.