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You asked for it. It’s coming back. And it’s bigger, better, and small business-ier than ever. That’s right, we listened. We heard you. And we’re ready to get down to business! You know what we’re talking about!Picture 10

We’re ready to get our hands on small business… and give practical advice, instruction, and application to rock out some of our favorite free online and social media solutions.

ofc-Live_rgbSo we’re joining up with the cool, smart people at Microsoft Office Live to bring you 100 Hands On Small Business sessions in October and November.

You read that right.
One. Hundred. Sessions.

Seriously. We know. We can hardly wait. We’re talking 100 fun, FREE, practical gatherings of goodness to show you and yours a few new easy things to take up online.

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Women across the country will be coming together this Fall for the October and November Hands On Small Business (#HOSB) series — all brought to you in by the Politics, World and Business section of Kirtsy and the very good people of Microsoft Office Live . All of the 100 gatherings will be held October 5 – November 22 in 20 areas across the country including:

NEW YORK

CHICAGO

COLUMBUS

CHARLOTTE

SAN FRANCISCO

LOS ANGELES / ORANGE COUNTY

DENVER

SALT LAKE CITY

DALLAS

HOUSTON

AUSTIN

ATLANTA

WASHINGTON DC

BOSTON

SEATTLE

PORTLAND

OKLAHOMA CITY

TORONTO

LITTLE ROCK

MIAMI

Each session will be hosted and led by Kirtsy editors, Kirtsy founders and Kirtsy friends, who just want to get together to show you some new (and maybe not so new) cool things that will help make your online life easier, smarter and definitely more interesting.

So if we’re coming to a city near you, please plan to join in on the fun! And bring your laptop if you have one!

Not in your city? Well, darn. You have two options:

  1. Let us know where your city is, and we’ll try to put you on the list for the next round of fun.
  2. Get yourself to one of these cities on the scheduled dates. Go ahead. Plan a field trip.

You can find out all the info you need to know at the Hands On Small Business site. You can find out all about the awesome instructors. The excellent variety of dates.

So get ready, and get set to go save your spot in your favorite site and scheduled date.

We can’t wait to see you there!

This Monday we were honored to participate in Social Fresh, the Social Media conference created and produced by the eternally busy Jason Keath (aka @jakrose) Not only was it the best designed conference we ever attended (just check out the citrusy goodness in that gorgeous logo — yum), but it was also one of the smoothest running we’ve ever had the opportunity to be a part of. Jason assembled a cracker jack team of speakers and panelists, and the lovely Katey Dietz organized a capable and supportive group of green-shirted volunteers. Basically, it was a lovely day.

Kirtsy (specifically me, Laurie) participated in the “Building a Community” panel, along with super smart co-panelists Ryan Boyles from IBM, David Shauger from SocialWok.com and Tessa Horehled from Drive a Faster Car, who moderated like a champ. We learned so much from them and are excited about taking some of their experience and applying it to our sweet community over here at Kirtsy. But more importantly, we were reminded that day of how grateful we are to all of you for teaching us so much about community that we could even be considered “experts” on the subject. Thanks to all we’ve learned from you, we were able to sound wise and experienced (!), and we got some nice feedback from the other attendees. So Thank You!!

We were thrilled to get to meet and talk to so many Social Media superstars there — too many to name without leaving someone out so we’ll just show you some great photos, all taken by the immeasurably talented and just so very cool Armando Bellmas:

Superstars of Social Fresh

We’re still digesting all that we learned, but you can be sure you’ll be reaping the benefits of all the Maddd Social Media Skillz we acquired that day. Stay tuned for some awesome announcements in the coming months. We have so much going on right now that we can’t wait to tell you about. It is truly awesome, in every sense of the word.

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Last but definitely not least, a big thanks to the charming Brandon Uttley of Wray Ward for this interview where Laurie waxes philosophical about Kirtsy, friends and community. All in under 2 minutes.

Kirtsy is ready to party like it’s 1999. So good thing there are 1,999 parties going on at BlogHer. Want to keep them all straight? Check it. Sweet Parties. Party Suites. And more. And also. And plus. And that too. Seriously. Hang with us. We’ll help you keep it together. Rock it out, BlogHers.

Fine print: this info is current as of July 23rd. We’ll keep updating this info whenever you send us changes, edits or clarifications. We’ll keep the ready-to-print pdf current too — so you can download and take it with you when you need to party on the run. Plus we’ll be putting out up-to-second twitter alerts of the latest-greatest. Follow @kirtsy on twitter and watch for the hashtag #kirtsyhershey. (We’ve already received the 411 on some super secret party locations that we’ll be tweeting out when the time is right…watch for it.)

Oh. Also! Help us spread the word about top parties to attend. Let your people know where you’ll be. Move through the party haze. Put one of these badges on your site. You’ll also be registered for a Yoga Spa Package from Kirtsy. Three winners. Super awesomeness. You won’t be disappointed.

If you’re a party attendee (grabbing the dog badge), use this code:
<a href="http://www.kirtsy.com/partyguide.php"><img src="http://www.kirtsy.com/templates/kirtsy/images/KirtsyBlogher_badge_attendee.jpg" alt="Hershey's Kirtsy Party Alertsy!" /></a>

If you’re a party thrower (grabbing the “Featured” badge), use this code:
<a href="http://www.kirtsy.com/partyguide.php"><img src="http://www.kirtsy.com/templates/kirtsy/images/KirtsyBlogher_badge_party.jpg" alt="Hershey's Kirtsy Party Alertsy!" /></a>

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• Webgrrls Meetup
Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
The Creative Group – 205 N. Michigan, Suite 3301

It’s the Chicago Webgrrls Chapter Launch Networking Meeting. This meeting is free for everyone! Please invite clients, friends and colleagues.

Hosted by Kelly Ragle

• RIDEZ Reception
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Quartino Ristorante – 626 North State St., Chicago, IL

Come chat and dine with the rest of the BlogHer early birds! We’ll meet at the hotel at about 7pm and leave at 7:15-ish to walk to the restaurant. If you arrive a bit later, please feel free to join us at the restaurant. Pizza and antipasto, plus soda and a full cash bar.

Hosted by MoreThanMommy.

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• Pre BlogHer Luncheon
Thursday, 12:30 p.m. – 3:00p.m.
Dick’s Last Resort – 315 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL

The Blissdom crowd will be gathering to get psyched up for the big event. Your friends are their friends. Seating for up to 300 people. No sponsor — so plan on ordering off the menu. Everyone is invited!

Hosted by Amy in Ohio

• Social Luxe Lounge
Thursday, 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Monarch Penthouse Suite at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 East Wacker Drive

RSVP for this pampering party to kickoff your conference weekend. Be there if you love luxe. And be there for the announcement of the Social Luxe Blog Awards. Gabrielle and Gwen of Kirtsy will be there presenting an award. Come say Hello and get a kirtsy sticker! Sponsored by Swiffer.

Hosted by Petit Elefant, Hostess With The Mostess, This Week for Dinner, Make and Takes, Momfluential and Rolemommy

• People’s Party
Thursday, 8:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Sheraton Chicago X (“Ten”)

Everyone’s invited to this crazy, happy, festival of crazy happiness. You won’t want to miss this. Kirtsy chicks, Laurie and Laura will be there — with kirtsy mints! Say hello and freshen your breath at the same time. Sponsored by Sprout.

Hosted by The Bloggess; IzzyMom; Motherbumper; Mrs. Fussypants; Playgroups Are No Place For Children and Velveteen Mind.

• Room 704 Party
Thursday, 10:30p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Sheraton Chicago Java East Room on the Lobby Level

Close out the night in with the new bffs you met on the plane. No official rsvp form, but let the hosts know you’re coming by leaving a comment here: http://room704.us/party/ Multiple Sponsors.

Hosted by VDog, Mrs. Flinger, Kaiser Mommy, Sarcastic Mom and MamaSpohr

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• BlogHer 5K Fun Run
Friday, 6:30 am
location: We’re not sure, but somewhere on the waterfront. Please send us the deets if you have them.

The perfect way to see the sights of the Chicago lakeshore. You can walk or run. There will be no official timing, just a bunch of BlogHers getting together for an energetic start to the conference weekend. Limited to 50 people, so sign up right away (if you won’t be partied out on Thursday night). Sponsored by PHAT Mommy, GamerMomZ, Oiselle Running and MizFitOnline.

Organized by Shannon at PhatMommy.

• Yudu Nation Meetup
Friday, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
location: Shutter Sisters Suite (room #1237)

Drop by to get your FREE silk-screened totebag (3 different designs!), say hello to Gabrielle of Design Mom, and learn how to easy it is to use the awesome Yudu silkscreen machine. Extra fun: win one of four $400 Yudu Prize Packages. All are welcome! No need to rsvp.

Hosted by Design Mom.

• BlogHer Reception
Friday, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
location: TBA

For registered BlogHer attendees. The Kirtsy chicks have traditionally done some of our best networking at this event. We’ll be there handing out business cards. You should too. Plan to look hot and/or spiffy depending on your business model. : ) Sponsored by Pepsi.

• EA Summer In The City Party
Friday, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn St

Electronic Arts, one of the world’s leading interactive software companies, invites you to a fun-filled evening in their Gaming Lounge to mix, mingle and check out games your whole family will love. They’ll be serving up great food, drinks and wireless internet! To save your spot, RSVP here.

Hosted by the Wii Mommies and MorethanMommy.

• Queerosphere at the Crimson Lounge
Friday, 8:30 p.m.
Hotel Sax. 333 N. Dearborn, Chicago

Celebrating the queer voice in the blogosphere, this event welcomes GLBTQ attendees, Chicago’s queer social media divas and allies alike. Held in the gorgeous Hotel Sax near the Sheraton, RSVP to be in on the door prize of a sweet cruise for two! Sponsored by Sweet, 3 Smart Girlz, Queerly Wed, Hot Blog Stars and Select Virtual Assistant.

Hosted by Deb on the Rocks.

• Type-A Momfluence Party
Friday, 9:00 p.m. – till it ends
Sheraton Chicago Columbus Room

It’s the biggest sitewarming party ever — Woot! If these hosts know how to party in Chicago like they know how to party on twitter, this is sure to be a blowout. We’re staying tuned here for more information. Sponsored by HP.

Hosted by Typeamom; Resourcefulmommy; Angela at HP; slpowell and Mamikaze.

• Mommy Needs a Cocktail Party
Friday, 9:00 p.m.
Sheraton Chicago Ballroom 5

Oh, it’s on. Martinis, chocolate fountains, cocktail demonstrations and a wine bar. There are rumors of swag, prizes for the best pictures taken at the party and prizes for the most hilarious tweets. Everyone is welcome! Have other plans to attend one of the other fabulous parties scheduled for that night? You can stop in then be on your way. They won’t mind.

Hosted by Kristen of Mommy Needs a Cocktail.

• Blogalicious Presents: The Lush Experience
Friday, 9:00 p.m. – midnight
Lush Cosmetics in the Macy’s Watertower on the Magnificent Mile

A Lush event to celebrate us. We’re talking luxurious treatments, scrumptious hors d’oevures, swank cocktails, goodie bags and more. Your Lush Experience will include, complimentary facials, hand massages, and foot baths! Plus. Wait until you get your swag bag full of Lush-ious items to pamper yourself with and enjoy when you return home. Please RSVP because space is limited.

Hosted by the MamaLaw Mommies.

• MamaPopRocks!: A Sparklecorn Extravaganza
Friday, 9:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Sheraton Chicago Ballroom (1, 2 & 3)

“The most awesometastic and glitterlicious party of the year” — that’s how the site describes it. And there’s really nothing else to say. Except: the Kirtsy girls know from experience that the MamaPop Crew knows how to party like a rockstar. Foshizzle. We’ll be there. Most likely wearing something glittery. And if there’s a red carpet, we’ll probably hog it. Sponsored by Dove, Typepad/SixApart, Federated Media, bTrendie and Yahoo!. Also: 500 RSVPs available — but you need to have one to get in. Find out how here.

Hosted by the MamaPop Crew.

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• Yudu Nation Meetup
Saturday, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
location: Shutter Sisters Suite (room #1237)

Drop by to get your FREE silk-screened totebag (3 different designs!), say hello to Gabrielle of Design Mom, and learn how to easy it is to use the awesome Yudu silkscreen machine. Extra fun: win one of four $400 Yudu Prize Packages. All are welcome! No need to rsvp.

Hosted by Design Mom.

• BlogHer Cocktail Party
Saturday, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
location: TBA

Open to registered BlogHer attendees, this event will be your last chance to kiss your blog friends goodbye IRL before everyone goes their separate ways (go their separate ways = go to after parties). The kirtsy girls wouldn’t dream of missing this party. We’ll see you there.

• BowlHer Lucky Strike Party
Saturday, 8:00pm – Midnight
Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes, 322 E. Illinois St. Chicago (1 block from Sheraton)

Drop by Lucky Strike for a little bowling, a little music, a little dancin’ and some killer swag.  Everyone is welcome – RSVP here. (P.S. Just don’t tell the fire marshall.) Presented by One2One Network, Collective Bias and GNO & some fabulous hostesses!

Sounds like fun! Gabrielle of Kirtsy and Design Mom will be there — she has dibs on the hottest pair of bowling shoes.

• Shutter Sisters Pajama Party
Saturday, 8:00pm – 10:00pm
Sheraton Chicago, Room #1237

Come join the late night fun in The Shutter Suite. Treats and sweets will be provided. Now all you have to do is find some fabulous pjs to wear. More details to follow at The Shutter Suite blog.

Hosted by The Shutter Sisters.

Laura of Kirtsy will be there. In footy pajamas. Or maybe something lacey.

• 3rd Annual CheeseburgHer Party
Saturday, 10:00pm
location: Somewhere in the Sheraton. As is tradition, room details are kept quiet until the day of.

A group of blogger friends decided to throw an impromptu hotel room party involving cheeseburgers, bags on heads and fun at BlogHer in 2007, and a tradition was born. Everyone is welcome. You won’t want to miss this. Get updates on location by following @cheeseburgHerz on twitter. Sponsored by McDonald’s & Dr. Pepper/7Up.

Hosted by Alphamom, Lena of Cheeky Lotus, Lindsay of Suburban Turmoil, and Yvonne of Joy Unexpected.

The Kirtsy girls will be dropping in for sure. Save us some burgers. Gwen Bell of Kirtsy will be the one with wonder woman underwear.

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• Recovery Breakfast
Sunday, 9:00am – noonish, Openhouse
Location: Somewhere in the Sheraton — same room as the (yet to be announced) CheezburgHer party.

You’ll be exhausted. You’ll need breakfast. You can find fixes for both these problems at the Recovery Breakfast. Kick back. Relax. Have a bite. Then go home already. BlogHer 09 is over. Geez. Sponsored by Starbucks.

Hosted by Alphamom, Lena of Cheeky Lotus, Lindsay of Suburban Turmoil, and Yvonne of Joy Unexpected.

• Ann Taylor Sneak Peek
Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Ann Taylor Flagship, 600 North Michigan Avenue

Any and all BlogHer attendees are invited for a special brunch and exclusive preview of the new Ann collection — debuting this fall. Plus, meet the new designer, Lisa Axelson. RSVP here.

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partyguidesuite

• Shutter Sisters
Friday, 11:45 am – 6:30 pm
Saturday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm (PJ Party at 9:00 pm)
Sheraton Chicago, room #1237

The Shutter Sisters have all sorts of sweet things up their sleeves for all of the shutterbugs out there including Create-It-Stations in celebration of the Picture Hope project, cool product demos, awesome giveaways, sweets and just plain good company. And don’t miss the Pajama Party on Sat night. All the juicy details will be shared between now and then on The Shutter Suite blog. Tell the Sister’s your coming by on their FB page. The Shutter Sisters Suite is presented by Aurora.

Laurie of Kirtsy will be there on Friday at 3:00 joining in the creativity. Say hello and she’ll take your photo — maybe even post it on the Kirtsy blog.

• MomSelect and MomTV Swag Suite
Friday, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Saturday, 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sheraton Towers, room #TBA

Open to all MomSelect members (you can become a member here). Filled with lots of great swag. Plus, they’ll be filming mom bloggers who would like to be profiled on MomTV throughout the weekend. For more information contact, Amy@bsmmedia.com.

• Brand About Town Suite
Friday, 8.00 am – 6:30 pm
Saturday, 9.00 am – 6.30 pm
Sheraton Chicago, room #TBA (find out via twitter @brandabouttown)

The Brand About Town ladies invite you to drop by their suite to take a break, have a chat and enjoy a snack. Drop your card off to win prizes from some of their fabulous clients. While you’re there, you can learn about their word-of-mouth advocacy programs. Before you leave, make sure you pick up your free Gap ‘Born To Blog’ t-shirt while supplies last!

• Microsoft MicroSpa
Friday, 9.00 am – 4:00 pm
Saturday, 9.00 am – 4:00 pm
Sheraton Chicago, Missouri Room

Microsoft is hosting a refuge where you can relax and recharge. Microsoft Office and Office Live will pamper you with one of three spa treatments – a back massage, hand massage or make-up artistry. If your laptop starts to sputter or spark, they’ll have tech services present to assist. Plus: fruits, cheeses, pastries, petit-fours, sparkling wine. Perfect. If you’d like a 15-minute spa treatment, please respond with your preferred date (Friday, July 24 or Saturday, July 25), preferred appointment time and spa treatment preference. Email rsvp@waggeneredstrom before space fills up!

• Mama’s Tea Time and Breastfeeding Bar
Friday, 3:30 p.m – 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Sheraton Chicago, Suite #836

You’ve been blog-bustling all day, now it’s time to relax, rest your aching feet, and have a nice cup of tea — courtesy of Earth Mama Angel Baby! Nursing mamas, bring your babies and belly up to the Breastfeeding Bar to sample our pure, safe breastfeeding products.

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How’s that? Can you handle all the party info? Will we see you there? Did we somehow forget to add your uber-cool shindig to the list? We’re sick just thinking about it. Please get us the appropriate info asap and we’ll make the correction. You can email us at partyguide@kirtsy.com. You can also find all this info at the Kirtsy Party Guide Site.

Need this info in a printable, portable form? Try our updated-frequently 2-page pdf. Download here.

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Earlier this year we hosted Hands On Social Media sessions in a few cities around the country. We partied with the locals and covered topics like: how to use Twitter and Delicious, Digg and Kirtsy, Flickr and Stumble Upon.

We started holding these sessions because it seems over the last months, we’ve gotten a lot of “friend requests” from people we haven’t seen since elementary school. And this makes us think that pretty much everyone is starting to get into this social media thing… and more importantly, a whole heck of a lot of people are starting to realize, it’s all kinda useful and fun. And we say, the more the merrier. In fact, we say, if you now use the word friend as a verb, then pull up a chair, we’ll show you a some more nifty things you’ll love.

Announcing: More Hands On Social Media Sessions!

Fun, FREE, practical gatherings of goodness to show you and yours a few new easy things to take up online. Each session will be hosted and led by kirtsy editors, kirtsy founders and kirtsy friends, who just want to get together to show you some new (and maybe not so new) cool things that will help make your online life easier, smarter and definitely more interesting.

After the sessions earlier this year, we received a fleet of requests for more. So we’re back with 10 additional sessions in June — all sponsored by Microsoft Office Live.

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Plan to join us!

Charlotte

Monday, June 8th at 7:00 PM.
Location: Amélie’s
2424 N. Davidson St. Charlotte, NC 28205 (704) 376-1781

Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00 PM.
Location: Earth Fare – Ballantyne
12235 North Community House Road (off Johnston Road)
Charlotte, NC 28277 (704) 926-1201

Taught by Laurie Smithwick.

Denver

Friday, June 12th at 7:00 PM
Location: The Cup
1521 Pearl St  Boulder, CO 80302 (303) 449-5173

Saturday, June 13th at 9:00 AM
Location: The Curtis Hotel
1405 Curtis Street  Denver, CO 80202 (303) 571-0300

taught by Gwen Bell and Gabrielle Blair

Salt Lake City

Tuesday, June 16th at 7:00 PM
Location: State Capitol Building
350 N. State Street, SLC, UT  84114 (801) 538-3074

Wednesday, June 17th at 7:00 PM
Location: Bridge Art Academy
148 W 600 S, Provo, UT (801) 623-0351

taught by Liz Stanley

Houston

Wednesday, June 17th at  6:00 PM
Location: Caroline Collective
4820 Caroline St. Houston, TX 77004 (917.689.7771)

Thursday, June 18th at 11:00 AM
Location: Bright Sky Press Book Space
5416 Chaucer Houston, TX 77005 (866) 933-6133

taught by Laura Mayes and Monica Danna

Little Rock

Saturday, June 20th, 10:00 AM
Location: Capitol Hotel
Markham & Louisiana, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

Saturday, June 20th, 2:00 PM
Same location as above.

taught by Kyran Pittman

G(irl)s Night Out cocktail party for Arkansas women in social media happening that evening in the Capital Bar & Grill.

Stay tuned for more information and registration links. Or check out the Hands On Website here.

SXSW rocked it. Our very own Laura Mayes spoke on a panel with Bryan Mason, Chris Sacca and Ryan Freitas. The panel was on quitting — when and if you should quit your job and get out there and doing your own thing. It was the best panel we attended. If only Bryan Mason could moderate every conversation we ever have. You can see some of what was said about the panel by checking out #quitter.

That was the serious part of our participation at SXSW. There was also the party part. Boots and Beer and Bandanas and Bands and Books. All found at the Kirtsy/Alltop Girl Guy Party. Lots of techy big wigs in attendance — Scobelizer, @zappos, Dooce, Guy Kawasaki — basically the superstars of the whole conference.

sxswkirtsyparty34

Ziv Gillat was there with his camera, automatically uploading tons of photos to flickr with his magical Eye-Fi card. YouData served up loads of food from their authentic chuckwagon. Shiner kept the beer coming. A kick-ass DJ rocked it between the kick-ass bands. And we all bought boots from Allens.

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What more can we say except: Can’t wait till next year!

You can find more of photos from the event here and here and here.

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The kirtsy girls loved gathering in Boulder for Gwen and Joel’s wedding — a party with a happy union, family, friends and technology. Happily, the whole thing was live streamed so fans from across the globe could join in the celebration. And if you look up their wedding hashtag — #gwen+joel — on twitter, you’ll be able to see all the supportive commentary. (What? Your wedding didn’t have its own hashtag? Weird.)

The kirtsy community loves Gwen and Joel. Yay!

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Gorgeous photos by Aimee of Greeblemonkey. You can see the whole set here.

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What can we say? It was a party. It was a big huge party with 300 of our best friends. We are enjoying all the photos — here and here and pretty much all over flickr. And between photo searches, we’re also having fun reading the 200+ pages of tweets.

The conference sold out. The attendees and speakers were world-class. The conversation was abundant and useful and provocative. The only hiccup we can remember is having to arm wrestle the Dallas Mavericks for available hotel rooms at the Four Seasons.

Thank you for coming. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that supported the conference. We can’t wait to do it again.

photo by Ziv Gillat

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