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On Marty Weintraub and the Clarity of Hindsight

Published: October 17, 2011

Author: Todd Mintz

My good friend Marty Weintraub invited me to his office’s grand opening in Duluth…which would have been cool to attend but for the fact that I live in Beaverton (1,800 miles away).  When I regretfully told him that I couldn’t attend, his response surprised me:
Do you know that, in honor of the fact that you gave me my first industry speaking engagement in Portland in 2008, we are naming a 500-foot hallway after you, “The Todd Mintz Memorial Hallway”? Eeep! This is pre-mortum and you won’t be dead for at least 50 years. You’ll be happy to know that the hallway pre-memorializing you runs from “Mama’s Kitchen” past the bathrooms to the recording/video studio and then out the door.
Ultimately, Todd Malicoat is to blame for me & Marty becoming friendly…I first got to know Marty from reading his post about SEO & Music and I noted to him how it dovetailed well with my piece on Marvin Gaye’s National Anthem.  We both became active on Sphinn at its launch & I actually interviewed Marty about Sphinn (among other things).
We definitely had become good “online friends,” but back in these pre-social media days (and I can’t believe I just used this phrase), I really didn’t have a particularly well-rounded view of Marty and his capabilities.  In 2007, we were in the process of organizing SearchFest 2 (we’re now organizing #6) and I casually asked Marty if he wanted to attend as an attendee.  His response:
I know you are inviting me to attend and that’s cool.  My goal is to speak at these conferences. Would you please consider me as a speaker? My feelings won’t be hurt if not, however I’m sure I could contribute. I have several case studies that would prove useful for your attendees, our search marketing firm is growing quickly, and I’m awfully entertaining. J
It’s hard to believe that back in late 2007, few (outside of perhaps some local Minnesota folks) had seen Marty speak on search marketing.  What’s just as hard to believe is that back then, my fellow SEMpdx board members allowed me to choose a certain number of SearchFest speakers from people who I only knew via their online reputation.  Adam Audette was someone I met at a PubCon lunch table and was a last-minute speaking substitute solely based on this e-interview.  I hadn’t seen Adam, Rebecca Kelley, Matt McGee or Stoney DeGeyter speak before they showed up at our event (and hadn’t even talked to any of them besides Matt)…and I’m not sure any of them had spoken at a major conference prior to speaking at ours (and all have become regular major conference speakers subsequent to their SearchFest appearances).
I told Marty I needed some ammunition to help sell him to the other decision-makers…here’s what he said (remember, this was years ago):
I’ve not been invited to speak at SEM conferences yet which is why yours is appealing (one reason)…but I’ve taught over 2000 hours at the college level, guest-lectured to Master’s programs on SEM @ University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota-Duluth.   I’m entertaining as hell and have wonderful case studies. Honestly it would be just as fun to be part of a panel and not a “featured” speaker. I may not have the national credentials for that yet.
 Here’s the official bio…this is just an idea because becoming established on this circuit is a goal.  It would be a “break” for me to get to talk to such a cool group as a first national gig…I think I’m ready…
I passed his information to the other board members.  I’m not sure how many other board members knew him but he was ultimately approved to speak.
Not everyone took to Marty’s style the first time around.  I loved it, but my view was not universally held.  But fortunately, as he got invited back to speak at our event and started speaking other places, the conference audiences adapted to him and his style because ultimately, he wasn’t only a kick-ass speaker but he had lots of important cutting-edge information to share. Now he’s doing keynotes and has an awesome book about Facebook Ads.
I consider Marty to be a great friend, and I’m glad that he didn’t name the office men’s room after me :.)
– Todd Mintz, Senior Account Manager, PPC Associates
– Questions? Email bloggers at ppcassociates dot com

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