Friday, May 7, 2010

Contemplating #2

Last week, just before I left for the AIM Conference, C was sent home from daycare with a fever. And this week, she was sent home with another fever. My husband and I feared another ear infection, but as it turns out, her ears are "perfect" (as proclaimed by her pediatrician). We have no idea what last week's illness was, but this week the culprit was roseola: C is now sporting a fine-looking rash as proof.

Needless to say, when you have a sick child and a jam-packed work schedule, you have to do some serious rearranging, and fast. Last week, my husband stayed home with C; this week, it was my turn. As I ran out to the car the other day, I canceled/rescheduled meetings, emailed my manager and my assistant, called the pediatrician, and called my husband in rapid-fire succession. And as I was speeding down Route 128, all I could think was, "How on earth do people DO this when they have more than one child?"

The logical side of my brain knows that many, many, MANY people have more than one child, both parents work full-time, and everyone manages just fine: in fact, I have several friends who have kids roughly the same age as C, and they are currently expecting their second child. What I find somewhat amusing is that now that C is almost a year and a half old, we're often asked (by well-meaning relatives, friends, and sometimes even strangers), "So...when are you having Baby #2?" I have no real answer to that question, though, because I truly cannot contemplate adding more chaos to the mix. Every room in our house is always cluttered. Clean laundry stays in baskets for days, or sometimes even weeks, before it's folded. We eat a lot of microwaveable food and cereal. My husband is in grad school at night. I have next to no time to myself as it is. The list goes on, and on, and on.

And, there's the financial part of the equation to consider as well.  My husband and I both have good jobs, but when it comes right down to it, day care is astronomically expensive, and we simply cannot afford to send two kids to day care and stay in our house. I know that there are a number of alternatives and ways to make things work (one of us could stay home, we could get a nanny, we could move, etc.) but none of those options seem particularly attractive at this point. No matter which way I think about it, another baby just isn't in the cards right now for us...and if I'm honest with myself, I am more than okay with that.

The good news is that we have time. I am only 34, and C is only 17 months old. And so, we'll continue in the path of chaos, hoping that the laundry will somehow magically fold itself and that Amy's Organic Kitchen will come up with some new frozen pizza varieties, and at some point, I guess that the equilibrium will shift just enough that we'll know it's time to grow our family. Or, maybe not.

Until then, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that we can get through the next week or two without a fever.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

AIM Conference Wrap-Up

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the Apartment Internet Marketing Conference, aka AIM, with two of my coworkers. Though I've been in the industry for years, this was my first time at AIM, and I was thrilled with both the content and networking opportunities. Steve Lefkovits, the Executive Producer, and his team, did a fantastic job. A few highlights:

  • Approximately 400 people attended this year's event, up more than 20% from last year's conference. I met a lot of wonderful people, including other marketing professionals, as well as representatives from some partners and vendors that we either currently work with, or are considering working with. Plus, I got to see some good friends that I hadn't seen in a while; it was so nice to reconnect and swap notes.

  • The entire conference was live-tweeted: if you couldn't attend in person, you can check out #aimconf for the "highlight reel." I normally am a pretty active participant when it comes to tweeting at an event, but for whatever reason - perhaps jet lag? - I was pretty quiet at this conference, at least on Twitter. (Dinner, on the other hand, was a whole different story. I would like to personally thank the lovely hostesses for throwing such a fun party on Thursday night...and Spark for not throwing us out on a noise ordinance violation.)

  • The presentations included multiple formats (keynotes, panels, and interviews), and included both industry veterans, as well as people from outside the multifamily world. The content, which was outstanding, covered ground ranging from revenue attribution, to SEM and SEO best practices, to managing your reputation online. These topics are incredibly important in everyone's business, but the majority of the AIM Conference presenters made a specific point to relate things back to the multifamily industry, which made the take-aways crystal clear. Plus, many of the presenters had a great sense of humor. This definitely is a group that understands that all work and no play makes for a boring session, and they did not disappoint on the play front.

The AIM Conference was also very exciting for me on a personal level, as I was invited by my friend Israel Carunungan to co-moderate the Google keynote presentation. Sam Sebastian, Google's Director of B2B and Local Markets, was smart, funny, and made the hour-long interview fly by. We received some great questions from the audience, as well as from our own networks in advance of the conversation. I believe that the presentation and/or a transcript of the discussion will be posted shortly. If and when that happens, I will update this post with a link, as well as with a link to all of the other presentations: Steve Gilbert's South Park/social media presentation is not to be missed, both of Kevin Thompson's presentations were excellent, and the three "Marketing Failures" panelists were both entertaining and educational. (Update: you can access all of the PowerPoint presentations here.)

Though my trip home was a little rocky (canceled flight, a nine-hour stay at LAX, and mechanical delays on the red-eye), the conference was well worth it, and I can't wait for AIM 2011.

In the meantime, the National Apartment Association (NAA) Education Conference and Exposition  is just around the corner. If you're going, you won't be able to miss us: Team Dolben will be about 65 people strong, and always wears very noticeable, matching shirts. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but let's just say that we'll be in full swing.

Hope to see you in New Orleans!