Tag Archive | "Speaker"

Want to Speak at MozCon 2018? Here’s Your Chance – Pitch to Be a Community Speaker!

Posted by Danielle_Launders

MozCon 2018 is nearing and it’s almost time to brush off that microphone. If speaking at MozCon is your dream, then we have the opportunity of a lifetime for you! Pitch us your topic and you may be selected to join us as one of our six community speakers.

What is a community speaker, you ask? MozCon sessions are by invite only, meaning we reach out to select speakers for the majority of our talks. But every year we reserve six 15-minute community speaking slots, where we invite anyone in the SEO community to pitch to present at MozCon. These sessions are both an attendee favorite and a fabulous opportunity to break into the speaking circuit.

Katie Cunningham, one of last year’s community speakers, on stage at MozCon 2017

Interested in pitching your own idea? Read on for everything you need to know:

The details

  • Fill out the community speaker submission form
  • Only one submission per person — make sure to choose the one you’re most passionate about!
  • Pitches must be related to online marketing and for a topic that can be covered in 15 minutes
  • Submissions close on Sunday, April 22nd at 5pm PDT
  • All decisions are final
  • All speakers must adhere to the MozCon Code of Conduct
  • You’ll be required to present in Seattle at MozCon

Ready to pitch your idea?

If you submit a pitch, you’ll hear back from us regardless of your acceptance status.

What you’ll get as a community speaker:

  • 15 minutes on the MozCon stage for a keynote-style presentation, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A
  • A free ticket to MozCon (we can issue a refund or transfer if you have already purchased yours)
  • Four nights of lodging covered by Moz at our partner hotel
  • Reimbursement for your travel — up to $ 500 for domestic and $ 750 for international travel
  • An additional free MozCon ticket for you to give away, plus a code for $ 300 off of one ticket
  • An invitation for you and your significant other to join us for the pre-event speakers dinner

The selection process:

We have an internal committee of Mozzers that review every pitch. In the first phase we review only the topics to ensure that they’re a good fit for our audience. After this first phase, we look at the entirety of the pitch to help us get a comprehensive idea of what to expect from your talk on the MozCon stage.

Want some advice for perfecting your pitch?

  • Keep your pitch focused to online marketing. The more actionable the pitch, the better.
  • Be detailed! We want to know the actual tactics our audience will be learning about. Remember, we receive a ton of pitches, so the more you can explain, the better!
  • Review the topics already being presented — we’re looking for something new to add to the stage.
  • Keep the pitch to under 1200 characters. We’re strict with the word limits — even the best pitches will be disqualified if they don’t abide by the rules.
  • No pitches will be evaluated in advance, so please don’t ask :)
  • Using social media to lobby your pitch won’t help. Instead, put your time and energy into the actual pitch itself!
  • Linking to a previous example of a slide deck or presentation isn’t required, but it does help the committee a ton.

You’ve got this!

This could be you.

If your pitch is selected, the MozCon team will help you along the way. Whether this is your first time on stage or your twentieth, we want this to be your best talk to date. We’re here to answer questions that may come up and to work with you to deliver something you’re truly proud of. Here are just a handful of ways that we’re here to help:

  • Topic refinement
  • Helping with your session title and description
  • Reviewing any session outlines and drafts
  • Providing plenty of tips around best practices — specifically with the MozCon stage in mind
  • Comprehensive show guide
  • Being available to listen to you practice your talk
  • Reviewing your final deck
  • A full stage tour on Sunday to meet our A/V crew, see your presentation on the big screens, and get a feel for the show
  • An amazing 15-person A/V team

Make your pitch to speak at MozCon!

We can’t wait to see what y’all come up with. Best of luck!

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If You’re Attending MozCon 2017, You Should Definitely Pitch to be an Ignite Speaker

Posted by ronell-smith

Are you a good storyteller, able to hold a crowd at rapt attention for minutes at a time? Do you have a story you’re bursting at the seams to share?

Well, ye olde yarn-spinner, a MozCon Ignite talk sounds like just the thing for you.

The five-minute talks have become quite a hit since being introduced in 2015, with talks leaving folks with belly aches from laughter or tears from personal heartache — and everything in between.

If you have an enticing story in you just waiting for an outlet, we’ll supply the audience.

The MozCon 2017 Ignite talks — one of the signature networking events — take place Tuesday, July 18.

Buy your MozCon 2017 ticket!


Why should you care about Ignite talks?

Often called “lightning talks” for their emphasis on brevity, Ignite-style talks are five minutes in length and feature slides that automatically advance.

The short stories can pack a powerful punch, however, as anyone who saw Michael Cottam’s 2016 Ignite talk can attest:

One attendee penned a heartfelt account of how Michael’s talk helped him reprioritize his life — it’s well-worth a good read. Make sure you have a tissue handy.


You can share your story, too, in 2017. There will be 10 speaking slots.

The only rule we have governing stories told during an Ignite talk is that they cannot relate to online marketing or feature anything resembling career advice.

This is your chance to show some personality.

Take a look at the topics covered from 2016:

  • Help! I Can’t Stop Sweating – Hyperhidrosis, by Adam Melson
  • Life Lessons Learned as a Special Needs Parent, by Adrian Vender
  • How Pieces of Paper Can Change Lives, by Anneke Kurt Godlewski
  • Prison and a Girl that Loves Puppies, by Caitlin Boroden
  • Embracing Fear, Potential Failure, and Plain Ol’ Discomfort, by Daisy Quaker
  • A Plane Hacker’s Guide to Cheap *Luxury* Travel, by Ed Fry
  • Embracing Awkward: The Tale of a 5′ 10″ 6th Grader, by Hannah Cooley
  • Hornets, Soba, & Friends: A Race in Japan, by Kevin Smythe
  • Wooly Bits: Exploring the Binary of Yarn, by Lindsay Dayton LaShell
  • Finding Myself in Fiction: LGBTQUIA Stories, by Lisa Hunt
  • Is Your Family Time for Sale? by Michael Cottam
  • How to Start an Underground Restaurant in Your Home, by Nadya Khoja
  • Flood Survival: Lessons from the Streets of ATL, by Sarah Lively
  • How a Cartoon Saved My Life, by Steve Hammer

And, lucky for us all, Geraldine DeRuiter, aka the Everywhereist, will be back as emcee for the third time in as many years.



The deets: How to pitch for an Ignite talk

  • Simply fill out the form below — you’re limited to one submission
  • Talks cannot be about online marketing or career-focused
  • Current MozCon speakers are not able to pitch
  • Previous MozCon Ignite presenters are not eligible
  • Submissions close on Sunday, May 14 at 5pm PDT
  • Selections will be made by early June
  • All presentations are expected to follow the MozCon Code of Conduct
  • You must attend MozCon, July 17–19, and be present Tuesday night in person

If selected, you’ll receive…

  • Five minutes onstage, Tuesday night at McCaw Hall. (The event lasts from 7–10pm.)
  • $ 300 off the regular-priced ticket to MozCon (If you’ve already purchased a ticket, we’ll refund you $ 300 for a regular-priced ticket or $ 100 for an early-bird ticket. Discounts are not offered for super-early-bird tickets.)
  • Help crafting a winning talk
  • Stage tour of the event space between 5–7pm Tuesday night in advance of the event

Unfortunately, we do not cover travel and/or lodging for MozCon Ignite speaking slots.

What makes a great pitch?

  • A story that’s compelling and that can be told in the allotted timeframe
  • Sharing a topic you’re passionate about and able to succinctly share what makes it so great.
  • Follow the guidelines. Yes, the word counts are limited on purpose. (Do not submit links to Google Docs or other resources. Multiple submissions will result in immediate disqualification.)

****Include links to any videos of you speaking publicly.

If you’d like to see what an Ignite-style talk looks like, check out these videos from Ignite Seattle 30.

Most importantly, get to work on submitting that pitch to grace the stage yourself at MozCon 2017.

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Grace the Stage at MozCon 2017: The Door is Open for Community Speaker Pitches

Posted by ronell-smith

Some of the best talks at MozCon each year come from the community speakers—those who’re able to make a pitch to grace the stage.

This group enjoys the same privileges as the other speakers, including being able to deliver a keynote-style talk, and are always well-received by the audience.

If you’re eager to be a member of this group, step right up.

We’re now open for MozCon community speaker’s pitches.

We’d be happy to have your best effort.

(This year, we’ll have six speakers.)


The nuts & bolts:

  • Submitting is as simple as filling out the form below
  • Only submit one talk (the one you’re most passionate about)
  • Pitches must be related to online marketing & 15 minutes long
  • Submissions close Sunday, April 16th at 5pm PDT
  • All decisions are final
  • Talks must must adhere to the MozCon Code of Conduct
  • You’ll be required to be present at MozCon in Seattle

if you submit a pitch, you’ll hear back from us regardless of whether you’re accepted or denied.


Community speakers receive…

  • At least 15 minutes on the MozCon stage for a keynote-style presentation, plus 5 minutes of Q&A
  • A free ticket to MozCon. (If you already have one, we’ll either refund or transfer the ticket to someone else.)
  • Four nights of lodging covered by us at our partner hotel
  • A reimbursement for your travel (flight, train, car, etc.), up to $ 500 domestic and $ 750 international
  • A free ticket for you to give to anyone, plus a code for $ 300 off another ticket
  • An invitation for you and your significant other to join us for the speakers’ dinner.

If you’re curious about what the process look like, take a look at what Zeph Snapp wrote about his experience as a community speaker.

Long-time community member Samuel Scott, one of our fantastic community speakers at MozCon 2016!


How do you pick speakers?

The selection committee, comprised of Mozzers, reviews every pitch. Initially, we review only the topics. This helps us make sure the topics match our audience.

Later we look at the entirety of the pitch, with an eye for what the finished product would look like on stage.

Things to consider for your pitch:

  • Focus your pitch on online marketing. MozCon is all about actionable information.
  • Your pitch is for MozCon organizations, so detail what you’re talking about. We need to know the actual tactics you’ll be sharing.
  • Read this post on how to prepare for speaking, from pitching to the actual gig.
  • Review the topics already accepted to ensure there is no overlap.
  • Honor the form’s word limits. (Linking to Google Docs, for example, will result in an immediate disqualification.)
  • No one from the speaker selection committee will be able to evaluate your pitch in advance.
  • Lobbying on social media is frowned upon and won’t do you any good.
  • Link to a video of you presenting and to your SlideShare channel (or wherever we can take a look at decks you’ve created in the past)

A little weak in the knees about speaking at MozCon?

Don’t be scurred.

We’ve got your back.

Whether a speaker has hundreds of talks under her belt or is giving her first talk, we work with them to deliver a product she’lll be proud of and the audience will both love and learn from.

We provide instruction on topics and review the content in its entirety.

We encourage pitches from speakers of all backgrounds, knowledge levels, and speaking experiences.

A few additional things we help with:

  • Discuss and refine your topic
  • Assist in honing topic title and description
  • Review outlines and drafts
  • Best practices and guidance for slide decks, specifically for our stage
  • A comprehensive, step-by-step guide for show flow
  • Serve as an audience for practicing your talk
  • Review your final deck
  • Sunday night pre-MozCon tour of the stage to meet our A/V crew, see your presentation on the screens, and test the clicker
  • A 15-person dedicated crew to make your A/V outstanding
  • Whatever else we can do to make your talk outstanding

Now over to you.

If you’ve ever had a vision of making onto the MozCon stage, this is your best shot.

So, umm, shouldn’t you be typing feverishly in the Google Form above?

Good luck.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


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TopRank Marketing Top Takeaways & Speaker Quotes from Content Marketing World

cleveland-oh

Content Marketing World is the largest content marketing conference in the world. To say that the team from TopRank Marketing was excited to attend, is putting it lightly. Lee Odden, Alexis Hall, Josh Nite and I made the journey to Cleveland to learn from some of the best and brightest content marketing minds in the industry.

In a perfect world we would have been able to attend every session, but we consumed, live blogged and shared all that we were physically able to do. Below are some of what we considered to be the top takeaways and best speaker quotes from Content Marketing World 2015.

Top Content Marketing World Takeaways

Lee Odden – Participation Marketing Must Have’s

Lee-Odden-TopRank-CMWorld-2015

TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden delighted a packed room of marketers by providing inspiring and actionable advice on how to successfully approach participation marketing. Lee assured marketers that if they wanted to produce quality and scalable content, without having to scale marketing budgets, this was the place to be.

So, how can we get some relief from all of the hard work it takes to create a truly impactful participation marketing program?

To find out, read: Incorporate Participation Marketing for More Scalable Content Marketing

Michael Brenner – How to Build Your Content Marketing Strategy

Michael-Brenner-NewsCred-CMWorld

NewsCred Head of Strategy Michael Brenner knows the challenges facing content marketers. Consumers no longer accept that content has to be ad supported. They–or, rather, we, since we’re all consumers–no longer tolerate interruptions. Not only that, but the best content we as marketers create still has to compete for attention with pictures of babies and puppies.

For Michael’s solution to these problems, read: Michael Brenner’s Tips, Tools & Templates to Build Your Content Marketing Strategy

Ian Cleary – Tools to Optimize Your Content Marketing

ian-cleary-cmworld

RazorSocial Founder Ian Cleary is passionate about using tools to make content marketing better. At RazorSocial, he trains companies to use technology to increase their reach, search ranking, and audience relevance.

Ian took us on a whirlwind tour through 15 common content marketing problems and the tools he uses to solve them.

For our five favorites read: Ian Cleary Discusses Essential Tools to Optimize Your Content Marketing

Erin Monday – Achieve Greater Social Visibility

Erin-Monday-CMWorld

Traditional SEOs have long obsessed over how to hack the Google algorithm to move to the top of SERPs. Now the new kids on the blog, social platforms like Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, each have their own algorithm.

Improving the visibility of your content within social media can be as calculated as your SEO efforts. Erin Monday, marketing manager at Lenovo, shares tips to hack the new social algorithms in her presentation at #CMWorld.

To learn Erin’s 5 steps read: 5 Step Algorithm Hack to Achieve Greater Social Visibility

Complete List of TopRank Marketing’s Coverage From CMWorld

10 Snackable & Inspirational Speaker Quotes

Andrew-Davis-Quote

Lee-Odden-Quote

Jay-Acunzo-Quote

Tim-Washer-Quote

Michael-Brenner-Quote

Rajiv-Chandrasekaran-Quote

Joe-Pulizzi-Quote

Jay-Baer-Quote

Ann-Handley-Quote

Nick-Offerman-Quote

CMWorld eBook Triple Feature

If you were unable to attend Content Marketing World but want even more tips on everything from content marketing strategy to measurement, check out the content marketing triple feature that TopRank Marketing and Content Marketing Institute co-created with speakers from this year’s event.

If you attended Content Marketing World 2015, what was the most impactful thing that you learned? If you weren’t able to attend this year, we hope to see you next year!

Images via Shutterstock: 17500448012933745418675450825897167516898401426960222611340633113223845715635063610503189853739760


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It’s Your Turn: Now Accepting Community Speaker Pitches for MozCon 2015

Posted by EricaMcGillivray

Yep, it’s that time of year, friends. Time to submit your online marketing talk pitch for MozCon 2015. I’m super excited this year as we’ll have 6 community speaker slots! That’s right—you all are so amazing that we want to see more from you.

The basic details:

  • To submit, just fill out the form below.
  • Talks must be about online marketing and are only 15 minutes in length.
  • Submissions close on Sunday, April 12 at 5pm PDT.
  • Final decisions are final and will be made in late April.
  • All presentations must adhere to the MozCon Code of Conduct.
  • You must attend MozCon in person, July 13-15 in Seattle.



If you are selected, you will get the following:

  • 15 minutes on the MozCon stage to share with our audience, plus 5 minutes of Q&A.
  • A free ticket to MozCon. (If you already purchased yours, we’ll either refund or transfer the ticket to someone else.)
  • Four nights of lodging covered by us at our partner hotel.
  • A reimbursement for your travel (flight, train, car, etc.), up to $ 500 domestic and $ 750 international.
  • A free ticket for you to give to anyone you would like and a code for $ 300 off another ticket.
  • An invitation for you and your significant other to join us for the speakers’ dinner.

We work with you!

Pitching for a community speaker slot can feel intimidating. A lot of times, our ideas feel like an old hat and done a million times before. (When I say “our” here, I mean “mine.”)

At MozCon, we work with every single speaker to ensure your presentation is the best it can be. Myself and Matt Roney dedicate ourselves to helping you. Seriously, you get our personal cell phone numbers. Don’t get me wrong—you do the heavy lifting and the incredible work. But we set up calls, review sessions, and even take you up on the stage pre-MozCon to ensure that you feel awesome about your talk.


We’re happy to help, including:

  • Calls to discuss and refine your topic.
  • Assistance honing topic title and description.
  • Reviews of outlines and drafts (as many as you want!).
  • Best practices and guidance for slide decks, specifically for our stage.
  • A comprehensive, step-by-step guide for show flow.
  • Serving as an audience for practicing your talk.
  • Reviewing your final deck.
  • Sunday night pre-MozCon tour of the stage to meet our A/V crew, see your presentation on the screens, and test the clicker.
  • A dedicated crew to make your A/V outstanding.
  • Anything else we can do to make you successful.

Most of the above are required as part of the speaker process, so even those of you who don’t always ask for help (again, talking about myself here), will be sure to get it. We want you to know that anyone, regardless of experience or level of knowledge, can submit and present a great talk at MozCon. One of our past community speakers Zeph Snapp wrote a great post about his experiences with our process and at the show.


For great proposals:

  • Make sure to check out the confirmed MozCon 2015 topics from our other speakers so you don’t overlap.
  • Read about what makes a great pitch.
  • For extra jazz, include links to videos of you doing public speaking and your slide deck work in the optional fields.
  • Follow the guidelines. Yes, the word counts are limited on purpose. Do not submit links to Google Docs, etc. for more information. Tricky submissions will be disqualified.

While I can’t give direct pitch coaching—it would be unfair to others—I’m happy to answer your questions in the comments.

Submissions are reviewed by a selection committee at Moz, so multiple people look at and give their opinions on each pitch. The first run-through looks at pitches without speaker information attached to them in order to give an unbiased look at topics. Around 50% of pitches are weeded out here. The second run-through includes speaker bio information in order to get a more holistic view of the speaker and what your talk might be like in front of 1,400 people.

Everyone who submits a community speaker pitch will be informed either way. If your submission doesn’t make it and you’re wondering why, we can talk further on email as there’s always next year.

Finally, a big thank you to our wonderful community speakers from past MozCons including Stephanie BeadellMark TraphagenZeph SnappJustin Briggs, Darren Shaw, Dana Lookadoo, Fabio Ricotta, Jeff McRitchie, Sha Menz, Mike Arnesen, A. Litsa, and Kelsey Libert, who’ve all been so amazing.


Still need to confirm you’ll join us?

Buy your ticket!

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#MozCon Speaker Interview: Aleyda Solis

Posted by Lindsay

Today I’m pleased to bring you Aleyda Solis, Madrid-based International SEO at SEER Interactive, a Moz Associate, and State of Search blogger. We’re excited that she’s bringing her international perspective to MozCon, where she’ll lay out how to make the bold but lucrative move into the international market. You definitely don’t want to miss her talk, “International SEO and the Future of Your ROI,” if you’re interested in growing your online business.

Tell us about the presentation you have planned for MozCon.

It’s going to be an exciting adventure, guiding the audience to discover their international SEO potential and what could be the future of their ROI. 

It will be beyond the “ccTLDs vs. subdirectories for country targeting” type of session (although best practices with examples and tactics will be also shared). It’s meant to answer frequent questions I get from strategic, operations, and business perspectives, like: “How do I connect with international audiences and develop an attractive offer and assets when I don’t even speak the language or know anything about the country?” Or, “How can I develop original, localized content for all of these non-English websites if I don’t have enough resources?”

If this is an issue for your business, then it’s highly likely that your international SEO strategy wasn’t planned and established well enough from the beginning, allowing your investment to become cost-effective and scalable in foreign organic search markets.  

I started to cover international SEO from this perspective in a SEER post I wrote about establishing an international SEO strategy

Why would it be unwise for someone to miss your presentation?

Because I will be giving away delicious Iberian ham that I will be bringing from Spain to selected audience members in my session! :D (I’m kidding!)

I really wish I could do that, but unfortunately it is forbidden by US Customs. (Nonetheless, you might want to ask for a change in customs law to make it friendlier to Spanish gastronomy so I can do that in the future.)

Seriously, though, it would be really unwise to skip my session because I will be sharing what could be the next step to grow your online business. You definitely don’t want to miss that.

What types of businesses should be thinking about international SEO, and why?

All businesses that might have an audience in other countries or that speaks other languages should be thinking about it. 

Sometimes people think that only huge businesses that already have a multinational physical presence should be thinking about an international web presence and search marketing activity. But this is far from true and is just myopic. For more, take a look at this Moz post I wrote about discovering your international online potential.  

Regarding international SEO, what is the most unexpected thing you’ve learned along the way?

Maybe not unexpected, but unfortunately usually overlooked: The characteristics of audience behavior in each country.

Beyond language differences, there are many cultural, economic and sociological factors that can affect the success of many aspects of your SEO process, like the level of response from a link-building campaign, for example. At the end, beyond search engines that serve as a bridge, SEO is about the people.

You can have a better understanding of what I’m talking about in this post I published at State of Search about different aspects that drive an international SEO industry and audience research.    

What do you do at SEER Interactive?

My activities at SEER are quite diverse: On one hand, I’m helping to grow the international SEO business, giving SEER more visibility by speaking at diverse events in Europe, identifying and validating leads, giving pre-sales support, and establishing and coordinating the best organization and processes for international SEO. On the other, I’m also developing and helping to implement international SEO processes for current clients.

Tell us about the places you’ve lived.

I’m from Nicaragua, a small, tropical country with a lot of volcanoes, lakes, and beaches on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts in Central America. Nicaragua’s natural landscape is breathtaking; here’s a photo of Momotombo Volcano (one of the 12 volcanoes on the Pacific coast of the country):  

Photo from Flickr (under Creative Commons): http://www.flickr.com/photos/garrettziegler/7355295166/

I grew up, studied, and worked there until I left to study in Salamanca, Spain in 2006. It’s a beautiful student town full of history, with students from all over the world (a lot of people go there to learn Spanish). It’s also home to the University of Salamanca, the oldest university in Spain (where I went to study), which was founded in 1218. Its front building looks like this:

Photo from Flickr (under Creative Commons): http://www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/3855579280/

I ended up staying in Salamanca after finishing my studies, and got my first SEO job at an online marketing company. I lived in Salamanca for a bit more than 4 years — until I came to Madrid, the city where I live now. 

I came to Madrid after accepting an SEO manager position at a company here at the end of 2010. Madrid is an amazing place, since it has the great alternatives that big cities offer, and at the same time allows you to have a good quality of life. Here’s a view of Gran Via, one of the main streets in Madrid:

Photo from Flickr (under Creative Commons): http://www.flickr.com/photos/nico_/6887000482/

What is it about Madrid that keeps you there?

Madrid (followed by Barcelona) is where most of the bigger types of business activity happen in Spain, from trade shows and professional networking events to a wide range of cultural activities. There’s also good weather (there’s always sun, although it might be a bit cold during winter) and great culinary offerings (delicious tapas everywhere!), so I’m happy here at the moment. Although, of course, I’m quite open to experiencing new places to live in the future. I love to travel and experience new cultures.

Are you doing what you thought you’d be doing when you were growing up?

I had the somewhat common “dreams” among children of being an astronaut (I really just wanted to go to space, it wasn’t necessarily because I knew what an astronaut actually did). So that’s really a pending point in my life: going to space! I definitely need to start saving more for that.

What is the last thing that you have seen/heard/experienced that has inspired you?

I’ve recently had two experiences that have been inspiring in different ways.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to go to Israel to speak at KahenaCon and had the great opportunity to spend a Saturday walking around Jerusalem Old City. It was a truly inspiring experience, seeing places with such a rich historical and also religious background, like the Western Wall, the Holy Sepulchre and Dome of the Rock. Even if I’m not religious myself, it was a somewhat magical experience.

Photo from Instagram: http://instagram.com/p/Zucpg1N8yT/ 

Another (and totally different) inspiring moment happened a week ago when I had the chance to try Google Glass. I felt like I was already living in the future, interacting with that small, translucent movie theater-like interface in my glasses with just my voice. Truly amazing.

Photo from Instagram: http://instagram.com/p/Z8tuxJt8yd/

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

To ask myself “What’s the worst that could happen?” when I’m making an important or scary decision. This question allows me to get my risk-averse considerations under control, and gives me a great opportunity to start assessing a new situation with more balanced criteria. By asking this, I’ve been able to go out of my comfort zone more frequently and live new experiences.

Thank you, Aleyda! It was great to learn a bit about your background and how international SEO matters for all types of businesses, not just the big multinationals.

If, like us, you just can’t get enough of Alyeda, you can find her as @aleyda on Twitter (where she juggles Spanish and English).

Still don’t have your #MozCon ticket yet? Reserve your spot now!

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#MozCon Speaker Interview: Karen McGrane

Posted by Erica McGillivray

Karen McGrane I’m really excited that we’re bringing Karen McGrane, CEO at Bond Art + Science, to this year’s MozCon. A veteran of the content world, she’s a champion of making great content accessible to your audience. Karen proclaims that mobile is the best thing that’s ever happened for content. In fact, she wrote a book on it. She’ll be talking “The Mobile Content Mandate” at MozCon, and you won’t want to miss it.

When Karen’s not rooting for seamless content across all devices, you might find her on Twitter @karenmcgrane and maybe chatting about artichokes. Which as I interviewed her, I wanted to know more about both.

What’s inspired you lately?

I always get a huge burst of energy at this time of year. My birthday is April, and springtime always feels like a fresh start. I like to work outside on my terrace when the weather starts getting warm. I’m sitting outside right now! It feels like a good way to get things done and pretend that I’m on vacation at the same time.

Since you’ll be talking about mobile content strategy at MozCon this year, what mobile devices are your favorite to use?

I’m a pretty devoted iOS user—I’m on my third iPhone and second iPad (the iPhone 5 and iPad mini.) I think cross-platform use and testing is a huge challenge on mobile. My developer friends spend a lot of time (and often, money) putting together device labs for testing. We’ve been through this before on the desktop web, and hopefully we’ll move quickly to ensure cross-platform and cross-browser consistency on the mobile web too—that’s what we need to ensure the web grows and evolves.

What sites are your favorite to access on mobile devices?

Sadly, many sites still aren’t optimized for the mobile web. The New York Times mobile website is pretty weak — they’ve invested more in apps — so I still visit their desktop site from my mobile browser. (I led the redesign of that site in 2005, so I’m intimately familiar with it!)

In some cases, the mobile website is actually better than the desktop site. Travel is one category where they’ve invested in optimizing for local users, so in many cases the mobile site is faster and simpler. Booking.com provides a great mobile experience, and it shows. Their revenue from mobile bookings tripled from $ 1 billion to $ 3 billion last year. 

Booking.com

Banking is another category where they’ve invested a lot in transactional applications. I’m consistently impressed by the mobile banking app from my bank, Chase. But banks have a long ways to go in delivering content to mobile users—most offer only a paltry subset of product and customer service content compared to the desktop.

You’re an extremely proficient writer and speaker. Do you have a certain writing routine that you apply to your daily schedule? A time, a place, a device to start with, a process, music?

If I’m writing an article or a new talk, I must ensure that I have a clear schedule. I need an entire day to focus on the writing, and I can’t concentrate if I’m trying to fit it in around client conference calls and meetings. Given any opportunity to distract myself, I will do it! So I also try to make sure my apartment is tidy, and I’m at inbox zero, otherwise I’ll find myself vacuuming under the bed instead of writing.

I like to write on the sofa or outside on my terrace—I find it easier to focus when I’m away from my desk. I sit at my desk and use two monitors when I’m making slides for a talk, but when I’m writing I prefer to just use my laptop.

On your website, your tagline says “On a good day, I make the web more awesome.” Who are the people out there making the web more awesome that you admire?

I’m so grateful to so many people. I’ve learned a lot and been genuinely blessed to work with some amazing people over the years.

The team at Arc90 does some really impressive work, and they are smart people. They put out the read-it-later app Readability, as well as a bunch of projects with banks and publishers.

I teach in the MFA program in Interaction Design at the School of Visual Arts in New York. I teach design management, which is essentially “business skills for user experience designers.” Liz Danzico is the chair of the program, and she’s assembled a fantastic lineup of instructors and every year it’s a great group of students. I learn a lot being a part of it.

And, of course, I’m indebted to Jeffrey Zeldman and the various teams at A List Apart, An Event Apart, and A Book Apart. I write a column for ALA; my book was published by ABA; and I’ve spoken at AEA many times. Zeldman has a real knack for connecting amazing people, and my work is so much better because of the high standards they set.

In addition to being on the cutting-edge of mobile, you’re also a computer history geek. Who’s your favorite unknown scientist or major contributor in computers that made a huge impact on what we do today?

Well, she’s not exactly unknown, but Grace Murray Hopper is an amazing woman and a fantastic role model for our industry. She spent 40 years in the Navy as a computer scientist, retiring as a rear admiral. There are not many programmers who have a U.S. Navy Destroyer named after them, but the U.S.S. Hopper is named for her. I describe her as “the person who taught computers to speak our language.” She came up with the first “compiler,” which essentially allowed people to type commands in English, rather than in binary. It took her years to convince people that computers could do more than just arithmetic.

USS Hopper

Okay, now what I’ve been dying to know, what’s your favorite way to cook an artichoke?

I eat a lot of artichokes. My everyday preparation is simply to steam the whole artichoke and serve it with a vinaigrette made of lime juice and good olive oil. For a fancier preparation, I like to braise the artichokes, searing them first and then simmering them in chicken stock and white wine. The only trick to braising is you need to pull off most of the tough outer leaves—I usually yank off what I think is right, then take off another layer. If you can get baby artichokes, they are especially nice when braised and served with the braising sauce over pasta. (I like to serve them with scallops.) Yum.

Yum indeed. Thank you so much, Karen, for sharing a little bit of the future, a little bit of history, and a little bit about artichokes with us. You can follow Karen on Twitter @karenmcgrane or better yet, join us for her MozCon talk.

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