It won’t be long before we’re all gathered at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio for Dad 2.019! As attendees, you may have questions about the event. Whether you’re curious about the dress code, engaging with sponsors, or making the most of all the things, we’re here to help. It’s what we do.
First and foremost: On Thursday, February 21, at 4:30pm, there will be an informative session for new attendees to help everyone get acclimated and to address any other questions or concerns you may have, presided over by Whit Honea and his ebullient trousers. So go to that.
And now . . .
7 Best Practices for the Dad 2.0 Summit
1. Outboarding & Suitcasing
If you’ve attended conferences in the past, you may be familiar with outboarding and suitcasing; if you haven’t, here’s what you need to know:
- Suitcasing refers to non-sponsoring companies or persons who attend a conference (at an affordable ticket price that is subsidized by paying Sponsors) and then aggressively promote their own businesses.
- Outboarding refers to non-sponsoring companies who set up events to draw conference attendees away from the regular programming and paying Sponsor engagements.
This also happens online, where brands and individuals who are not involved with Dad 2.0 try to hijack hashtags and tie their own interests to it. Turns out, not everyone on the internet is legit. Who knew?
You can read more about it here in our Sponsorship Policy, but the tl;dr version is: Don’t do it. Suitcasing and Outboarding hurt the conference, and they hurt dads. So we have strict rules against them, including ejection (and, in some states, flogging). And if you see anything that looks suspiciously nefarious, we appreciate all efforts to report it and make it clear that it won’t be tolerated. Consider yourself deputized!
2. Dress Code (a/k/a What Not To Wear)
First, consider the weather. Second, consider this New York Times piece about Dad 2.013, which remarked how professional our attendees were dressed. That speaks to how seriously we take the conference, the community, the sponsors, and the conversations we’re having. Sure, we’re also going to have a lot of fun. But we’re going to be grown-ups about it.
- For the conference: The event is business casual. A lot of people are coming to network and otherwise conduct business, and it never hurts to look the part. Most attendees wear slacks or a nice pair of jeans with a collared shirt. Maybe a sports coat. You might see a tie or two, and even the occasional suit. If you wear cargo shorts, we will mock you, openly.
- For working out: We are fans of staying fit, and there will be a morning exercise activity for attendees. So bring a pair of sneakers and workout clothes.
- For the nightlife: When you’re stepping out after hours, do as you do.
Basically, aim for this:
3. Locals Only
We know this sounds like we’re being sticklers, but sessions, meals, and assorted whatnot are only open to ticketed attendees. (See FAQ #17.) That means spouses, kids, and people you meet on the Riverwalk all need to have a paid ticket to enjoy the sessions and festivities. And eat. To put it in perspective, think of it as reverse suitcasing. It’s not fair for non-attendees to get all the benefits of someone that did pay, no matter how many beaded necklaces they give you. Make life fair again.
Business cards aren’t just for winning a free lunch, they’re also for making impressions, sharing information, and cementing relationships that could lead to the next big thing in your professional and/or personal life. Interestingly, every year the biggest feedback we get from attendees is: “I wish I had talked to more people sooner.” Meeting new people can be uncomfortable, but remember, everyone at Dad 2.0 shares a love for all things fatherhood. Talk to someone about that. Then give them your business card.
Don’t be this guy, whom we met courtesy of National Geographic at Dad 2.014:
Another great asset to have at the ready, specifically if you are interested in connecting with our sponsors for future endeavors, is a quick link to your media kit. Sponsors love that stuff.
Speaking of which . . .
5. Sponsors 2.0 & IRL
We cannot stress this enough: Please engage with the Sponsors. As if the business reasons listed above weren’t enough, remember that these are brands that are investing their time, money, and messaging in fatherhood. That’s a big deal. Spend time with them in the Dad 2.0 Marketplace, attend their special sessions, interact with them online (using their correct hashtag). Thank them for their support, and find a way to work together!
6. Pace yourself
The days are long and packed with amazing Speakers, Sponsors, conversation, food, and other diversions. San Antonio has a lot going on, especially on the Riverwalk, and there will be ample opportunity to see some sights and have tons of fun. We would never tell you how to spend your downtime, but we do ask that you keep your eye on the prize and be fully present for the conference. You can always sleep on the plane.
To better plan your day, make sure you register in advance for anything that requires it, some of which will be posted on this site or in the official Dad 2.019 closed Facebook group, but others will be more visible at the conference.
As an added bonus (and to keep all of us on schedule), you’ll hear chimes at various times throughout the conference. The chimes mean it is time to move to the next official event, and has very little to do with our infatuation with Pavlov. And when you hear the music start up in the main ballroom, it means we’re coming back into our General Session. Grab a coffee, and a grab a seat!
7. Take Charge!
You’ll likely have your smartphone/tablet/laptop with you at all times, because the shareable, quotable, and all-together hashtaggable [#dad2summit] opportunities will be everywhere—whether inspiration or celebration, the moments are amazing and the world deserves to know.
Outlets may not be readily available or convenient for hundreds of people to charge their devices at once, so don’t forget your portable battery chargers and cords!
On that note, we’ll see you in San Antonio where these tips are guaranteed to help you have your brisket and eat it, too!