Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Alt NYC: Finally, a recap

Well, this only took me a little over 2 months to write. After seeing so much NYC in the news over the past week, I was inspired to finally write my Alt NYC recap and remember the city in a happier time.

To keep in form, I'll title this "Through the Awkward Eye" again, even though my experience in New York was littered with far less awkward-ness than back in Salt Lake City. I know, it's disappointing. Well, it all started because I was lucky enough to have won a ticket to Alt in NYC about 2 weeks before the actual conference. Honestly, I was a little torn. On one hand, I was over-the-moon excited to be able to go to Alt again, and this time in one of my favorite cities. But the other part of me was shaking in my boots, because once again, I would be putting on my big girl pants and *gasp*, mingle with others. Visions of my painfully awkward experience in SLC were playing out in my head and kind of made me want to puke. I know what you're thinking...."Why would you want to go again then?". Well, at the end of the day, Alt is such a beautiful and inspiring event that makes your heart burst with creativity and motivation and unicorns and cool stuff like that. No matter how awkward my first encounter with Alt was, everything I took away from the conference overshadowed that. Not only the things I learned at the conference, but the things I learned about myself, and the confidence I gained to feel comfortable in my own skin. And boy, am I glad I ventured out again...

Dare I say...Alt NYC was better than the Salt Lake City event. It was 100 times smaller, and was only one day, but those 2 things, I think, are what made it so amazing. I didn't feel as overwhelmed as I did in January and it was just so much more comfortable and natural overall. It didn't hurt that Martha Stewart made a guest appearance either! I think experiencing Alt for the first time back in January, I was able to be much more laid back this time around, and was more eager to learn than to impress. And honestly, it worked for me. People were actually coming to me, instead of slowly backing away. Maybe it was my killer bright red pants, who knows. Don't get me wrong, I still did have a few awkward conversations, but all in all, it was fantastic.

The caliber of the speakers in New York was amazing. Especially Tina Roth Eisenberg, from Swiss Miss. I was pretty floored listening to all the speakers, and felt so invigorated and honestly, like I could take on the world.

Believe it or not, I talked with a bunch of cool folks and DID NOT scare them away immediately. It's true, it's true. I actually managed to make decent small talk and sound like a normal human being. The whole time in my head, I was like, "Hot damn Tara! Work it, work it!" I was pretty impressed with myself. Even during the party at the end of the night, I talked with 3 separate people, and did not miss a beat. No studdering, no weird comments, nothing. After my pleasant conversations, I decided to duck out early, you know, while I was ahead. No need to push my luck in the awkward department.

The view from the rooftop of Martha Stewart Omnimedia

The 2 1/2 glorious days I spent in the city were pure bliss. Even though I've been to NYC multiple times previously, it was like I was re-discovering the city again. And, boy oh boy, I fell in love hard. Exploring the city by myself was perfect. It was so nice to get a little time away and re-group. There's no other city to feel more inspired, than New York City.

I very much hope that there is another Alt in New York in the years to come, it's such a great alternative to the January event. Personally, I think the one reason I love this conference so much is not only is it wildly inspiring to creatives like me, but both the Salt Lake City and NYC conferences made me push my boundaries of comfort, which made me more confident and led me to produce some of my best work this year.

I was totally blown away by the High Line.

On one final note, since I did so well being a normal person for once in my life, this post won't contain any embarrassing stories of me giving my medical insurance card to the car rental agent. (Oh god, I still cringe and get barf chunks in my mouth when I think about that...) or anything like that. And, unfortunately I won't be attending Alt Summit in Salt Lake City this January either, so you'll have to wait for more embarrassing stories in future posts. Don't worry, there are guaranteed to be many my friends, many...

*See my first Alt Summit recap here.


Sandra said...

Tara, did we meet at ALTNYC or ALTSLC? Because, you know, I might have scared YOU away with my awkward silences or bizarro comments.

I'm sure that I used to be MUCH better at smalltalk. Now, not so much.

I'm going back to ALT in January and hopefully will be MUCH more skilled to the point where I can be an average networker...

Tara said...

haha, I don't think we did meet, unfortunately! We'll have to meet at a future Alt event and talk about how awkward we each are! Fun!

Have fun in Salt Lake City, wish I could have nabbed a ticket!