My First Affiliate Friends

November 13th, 2013 by Karen

This post was inspired by a Facebook thread by a friend of mine, Sarah Bundy. Thanks!

Everyone has a story of how they got started in affiliate marketing and most of them begin with “Well, I was actually doing this other thing at the time…” My story is no different and involves physics, chocolate and a whole lot of strawberries, but I’ll save that for another day.

This post is actually about six people, a whole lot of shenanigans, and a photo booth.

In November of 2003, I had been in the affiliate industry for about five years, and courtesy of several Yahoo groups, regular monthly calls of various managers and hosted by Shawn Collins, and a few early groups like USAMC and iAfma, I had some preliminary acquaintances in the industry, but I had yet to meet anyone in person. Then I managed to convince my boss at the time to let me go to this brand new conference all the way across the country in New York City.

Still not sure exactly how I managed that one!

I attended the very first Affiliate Summit at Baruch College in November of 2003. I learned quite a bit, had some validation on some new things I was doing, and even taught a few others a couple of things. I took a ridiculous amount of notes and I still have the little conference tote bag. After a long day of education and networking, we headed to the rooftop bar for some refreshments and more networking.

Now, anyone who knows me well knows that I’m actually an incredibly shy person. So when I found the number of people in the bar to be a bit overwhelming, I escaped outside and sat down on some sort of bench thing.

That’s when I met Kim.

Kim is my exact opposite…she is boisterous and extroverted and gregarious. I was in awe and a little shell shocked, but in moments we were talking about kids and life and Nebraska and other non-affiliate stuff.

And then we gained Marifer. She sat down with us and within minutes the three of us were giggling like mad and having a blast.

And then “Bob” joined us. We later found out his name was actually Chris, but during one of the sessions earlier that day, the name placards on the speakers table were reversed. We called him Bob for hours and hours before he finally corrected us.

And “the guy whose name I can never remember because he left affiliate marketing to join a band”. Matt? Mike?*

And finally, Scott. I’ve lost when in the evening I actually met Scott, but I’m pretty certain that he’s the only reason that we’re all still alive today.

The party on the rooftop eventually broke up, but the six of us made a night of it. Needless to say, there’s no need to dredge up the specifics of where we went, what we drank, and what we may or may not have done, but we capped off the night with the photobooth memento that lives on a shelf above my monitor. I had an amazing time and even with the discomfort of the early flight I had booked home the next morning, I’ve never regretted it.

…and Kim and I? Well we still like photobooths.

*His name is Mike! Thanks Scott for remembering that!!

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  1. Kim Rowley said,
    on November 13th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I think we picked up Jangro in the elevator. That was my very first adventure traveling alone to a big city, and I remember being shell shocked when you ordered lamb as I didn’t even know back then that people ate baby sheep. Definitely love how we’ve stayed friends over the years – Love you!

  2. Karen said,
    on November 13th, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I had forgotten about that! Love you too!

  3. Shawn Collins said,
    on November 13th, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Awww… USAMC was remembered. It started out as NYAMC in 2000 as a meetup of a bunch of affiliate managers in NYC.

    Then USAMC was an eGroup (later a Yahoo Group) to bring the discussion all around the country.

  4. Scott Jangro said,
    on November 13th, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    If I had a nickel…

  5. Marifer said,
    on November 13th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Direct we go to the synergy 6 circus themed party? Wasn’t Carolyn with us?

  6. Mike J. said,
    on November 13th, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    OMG, I didn’t remember that there were photos!!! Fantastic!

    Ha, yes, me. I still have very fond memories of that night… Baruch, Linkshare Afterparty (in a building across town), Virgil’s in Times Square, Red Rocks West – basis of the movie Coyote Ugly and “Bob”‘s favorite place of all time. I’m sure he still talks about it daily to his friends back home in Texarkanabraskaowa, or wherever he was from. Unfortunately RRW closed a couple years back, that area got hot with gentrification; Batali and Collichio’s expensive places are on that block, and Google bought the building down the block for it’s east coast headquaters.

    Ironically, I didn’t leave affiliate, and, in fact, my band, Evil Jake, is part of why I was doing affiliate in the first place, running sites from the tour van. We toured the US and Europe in 2004, but I just went agency after that – in fact, the germ came from that exact conference – and ended up speaking at even more affiliate conferences. But, I guess because I was all corporate, I couldn’t quite do the same stuff. I had to pretend to be respectable, you know.

    The agency sold in 2012, and since then I’m back to having fun… and music. Actually down in Atlanta for a few months working with some great musicians and writing.

    Thanks for the warm memories.

  7. Chris said,
    on November 14th, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Very nice, Karen.

    You beat me to it. When I saw Shawn posting about the beginning of Affiliate Summit, and Baruch College, I thought about posting something very similar. It’s amazing how that one night affected each of us in a very similar way.

    When I tell people that one of the things I love about affiliate marketing is the fact that I’ve made so many friends, I immediately look back to that very evening. In addition to the “Red Rock 6”, I got the opportunity to meet Jim Kukral on the walk from Baruch back to the hotel, and spent time chatting with Steve Denton on the rooftop — two more guys who I still consider close friends.

    If my memory serves me right, we had dinner at a place Jangro suggested (was it Virgil’s), and that is where Kim told us how small Pierce, Nebraska was (No way will I divulge how she described it!), and where everyone figured out that I wasn’t “Bob”.

    The following day I met up with a coworker from Blair, and we headed off to another conference that was in NYC. We weren’t there for more than a few minutes before Marifer spotted us, came over and said, “Yo Bob! Where are you guys going tonight?”

    “Who was THAT, and who the heck is Bob?”, my coworker asked.

    It was a looong story, and one I’ve told over and over for the past 12+ years.

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