Personal Verve Search

Do, or not do. There is no try

So go the words of Jedi Master Yoda, in the film Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, the best Star Wars movie by far and certainly written before George Lucas’s hushed-up death in a freak combine harvester accident, when he was replaced by a moronic stand-in who obviously knew nothing about classic Sci-Fi and was obsessed with juvenile racial stereotypes; hence Ja-Ja Binks.

It’s also (apparently) my boss’s favourite quote but she’s Norwegian, so we’ll let her off.

No surprise then that even before I’d properly joined Verve Search she had announced that she was going to put me up as a speaker at this month’s SES London search conference.

Do or not do. There is no try.

Lisa’s motives were entirely selfish. She’s been a regular fixture at almost every search event I’ve been to over the last few years and I was always impressed by her insights.

That was one of the reasons I was so keen to work at Verve in the first place.

She said she just wanted to sit this one out, take a holiday with the family, part of a wider context of leaving the frontline work at Verve in the hands of someone capable while she devotes time to developing the wider business. And I’ll be helping him.

Anyways, I am Lisa by proxy for SES2013.

I won’t be an exact stand-in of course: I’m 6ft 4ins tall (and a man) and our dress sizes are most definitely different for starters — besides, that would be just creepy — but I will be doing my best to do what she does: making people think about doing Search properly (you’ll notice no uses of the word “try” in there).

And here is my problem: I’ve never done that before.

Yes, I’ve been to tons of search conferences and joined in the discussions but because of corporate sensibilities I’ve never stood on a platform and given an audience of like-minded enthusiasts a piece of my mind.

Oh, I’ve addressed company audiences. There was the three-hour off-the-cuff lecture to a room full of straight-faced German marketers; it had to be unscripted because of a mix-up at Munich airport which meant I didn’t have the right cables and couldn’t start my computer, let alone attach it to an overhead projector. A tough audience but they asked me to come back.

Or the Washington crowd who arrived as SEO skeptics and left as Organic Search evangelists.

And that’s not to mention the countless boardroom presentations and sales pitches when I was at an agency before.

But a room full of other SEOs?

Of course, given a sample of 100 SEOs you’ll get 101 opinions … and four of them will be mine. That’s what’s worrying me: will I get the right four?

Deadline day is under two weeks now. First task is to decide what I’ll be angling it on.

Expect me to come back to you frequently over the next 10 days or so via this blog and my Twitter accounts @maxormark and @BiginSEO to bounce some ideas off you or just vent.

I love my job.