Thursday, August 5, 2010

Word To Yo Mutha! The Yahoo! Motherboard Summit

First of all, forgive me for using a Vanilla Ice quote in my title, but I thought it was a great way to show my enthusiasm for the amazing weekend I had as guests of Yahoo! for their first ever Yahoo! Motherboard Summit. Word! Also, it did remind me of a crazy karaoke night I had while I was there – I don't think I sang any Vanilla Ice, but I do remember belting out 'California Gurls' at the top of my lungs while doing some sort of pathetic shimmy during the 'Daisy Dukes, bikinis on top' part of the song. Which proves there is no dignity in karaoke, my friends – only grainy iPhone videos that a college admissions director will one day find online.

But enough about derailing my kid's future! Let me tell you about the Yahoo! Motherboard.

So, what is the Yahoo! Motherboard? It's a group of around 70 social-media savvy, plugged-in mom bloggers from around the country (and Canada) put together by Yahoo! to share and exchange ideas on everything from parenting to politics to current events. I'm honored to be in the company of such a smart, prolific group of writers and can't figure out for the life of me how I was chosen, although I'm thinking my days might be numbered once they get their hands on the above-mentioned video and see how I butchered 'Livin' On A Prayer.'

And let me just say that Yahoo! certainly does everything in style. They offered to fly us to their headquarters in Sunnyvale (I drove, more about that later) and put us up in the Four Seasons Hotel in Palo Alto. I'm not used to such swanky accommodations – how is it that there is an elevator that stops on every floor, and each room has its own toilet? And try as I might, I couldn't find a single blood stain on the bedspread. Who stays here, the Queen? My room was huge, with a massive bed made out of ecstasy and clouds. Then there was the luxurious bathroom with a huge sunken tub and a TV coming out of the wall. Yes, I soaked in there while sipping a glass of wine and watching The Food Network. (That last sentence there? Pretty much sums up how I'd like to die.)


The actual conference portion of the summit consisted of several informational sessions on things like online safety, editorial guidelines and various aspects of the Yahoo! brand. My favorite was the one presented by the people behind Shine, Yahoo!'s website just for women. I liked how they gave us straighforward, useful information about writing for the online community, and how to get people to read our content. Much more useful tutelage than what I got from an editor I once worked with who told me, "Sex in the title and boobs somewhere on the page." I did what he said, but I still thought it was a bit much for the PTA newsletter.

There were some sobering moments during the conference, too. One of the most impactful presentations was the one on online safety that involved the tragic, heartbreaking story of a teen driven to suicide by a sexting incident. (My fellow blogger April writes about it here.) I don't think there was a dry eye in the house when the video was over, and we all thought long and hard about how much more we were going to keep an eye on our kids and their texts and Facebook pages.

And what story about 70 women in one place would be complete without a paragraph or two about cocktails and food? There was plenty of it, starting with the amazing spread during our conference (check out those cupcakes) and our lovely dinner at Nola afterwards. Come to think of it, there was hardly a moment when we weren't surrounded by an abundance of things to eat and drink. At the Yahoo! headquarters they have their own cafe, where all the workers can get free beverages and snacks all day long. I don't know about you, but as far as employee perks go unlimited cappuccinos beats a 401k, a dental plan and a corner office any day.

And speaking of liquid gluttony, at the hotel I had what is now my favorite drink ever – the Basil Lemon Drop Martini. Not only is it tasty, but you can feel good about drinking it because between the basil and the lemon it's practically got a salad built right into it. Genius is what it is! I'm thinking if I use one of them to wash down a multi-vitamin I can call it a meal.

And here's something hysterical – somehow along the way, I got talked into being on a panel of bloggers who gave feedback on and talked about Yahoo!'s advertising. I know! How did that happen? I figure someone must have gotten drunk, scrawled my name on the chalkboard as a joke, and then didn't realize what they had done until the programs were printed up. I can just see them now, pointing fingers at each other and saying, "I thought YOU erased her name," and then someone got fired. But I guess I did okay – no one booed or threw their gum at me – and I think somewhere there's a video of it that I can watch someday. I'm betting it will be just as painful as that karaoke footage, except with more shimmying and less music.

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It really was a memorable weekend, and I have to thank the organizers at Yahoo! Amy Heinz, Jeanne Moeschler and Stacy Libby – for putting together such a great event where I not only came away with valuable information, but where I got to meet and hang out with such an intriguing, exceptional, badass group of women. 

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April said...

I don't remember the shimmying, but maybe it's just 'cuz I was drunk. At least we made it back to the hotel.
Thanks for linking to my post. I hope there are many more Basil Lemon Drop Martinis in your future! I think you need to add that to the dream death scenario.

Amy @ YodelingMamas said...

I can forgive a lot of things, but not butchering Bon Jovi. Oh, ok, I'll forgive that too. We weren't drunk when we put you on the panel (which is hard to believe since we're constantly surrounded by salad martinis), we just wanted to hear your great perspective and really appreciated you participating. Thanks for joining the fun and making this recap just as much fun!

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