5 PubCon Badge Essentials

If you’ve never heard of it, PubCon is a four-day search marketing conference that features leading-edge education and networking in over 90 sessions and some 200 expert speakers on social media, affiliate marketing, search, SEO and SEM.

My PubCon badge arrived in the mail yesterday. It’s nice to have it in advance and avoid the lines at registration. It’s not an ordinary conference badge either (this thing could double as a mini survival kit). As I like to be prepared for 4 days on the conference floor in Vegas (3 days and one day in the bar), I put together a list of what I consider to be 5 essentials those attending PubCon may want to consider carrying in their badge packages.

pubcon badge front6 pouch PubCon badge with key essentials

The photo above shows the front of the PubCon 2009 badge along with some key essentials. If you take a look at your conference badge holder you’ll notice it has six different compartments. One of the front compartments even has a zipper and there’s Velcro to help keep items in place.

I experimented putting various items in the front pouch like my iPhone 3G which fit snugly within the zippered enclosure. I don’t know that I’d recommend keeping your mobile electronics in your badge pouch as it could put an unnecessary strain on your neck. OK, here’s my five essentials for those attending PubCon 2009 in Las Vegas…

pubcon pouch backBack of pouch with business cards and pens

1) Business Cards — There’s a nice slot in the back pouch to hold plenty of your business cards. I was able to fit 30 of mine in there with no problem. You can never have too many business cards when attending an event like PubCon as there’s numerous networking opportunities.

2) Pen / Marker — Also on the back of the badge is a slot for two pens, pencils or other writing devices. Bring along a good pen (I like my Dos Equis XX pen since it lights up – can come in handy in Vegas) and maybe even a magic marker or some other writing device. History has shown it’s really good to have something like a Sharpie on hand, especially if somebody gives you one of those glossy business cards that you can’t write on with an ordinary pen. Best to be prepared.

3) USB Stick — This one is especially important if you’re speaking at PubCon. You never know what could go wrong, so it’s great to have a backup of your PowerPoint presentation on a USB memory card, tucked away in your conference pouch.

4) Gum — It’s Vegas, I suspect there will be lots of caffeine in the morning, and lots of alcohol in the evening, with plenty of conversation in between. It would do well to have plenty of gum handy (or mints if you prefer) and if you keep it in your conference pouch it won’t get all sticky like it does when you keep it in your pocket.

5) Vitamins — This suggestion may not seem to fit, but for the same reasons mentioned above (caffeine/alcohol and long days/nights), I found it can be helpful to increase the dosage on your regular daily intake of vitamins. Pack enough for your week in Vegas and keep them daily in your conference pouch. I think everyone in attendance will appreciate everyone else being in the best of health, while we all hang out in Vegas.

pubcon business cardsBusiness Cards from people attending PubCon

Aside from the five essentials, there are many other valuable uses for your PubCon conference badge holder. The slot right behind your name tag is perfect for placement of business cards you receive from others. This way, if you’ve had a few drinks while networking, you’ll have a strategy down… your cards in the back and cards from others in the front.

You may have noticed in the top photograph that there is cash shown inside the pouch. There’s plenty of room for cash (and the zippered enclosure makes things even better) but it didn’t make my top five list. Vegas is definitely a place to have plenty of dollar bills handy, especially if you’re taking cabs around town, and having people carry bags for you. So maybe, some extra dollar bills inside your conference pouch isn’t a bad idea.

Did I leave anything off the list that should be an essential? See you in Las Vegas!


  1. Michael, it was nice meeting you at Think Tank. I dig this post because it is a no-brainer, especially the GUM. Nothing worse than having a face-to-face conversation with bad breath. Yuk!

  2. Instant Gatorade. Drink 2 (or more) glasses of it prior to going to bed. This works best if you are one of those night owls that stays out in the bars all night. Then drink as needed when you wake up prior to starting the new day (assuming you get any sleep).

    Water is your friend but add in some Gatorade and its your BFF.

  3. The pouch is definitely great to hold biz cards as I would often just put them in the back sheath of the normal badges given out.

    Also its great to put all those drink tickets & casino chips tho it seems a bit big and cumbersome.

    It was good to see you recently at WordCamp LA & look forward to crazy week in Vegas next month.

    ,Michael Martin

  4. Eric: Great to meet you too. I use to always run out of gum now I try and carry extra, costco style. 🙂

    daver: Never tried that, sounds like a great strategy. I use the vitamin c packets in water, works for me.

    Michael Martin: Haha, afterwards I thought about things like matches, cigarettes, and drink tickets. Hopefully you’ll need an extra large pouch for casino chips.

  5. Thanks for the reminder. I’ve added lip balm to the list, because that Vegas air is sooo dry!

  6. That’s a good addition Andy, it even fits in one of the pen slots, just tested it out.

  7. I think the nifty note pad is essential for the badge Probably in the main pocket. Maybe a contest for most cleverly packed PubCon badge is in order?

  8. How about a little bottle of hand sanitizer? After shaking all of those hands, something to kill off any stray germs that may have passed from hand to hand through the evening.

  9. Robert Wright: yeah, something to take notes on may come in handy, like a little black book.

    Arif Gangji: good call, gotta keep those vegas germs under control. 🙂

  10. Where’s the hand sanitizer?

  11. Love the photo of the biz cards 🙂

    I always wonder why Vegas cabbies don’t sell packs of water bottles out of their trunks… every ride should pick one up upon arrival at the hotel…. hydrate hydrate hydrate. Good call on the Vitamin C, although in flu season indoors in Vegas I would double up on daily D as well.

    Two more tips:

    I like to stick a few strips of tape to my badge or man purse before leaving for Vegas. I always have a use for it at some point during the week.

    I always bring a mini screwdriver that fits my laptop hard drive / memory chip compartments, in a small antistatic bag. Twice I’ve had to get depot service to repair a laptop while in Vegas, and it’s super wise to remove the hard drive and extra memory before leaving it for repair.

  12. Great now people are going to be ripping badges from our neck that they think is full of money.

  13. Bill Hartzer: Remember when vegas use to have those wipes you could use to get the grime from your change off your hands? Those would be good and would fit too.

    John Andrews: That’s a serious business card collection 🙂

    David Ogletree: There will be no money in my conference pouch 😉

  14. OH. Didn’t get my registration packet yet? Hum?

  15. Any word on the internet access while at the convention center? Saw the post on Cheetah and Clear wireless but was just wondering what the situation with internet access is while at the sessions. Thanks.

  16. Suzanne: Lots of others got theirs before mine arrived, probably getting sent in batches with the most important people last. 🙂

    parky: I saw that post too, looks like a good deal, I bet there will still be some sort of wifi offered from PubCon as well, but group wifi seems tough to keep stable all week. I prefer to bring my own card just in case.


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