2014 A4D Meetup: Part 1

This is Part 1 of a 3-Part Series. Read the rest below.
2014 A4D Meetup Part 1
2014 A4D Meetup Part 2
2014 A4D Meetup Part 3

It’s 8:54am, Sunday June 22nd, 2014. I’m sitting in a hotel room looking out at a hazy view of the Pacific Ocean.

It’s the morning after the 2014 A4D Meetup and I feel good. I also feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.

I wanted to write this out before I get back on the road and drive back to Hollywood today. So – here goes. But before we start, if you’re not on my email newsletter yet, click here to automatically subscribe.


I left Hollywood at around 2pm. I knew traffic was going to be a mess (it always is) but I wanted to get to the hotel early. I was going to be speaking at the event for the first time ever and I wanted to have a little bit of extra time to prepare.

I did my presentation in Apple Keynote, an app I’d never used before so not only was I unsure about speaking in public, I wasn’t sure if the presentation would even work when I got there. I figured I’d test it in the hotel room, make a few last minute edits and be ready for the show the next day.

Before I left I had a quick conversation with myself. It went something like this:

“Dear self: Today I am going to be driving on the highway to San Diego. During this trip, things will probably not go my way. There will be traffic jams, wrecks, people will cut me off and honk their horns at me. I will most likely have to pee in a disgusting gas station toilet.

All of these things are part of the adventure and the adventure is the thing that matters. The time I arrive at my destination is irrelevant.

The thing that matters most is that I enjoy the adventure as it unfolds. Every part of it, good or bad.”

Conversation over, I pulled my car out the garage, and drove onto Sunset Blvd. A few minutes later I hit the 101 and headed out on the highway.

Straight into a massive traffic jam.

Traffic Jam(s)

Cars were bumper to bumper for as far as the eye could see. People were honking, I could see arms in cars waving at each other and flipping each other off. It was like driving into a stream of hot, raw anger.

a4d meetup 2014

As my car came to a complete stop I laughed. “Just as planned I thought, it’s going just as I planned”.

It’s crazy how setting your mind up before going into a situation can change things.

Normally I would have:

  • Punched my steering wheel a few times
  • Started looking for holes in traffic I could wedge myself into
  • Spend each second trying to advance through the mess as fast as possible

This time I just sat, turned on the radio and listened to some music. No problem.

A4D Meetup - Monster Energy Drink

The traffic finally cleared about 30 minutes later and I was finally able to drive the speed limit. It didn’t last long though. Just minutes later I’d come to another complete stop. Over and over again.

  • I had prepared for this
  • I listened to a few podcasts
  • I had a Monster Zero Ultra.
  • No problem.

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Hard Rock San Diego Valet
Screenshot of the Hard Rock Valet from The Day 1 Video on Youtube

I finally pulled into the Hard Rock valet area around 6:30. The two and a half hour drive had take four and a half hours. The valet opened my door:

“Checking in?” he asked. “Yeah, two days” I answered.
“Okay – valet is $40 a day, just so you know” he said.
“$40 a f#cking day to park, are f#cking crazy asshole?” I thought.
“Okay, cool” I said, and I walked inside.

Arrival complete.

I Don’t Want Pizza or Drinks, But I’ll Go

That night I went to a gathering at Basic bar and saw some old friends.

Basic is a place for pizza and alcohol, which are two things I don’t really mess with these days… But I decided to go ahead and go down there to see who was there. I only get to see my online friends a few times a year.

a4d meetup party malan darras
Pounding down waters with A4D’s Mike Pavez.

I ended up hanging out with and meeting a lot of the newer A4D team (they just keep growing) and saw some long time buddies like Jason, Joe and Tobias

We invented this sh#t. Me and Jason Akatiff from A4D.
We invented this sh#t. Me and Jason Akatiff from A4D.

I got to meet a long time Twitter friend @uccash in person which was really cool. Dude is a heavy lifting maniac. We talked marketing and fitness for a good while. Nice to meet ya bro.

I also ran into “Steve”, the affiliate manager that introduced me to the game 5 years ago. We still see each other from time to time, he’s no longer an affiliate manager (so don’t ask for an intro haha) he’s doing his own thing now, a very wise move on his part.

I’m Outta Here

I called an Uber around 10pm. I was beatdown from the drive, the San Diego Padres were playing a game just a few blocks away, the entire GasLamp district was a mad house.

@uucash jumped in the car with me and thank God for that because our UberX driver spoke very little English and had no idea how to get us back to the hotel. UberX is cheap, but it’s a gamble. About 50% of the time they don’t know how to get around at all. Thankfully @uucash did the navigating and we got there in one piece.

Bachelorette Party Central

The Hotel was insanely loud. I saw 3–4 bachelorette parties go by. A madhouse. Elevator to my room. People were running up and down the halls screaming, laughing, fighting, screaming again. It was pretty clear that there would be no sleep.

*Note: If you want a quiet, peaceful stay in San Diego, stay FAR FAR away from the Hard Rock hotel. It’s been this way every time I’ve stayed here. Great if you’re looking for a big party night, horrible if you want to actually sleep.

Somewhere around midnight I got into bed, launched my Rain Rain app to drown out the partying, pulled the covers up and breathed deep. Come on sleep, come on baby.

Day 1 in the can.

This is Part 1 of a 3-Part Series. Read the rest below.
2014 A4D Meetup Part 1
2014 A4D Meetup Part 2
2014 A4D Meetup Part 3

Click Here to Watch the A4D Meetup Day 1 video on Youtube >> 

  • Jordan

    Wish I could have made it out to this one!

    As an awkward dude filled with anxiety I can’t get myself to get out there to these meetups.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      I get it, read the story of how I forced myself to go to Affiliate Summit West in 2009 (Few paragraphs down) http://www.malandarras.com/affiliatemarketingtraining

    • Rory Coyle

      This was my first meetup and I definitely felt like the awkward dude / nobody noobie, but it turned out to be an awesome experience and I had the chance to meet a lot of great people (including Malan), all of whom were super supportive and engaging. Definitely recommend forcing yourself to go to the next one. 😉

  • http://www.academicads.ca/ Lorne Fade

    Reading through this almost makes me feel like I was there. You making it to ASE this year Malan?

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Probably so. I’d normally skip it due to the 4-5 hour flight from LA to NY, but the A4D Meetup was so fun, i’m thinking of hitting more conferences this year.

  • http://www.ochoamedia.com Edgar Ochoa

    I have to agree, it feels a little awkward, but once you’re there and start talking to people, you’ll begin to feel different. Plus, you’ll get to meet new people and make friends. Great presentation by Malan — and it was also nice saying hi to him.

    I’ll definitely be going to more of these!

    EDIT: I meant to reply to “Guest” in response to his comment.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      great meeting you Edgar. glad you had a good time

      • http://www.ochoamedia.com Edgar Ochoa

        thanks Malan… It was also great meeting you!

  • Iliyan Deyanov Tsonev

    Thank you Malan Darras to posting almost everyday. The way you are writing the articles and those 3 videos from the meetup is like i’ve been with you all the time 🙂

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      cool glad they’re working. that was pretty much my goal. thanks Iliyan

  • Petre Veluda

    Cool videos Malan. Thanks for sharing your experience there. It was funny how you said your body is telling you about not receiving the amount of calories it’s used to, so true bro ;)!

    Maybe in a future video you’ll tell us more about your morning routine, like when you get up and what gets you going, how much time you spend preparing for the day, what you eat .. etc.! You know the stuff.

    Anyway, thanks again for documenting your trip.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      you must have read my mind. i recorded my morning routine yesterday and posted it just a few seconds ago. haha https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GpwI8jO6Sc&list=UUoM5UvXoqDHd2zCpqTrUm3w

      • Petre Veluda

        🙂 this is really funny and glad you made the video. Mornings are so important because of so many reasons… Since I started treating them seriously I saw improvements right away and now that I’m applying the “Affiliate Marketing style” of starting the day my productivity went through the roof !!

        More on the video: I use the same bottle of Listerine (“The taste you hate twice a day”, right?) and I do all my work on a 13″ MacBook Air using a Roost Stand :)! Indeed I have a 21″ monitor but the months of April and May I was away and only used the “mobile” setup and it’s true, that’s all you need.

        • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

          nice, yeah that Listerine is brutal, but it makes me feel like it’s working.

          I think we both probably got the idea for the Roost from Charles, his mobile setup recommendation became my main setup. Been using this minimal setup for a few months with no problems. I’ll probably do a post on the pros and cons soon.

          • Petre Veluda

            yeap, Charles was the one. I just don’t use the pad, I’m using a regular Logitech bluetooth mouse but I guess everyone has its own preferences

            a review will be great sure. You can also ask for opinions from those who use it and so the post will be much easier to write.

          • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

            What’s funny is Charles recommended the pad a really long time ago (possibly 1+ years ago) and I bought it and never used it. Then after I saw his travel setup, I decided to just go for it and force myself to get used to it. Now, I love it.

          • Petre Veluda

            Yes, I feel the same. Maybe I’ll give it a try. I can borrow one from my friends and see how it goes. It’s actually pretty awesome what you can do with a pad these days but I guess it depends on what you actually use it for and how you feel most comfortable.

  • ChazTramayne

    I liked it!