SearchLabs Sao Paulo look back

The purpose of my travel two weeks ago to Sao Paulo Brazil, was presenting on SearchLabs. I was invited to speak on SEO for large ecommerce websites. Usually, as an in-house SEO, I have not much appetite to go speaking at conferences. There is hardly any value your company can get out of the fact you might be giving away trade secrets, other than recruiting purposes or brand building. However, in this case, I was very interested.

My session was primarily focused on SEO for large websites, organizational structure and product life cycle. I touched on the new crawler insights we have since a couple of month, and finalized with some cool innovation like our redirect on special items like the Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich from years ago. As an extra added bonus, I discussed how you can use data from your site as link bait or story telling. Obviously my iPad export story I used a couple of times in other presentation is still #1 here.

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On the last day of the conference, the ending session was a Q&A with a bunch of the speakers on stage. Since we had been drinking Caipirinha before in the hotel lobby, more were ordered to drink on stage. Obviously this was not expected, but the audience could appreciate it.

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Luckily, we did all the interviews already before the Caipirinha’s, so we could just continue after the last session to get some drinks and Mortadella sandwich.

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I had a blast on the Searchlabs conference with Vanessa, Todd, Gillian and all the other speakers and audience. Thank you Miguel & Alexandre for having me and being such good hosts. And special thanks to Mister Juliano, who has showed what Brazilian hospitality is all about!

If you would like to book me to speak on a conference, you can contact me.

I got permission from Webord and Alexandre Formagio to post the pictures in this post.

Sao Paulo Street Art Graffiti

While walking on the streets of Sao Paulo, I’ve seen some wonderful street art in the form of graffiti. I was unfortunately not always able to make pictures of the graffiti, but it’s worth it to keep looking around while walking/driving on the streets of Sao Paulo.

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In between the wonderful graffiti, you can find the gang marks on every building. Especially the abandoned buildings in Sao Paulo are full of  strange looking marks, where the building almost falls apart.

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Rua dos Holandeses Sao Paulo

I wonder how many people were celebrating the victory of the Dutch soccer team on Brazil on the World Cup in South Africa this year on this street. It IS the Street of the Dutch (Rua dos Holandeses) in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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Sunday Afternoon Drinks in Sao Paulo

For Searchlabs, I traveled all the way to Brazil Sao Paulo. I will be speaking on Thursday on SEO for large websites. In the coming days, I will describe how my first trip on the Southern Hemisphere is proceeding.

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On Sunday morning I arrived in Sao Paulo after a trip of more than 17 hours. I flew over Chicago, where I just had a short lay over due to the cancellation of a complete flight from United Airlines. Luckily I had somebody in Sao Paulo I knew from a few years ago, who would make time to show me around. Juliano Motta used to work for Mercado Libre, and we met at one of our Marketing Colleges in San Jose years ago. We stayed in touch over the years, and it is always good to see old friends after some time.

Juliano picked me up from my hotel and we went for a couple of drinks on a square with live music, for dinner at a restaurant hidden from the main roads, something you would never find if you didn’t know it, we walked into a last Sunday of the month Samba practice on a small basketball field, and ended up going to two different places with live music, while finishing off the evening having burgers at 3.30 am.

Here are some of the pictures that speak to the story above here!

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Picture below: Street hamburgers from the back of a car in Sao Paulo

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Here is a video of the Samba practice, only happening on the last Sunday of the months.

Getting Food While Traveling

One thing you always run into while traveling is the bad food on airports. Especially in the US, there is hardly anything else to eat than fast food on the major airports. So what do you do if you didn’t even had breakfast, you flight got cancelled, and you have 3 hours to kill on the airport with a 4.5 hour flight ahead of you on which no food is served.

Right, you go get taco’s for breakfast… with beer and extra hot salsa

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And you will know when you are in the Mid-West of the US, when you order a roast beef sandwich on Chicago O’Hare, and you get more meat than bread or salad.

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United Airlines Flight Disappears

On my way to Brazil, I was going to catch a flight from SFO to Chicago O’Hare. I had to get up reasonably early as I could not check in for any other reason online. This meant I didn’t have a seat assigned yet. And although I had a pretty good connection time in Chicago to Sao Paulo, I didn’t want to push my chances.

Coming at the counter of United Airlines it appeared my whole flight was cancelled. WTF! How am I supposed to get to Chicago to catch my flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil? Luckily there was a later flight, where I even had the luck te get a Economy Plus seat assigned.

But seriously United, how can you cancel a complete flight?

Chicken Tika Marsala in BA lounge Heathrow Airport

For so many times, I hated to fly over Heathrow. But now, with all BA flights arriving and departing from Terminal 5, I actually enjoy making a transfer on Heathrow. Especially if I can enjoy some time in the British Airways lounge. They have the best food I’ve eaten in any of the lounges where I’ve been.

The Chicken Tike Marsala is just amazing, which made me come back for more twice today.

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And the traditional English Sandwiches are perfect if you would like another bite after the rice with chicken.

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Flying with strong winds

I’m about to fly out from San Francisco International Airport, SFO, where there is currently a strong wind and heavy rain. Sometimes it makes me a little nervous, especially with the take off.

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Wind comes from SSE, which means the planes will take off with the wind in the back.  Winds at 48km/h, gusting to 58km/h.

On my way to SFO, a large tree fell over the 280 South bound, which made an ugly traffic jam for the people going south. Lucky me I had no delays.

Update: after rain comes the sunshine. Just one hour later, the sky is clearing, sun pops through the clouds and rain has stopped.

After the rain, comes the sunshine - SFO feb 26 2010

After the rain, comes the sunshine - SFO feb 26 2010

Too bad the crew arrived late at SFO because of the weather and traffic. Now so much for the planning of coming early!

Night out at The Bund Shanghai

Drinks-at-Glamour-barAfter a couple of days hard work in Shanghai, there was time for some good restaurants, bars and clubbing. The Thursday night we started for cocktails in Glamour bar, which is located next to the river with a great view.

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Glamour Bar itself is definitely worth visiting. Stylish interior where antique furniture is combined with futuristic color schemes for the lightning. The cocktails are well worth it, especially as they serve the Martini James Bond. The special mix from Casino Royal, where James took a Martini mixed with Gin, Vodka, sweet Vermouth and a slice of lemon. Off course shaken, not stirred! From the movie script:

Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?

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The Glamour Bar is definitely a place worth visiting when you are in Shanghai. From the website:

With stunning views as a backdrop and gorgeous lounging inside, the sexy Glamour Bar on the Shanghai Bund -- one of the hottest bars in the world, according to Conde Nast Traveller, and voted Shanghai's Best Bar twice in two years by the readers of City Weekend-- is a glamorous setting that makes for memorable evenings, every night.

  And while you are there, get diner at the restaurant at the top of the same building: M on The Bund. The restaurant has an amazing view over the river and Shanghai’s skyline. A perfect picture opportunity.

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We ended in a nightclub after a short visit in Bar Rouge, which is one of the hottest night clubs in Shanghai, and also worth a visit. This night it was a little quite, maybe it was because it was a Thursday.

Shanghai is definitely a good city to go out in. The clubs and bars are trendy, play good music and there are plenty of people who are in for a party. I was lucky I had people with me who speak Chinese, as that can really help. But I bet you can get around the city only with English too.

Skywalk at 474 Meters High

image In Shanghai, stands the current highest building of the world. The Shanghai World Financial Center is the tallest with 492 meters. This is 1614 feet high! Although there is one tower in Taipei higher, this is because of the long TV antenna on the roof!

On the 100th floor, there is the Skywalk, where you can walk from one side to the other over a floor of glass. This is a wonderful way to see the skyline of Shanghai. Last night we went to the tower to see the skyline at night, and especially to see if we can make some nice night shots from Shanghai, from 474 meters high!

The night shots were very difficult, as the windows were dirty from all the hands pressed against the window for the whole day, the light shining upwards were distorting the pictures. I managed to get some fun shots with the fisheye lens. For the rest, not all of the other pictures are really worth it to publish. Just a few are ok.

The rest of the pictures can be found on my flickr account.

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