BlogathonATX is the brain-child of the terrifyingly talented Ilene Haddad. She’s a graphic designer, cartoonist and much to her surprise she’s also the head honcho of a very popular professional event that brings together some of Austin’s smartest, funniest people every year. As #BlogathonATX 2014 approaches, we thought the public ought to know who is REALLY responsible for all this craziness.
And now, Ilene “Weenie” Haddad in her own words…
1. What was the inspiration for starting up BlogathonATX?
“Inspiration” is a generous way of putting it. BlogathonATX was a complete accident. I had been blogging for a relatively short time when I realized how much discipline blogging required and how little of it I had. Hoping to find a few accountability pals, I sent out a tweet asking if anyone wanted to get together for some blogging one weekend. Evidently, I wasn’t the only blogger in need of accountability (or pals).
2. What would you like to see happen to BlogathonATX in the next five years?
My vision of the future barely extends beyond what I’m wearing tomorrow (probably stretchy pants), so I haven’t given it a lot of thought. I guess I hope BlogathonATX still exists in five years and continues to be relevant and fun. Also, I hope we’ll have jet packs.
3. What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned since launching BlogathonATX?
That I should keep my day job.
Even though I’m not a mom, I know better than to pick favorites. I read all sorts of blogs with varying degrees of regularity. I’m easily distracted, which sometimes works to my advantage—I’ve discovered some really great blogs down the rabbit hole. (Then again, I also found this: http://www.sadanduseless.com/2014/09/sad-dads/.) So rather than list three blogs I love, here are three dead people I wish had written blogs: Anne Boleyn, Vincent van Gogh and Keith Moon. I would totally read their blogs.
5. What is your favorite kind of candy?
My favorite candy in the entire universe are molasses puffs. They look like chocolate-covered sea sponges, and they are confectionery-perfectionery. Today they’re called honeycomb or sea foam candy—lumps of puffed molasses covered in a thick coating of dark chocolate (never milk chocolate—milk chocolate’s for fascists). When I was growing up, my mom had them shipped to Austin from a little candy store in St. Louis every year. I recently discovered them in the bulk department at Sprouts Market, and I literally jumped for joy (and frightened a few shoppers).
In conclusion… I like candy.
6. What do you say to people who have proclaimed ‘that whole blogging thing is over’?
Thank GOD. Blogging is exhausting.
7. What’s your favorite part about BlogathonATX?
Really? You have to ask? Obviously, it’s the food! Aside from that, I’d have to say my favorite things about BlogathonATX are the laid-back atmosphere and our enthusiastic attendees. (But mostly it’s the food.)
8. What’s the best feedback you’ve ever received about BlogathonATX?
A longtime volunteer recently wrote a testimonial for our website, and this line really stood out to me: “It’s not so much a conference as it is a really cool & fun day camp.” That is exactly what I want BlogathonATX to feel like. In fact, I initially considered holding the event out in the country until a friend pointed out the need for electricity. I told him electricity’s for suckas, but apparently it’s for bloggers too, so here we are.
Blogs are like gremlins. They reproduce at an astonishing rate, and you should never feed them after midnight.
I have four blogs (so far):
10. Are you ever going to give Harry & Dexter their own BlogathonATX panel?
Not unless there’s a sudden surge of interest from crazy poodle ladies and cheese enthusiasts.