I grew up on the awesomely badness of Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, with Bloodsport being the Citizen Kane of Van Dammery. I’ve seen the movie more times than I’d care to admit, and I caught it on TV the other night. As I was watching, I couldn’t help but notice striking parallels between the movie and conferences, so I thought I’d share the similarities with my hopefully equally Van Damme/cheesy 80s action movie loving audience.
Vegas = Kumite (pronounced “coo-mitt-tay”). SES Chicago is no contest–everyone wants desperately to attend Pubcon in sintacular Vegas, elite and noob SEOS alike…much how all fighters big and small want to participate in the Kumite to show that they’re the best fighter in the world.
Strut your stuff as the wise, determined SEO. Be the Frank Dux of SEOs and strategize. Everyone may think you’re a big joke–a small pup in a big pond (or something like that), but prove them wrong by flexing your muscles from Brussels (in this case, your SEO knowledge) and earn their respect by proving you can roll with the big boys (in drinking prowess, vast networking ability, mad SEO skills, and winning personality). Also, be able to do the splits on command, Van Damme-style.
Your bosses will chase after you as you sneak off to awesome parties. Forest Whitaker and some other dude played military officers who chased after Van Damme throughout the movie because he went AWOL in order to attend the Kumite. Likewise, your bosses will probably try to get you to turn in early so you can be a good little employee and attend all the sessions bright and early every morning. Evade them! The Kumite is what matters (in this case, networking with some of the biggest names in SEO at parties and clubs). Also, don’t let them try and taser you, or if you do, be sure to deflect the prongs with a trashcan lid so they hit some Hong Kong guards.
Someone will try and mooch off you to score him/her an invite to an exclusive event. Some blond reporter mooched off Van Damme’s character so she could sneak into the Kumite and write a story about it. If you’re a well-known SEO, expect the same to happen to you–people will be all buddy buddy with you so they can score an invite to the Playboy suite at the Palms Casino. Be sure to play it smart and know their true intentions!
Cocky SEOs beware! You’re about to get Chong Li’d. Van Damme’s friend in the movie was a cocky American fighter played by Donald Gibb (who played Ogre in the Revenge of the Nerds movies). He was all “No problem, I can take down Chong Li” and then he got his ass stomped and ended up in the hospital. Don’t be cocky! Be laid-back and cordial with folks you meet, and don’t brag about how much money you make or how bad-ass you are, because a Chong Li will come by and put you in your place.
Work on your senses in case you get sight-handicapped. Van Damme honed his other senses by pouring tea blindfolded, because that’s how you train for a full contact martial arts tournament. You pour tea. Anyway, it’s a good thing he did because that asshole Chong Li threw salt in his eyes like a major D-bag, temporary blinding our Belgian protagonist. He was able to win anyway because of his mad tea pourin’ while blindfolded skillz. Similarly, you’re going to be staying up and partying hard for four straight nights in Vegas, where the air is dry, the casinos never close, and the hookers are likely to spit on you. Your eyes will definitely take a beating, so I recommend bringing glasses or improving your sense of smell or something.
Remember to FIGHT TO SURVIVE! Pubcon (and other conferences) can be long, energy-draining events. You gotta fight to survive a week of too much drinking, too little sleep, and too many new names and faces to remember. Keep in mind the wise words of Paul Hertzog, who wrote the super awesome Kumite montage song in Bloodsport: fight to sur-viiiiiive!
I know this was an exceptionally obscure post, but trust me, the advice till holds true even if you a) haven’t seen the movie, b) have seen the movie but don’t remember it well at all, or c) have seen the movie but nonetheless think I’m a huge moron for devoting an entire blog post to a corny 80s martial arts movie. For those of you who have seen Bloodsport and are attending Pubcon next week, I’ll be more than happy to have one or more drunken conversations with you about the fine (meaning compellingly cheesy) Van Damme filmography. As for you non-Bloodsport viewers and non-conference attendees, next week’s a good time to have a little movie marathon so that you’re prepared to conquer the Kumite when the next conference rolls around. Ku-mi-te, Ku-mi-te!