Underground 8 Conference: Don’t Miss Expanding Your Business Mind

Read my blog and you’ll know why I am a big fan of the Underground Seminar. It is subversive, irreverent, groundbreaking, mind expanding, fun, self-affirming and above all, forces you to realize how much more you can do with your own business.

Underground, which is now in its 8th year, has attracted an unusual crowd of attendees and speakers. Not that Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy.com doesn’t speak at a lot of events, he does.  What was unique about Bob’s time at Yanik Silver’s Underground was the content that he shared. Aside from his war stories and Danica Patrick tales, Bob gave the sold out crowd an earful about how in business it isn’t about thinking like everyone else.

Or when Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos (acquired by Amazon in 2009 for $928 million) shared with another sold out crowd how he built his breakout online shoe company because it had the best model to connect with customers on a one on one basis, not because he felt shoes were a commodity that he could sell to them.  For Tony, it is all about creating a culture.  A culture that puts the customer first, at almost any cost.

Both Bob and Tony also spent time after their speeches and in Tony’s case, spent a few days attending the conference and hanging out with the attendees. When’s the last time you were able to knock back a shot with the CEO of one of the fastest growing phenoms in the online industry? Try doing that at Affiliate Summit or AdTech.

When I saw Yanik’s sales letter for the Underground event, I was shocked (and pleased) that my name was highlighted in the original group of speakers that graced the stage during Underground 1.

Since then I have spoken at 3 Undergrounds and conducted an in-depth CPA learning session at a 4th. Underground is one of my favorite conferences because unlike AdTech or Affiliate Summit, it is actually a learning experience and not a rushed, too many speakers I don’t care about affair. For everyone reading this who religiously attends the “industry” events, give yourself a break and attend a conference where you will actually meet new people who will open your eyes to a whole “underground” of offers and traffic you probably never knew existed.

This year’s Underground is no different.

There are two keynote speakers and 7 main speakers sessions, in addition, there are 4 breakout sessions that will cover an incredible amount of content and introduce you to a whole new way of looking at your business.  The great thing about Underground is that there are no overlapping sessions. You pay for content and networking and you get it. In spades.

You can read about this year’s speakers at the Underground 8 page, but I will tell you I know several of them personally, and here’s what you will learn from them.

Robert Hirsch, is the Managing Director for South Fork Ventures. Bob has helped me in the past with several projects and his input has been invaluable. Having grown several companies from nothing to $50 million, Bob helped me understand the value of funding and how to get it from the “right” partner. His insights are incredible and because he will be there for the entire show, you will be able to network with none of the most influential under the radar guys in our business today.

Brendon Bruchard, helps companies like Accenture, Alcoa, JC Penney, eBay, Best Buy, Nordstrom, Levi’s, Gateway, and Walgreens maximize their effectiveness. His methods are unconventional, which is why he is a #1 NY Times and USA Today best-selling author.

James Schranko, from down under is a super-affiliate who is willing to share some of his most potent tactics. James and I have attended many of the Undergrounds and shared many a beer over heated discussions on the best ways to make more with your affiliate business. James opened my eyes to a number of tools he uses to automate his processes, as well as discover niches long before anyone else and then exploits them before anyone else.

In addition to these leaders, there are over 15 other under-the-radar specialists ranging from Facebook tactics you’ve never seen to a Mobile App guru with over 35 Million downloads of his 46 apps. From health and wellness pioneers who have global followings numbering into the millions, to niche masters that are growing the next generation of “whats hot” business models.

Underground is not just all info though, Yanik is a master of fun. In fact, the event a few years ago held in LA, had the entire 300+ attendees wandering the streets of LA looking for clues to solve a murder mystery. Every year it has a spy theme, and except for an appearance by mini-Kiss, the event always has a great level of non-artificial fun injected into it. This year I am told by Yanik he has pulled out all the stops with his Spy vs. Spy theme.

The fun leads into a more relaxed atmosphere where networking can actually happen.  In fact most of the conversations I remember from Underground’s have been almost mastermind sessions.  There are so many smart out of the box I’ve done that already type people attending that if you spent the money just to network you would have made your money back in the first hour.  Mailers, SEO pioneers, software architects, business owners, investors, copywriters, technicians, blackhats, social media jockeys, CEO’s, direct sale guru’s and a growing number of Silicon Valley influencers are among the 350+ attendees and speakers.

Most of the names you will not know, because Yanik has a very strict criteria for his speakers.  They can’t be a regular on the “circuit”, they actually make money from what they do, they can teach how they made their money (and be replicable today), and most importantly no B.S.  This is where Underground differs from most of the conferences I have attended over the last decade.  You actually can go back to your office and use what you learned from attending.  Attach that learning with the connections you make, and for less than what most of you spend on attending any of the standard conferences in our industry, you can go Underground.

Right now, you can get a HUGE discount off the regular rates. There’s even a deal where you can bring up to 2 more people with you for even less. The accomodations are always top notch (it’s in DC at the beginning of March). Normally Yanik will take over the bar at whatever hotel the event is at the last night of the event. This is where you will be able to meet him and also many of his connections (I think Yanik holds the record for most number of times on Necker Island with Sir Richard Branson). I love conferences as anyone who knows me can attest to, and by far this is the best one to make money from.

In addition to special rates, Yanik is also making available several “bonuses” which can increase the value by putting you in the right place at the right time with the right people. He has arranged a VIP networking dinner for early birds, which means you will have unfettered access to all of the speakers and other VIP attendees. You will also get access to all of Underground 7’s video footage and Yanik’s Internet Success Video Training Series.

By now you are probably asking who the hell is Yanik Silver and why haven’t I heard of him. Yanik is one of the most accomplished copywriters I know, and his words have inspired hundreds of new entrepreneurs to start their businesses online and off. He started off by pioneering using public domain content and has grown into being one of the most dynamic figures (you’ve never heard of) in online marketing today. You can see a bit of Yanik’s copywriting here, and if you want to see why people want to hang with him, check out his Maverick Business Adventures initiative. He is all about balancing fun with business.

Plan on attending Underground 8 and plan on expanding your business in 2012 to new heights.


Jim Lillig, is an accomplished online marketing professional and entrepreneur. His eclectic assemblage of companies and projects gives a new insight into eCommerce tactics and strategy. A pioneering online marketer, Jim has pushed the envelope and found the edges of online marketing to be fertile ground for those who are willing to be bold and set a trail of success. He has authored many performance marketing articles as well as being a featured speaker and panelist at some of the industry’s largest events. Uniquely qualified with over 20 years of online marketing experience and 35 years of brand marketing know-how, Jim delivers innovative fresh approaches for both B2B and B2C clients.

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