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This week I decided to run a contest for TPG blog readers to win tickets to the Chicago Reader Meetup event in a couple weeks. I got some negative feedback in emails and on the blog post itself, so I wanted to explain why limiting admission to contest winners is done out of practicality, not out of ego.
One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to do more TPG Reader Meetups. I love meeting my readers whether it’s on flights, in the airport, at a Starbucks in South Beach, or elsewhere. We had a reader event after the New York Times travel show in March in New York. It was awesome: the cocktails were great, I got to meet a bunch of people, and it seemed like everyone had a really good time.
However, the demand for that event was more than what the room could accommodate, and unfortunately going forward with these events I can’t just open it up to the public. I’m not trying to toot my own horn and say that the blog is so popular and SO MANY people want to come, but the fact is that the site has grown exponentially. We’re about to hit one million monthly unique visitors, which we’re really excited about. We’ve got a great community, as you can see by the comments people offer back and forth on pretty much every post.
So when I go to a big city like Chicago, to simply open a meetup event to everyone just wouldn’t be productive. I don’t believe I’d have time to meet everyone, and it’s important to me that I have enough time to really engage my readers face to face, not just say hello and move on. Also, most venues cap our attendance, so I’d hate to travel across the country to meet readers and not be able to get into my own event!
We don’t skimp on our events; the venue (which we’ll announce to the winners soon) is pretty spectacular. We have giveaways, good food and free drinks; it’s a fun time, and I do wish you all could be there. I hope in the end that TPG readers understand I do this because I want to give back, and I’m so appreciative to all of you for making TPG what it is today and enabling me to do this as my full-time job.
I do appreciate the feedback, and I look forward to many more of these events across the country. The next cities on the short list are Miami and Los Angeles, and stay tuned for others.