Elite Retreat - First Impressions

Elite Retreat is over and I ‘m now flying back to the UK, either sat at the Virgin bar or lying down fast asleep, either way flying with Virgin is cool. Slight delay with posting this as I’m now sat on a train coming back from London after a Panasonic blogger day (whic was also pretty cool).

The Elite Retreat experience was interesting, enjoyable and rewarding. We all had to sign an NDA (none disclosure agreement) hence lack of posts whilst I was there (tied in with the fact I was knackered most of the time) and I can’t share specifics that were said, however I can certainly share my thoughts on the event and some of the actions I’ll be taking over the coming months.

All the talks at the event were interesting and each contained a fair few useful tips but were not necessarily ground breaking in their content. The real value for me came from the one on one time with the speakers and interacting with the other attendees. Sitting at a bar and chatting to a guy who sold his last business for 20 million and booked a hotel suite for an extra few days just in case is motivational to say the least.

One of the scariest bits of advice I received was from Jeremy Shoemaker and was something I’ve known for a while but it took hearing it from somebody else to make it really sink in. The advice was to lose Adsense and approach advertisers direct. What makes this scarey is that Adsense currently generates over 15K a month for me so losing that will certainly be a dint in overall earnings, however for long term growth and profitability it makes sense. Still scarey as shit mind.

I also spoke to other entrepreneurs with entirely different business models to Scott and myself, and I will be publishing various interviews over the coming weeks.

In conclusion my trip to ER was well worth the investment and the relatively high price is an excellent way to ensure attendees are already at a certain business level. It would actually be worth the fee just to meet and talk to the attendees without the actual speakers, though marketing that may be a bit tricky 🙂 but there is a strong possibily of this happening in the future (go DK) .

I’ll post more about ER and lessons learnt in later posts but if you have any specific questions please drop a comment.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. Sounds like a good investment. Hopefully it will pay for it’s self over the next couple of months.

  2. Lose Adsense, ya I can see why that’s scary. I’d love to hear details on executing that plan. For the average [side job] blogger, they probably don’t have time to build those relationships. But I would much rather grab $500 for some web-estate from a qualified, well fit advertiser, than chump change over 30 days from visitors who leave at every adsense click.

    • Well fit advertisers are smart. They won’t drop $500 on your site alone if they can fan that out and get more clicks from more sites for a fraction of the cost, all administration tasks managed courtesy AdSense. Also, if you had two private deals and you lost one (shit happens) - you just suddenly lost 50% of your revenue. With AdSense someone will step up and fill the void (though the overall eCPM will most likely go down due to less competition). This particular advise by Shoemoney is useless. As fas as I can remember he was switching to private ad deals AFTER acquiring the status of Internet marketing celebrity. Won’t apply to regular guys like you and me.

  3. I’d agree, I think 2008 will be the year a lot of the larger Adsense publishers seriously look at taking their advertising more in house and if in the UK sell it for GBP!

  4. I had a feeling that the connections would be of greater value than the content. It is the very same situation with SES when I attend.

  5. Al, you left out what room the guy reserved for that long!

  6. Sounds interesting, no qualms about dumping adsense from me tho - Its a revenue stream I’ve never quite got firing on all cylinders.

  7. Of course there was good value with the speakers! If it had not been for Andy Liu translating for me I never would have understood a word you said! 😉

    I am so glad you had a good time. It really was a pleasure hanging out with you. I will be posting the famous arm wrestling match between you and Slaven on my blog soon!

    Stay tuned!

    My wife says “Hello Dexter!!”

    Now you are going to have to come clean with your readers as to just who Dexter is!

    Much Love,

  8. Al, what about creating a post about how to best find the publishers directly? And if you could include something about how small websites should go about it, that would be great 🙂

  9. Is that ‘dumping adsense’ only applicable to sites with a certain amount of traffic? Obviously a higher traffic site could command higher advertiser revenue, whereas a small ‘hobby’ site might be better off with adsense until a certain level of traffic is reached.

  10. I agree in principle with the idea of dropping Adsense (particularly with the rubbish GB exchange rate) but in practice I’ve generally found having to deal direct with merchants or affiliate networks to be a royal pain. Either their communiction is poor or the technology just doesn’t work (tracking/stats not working). At least with Google you know that Adsense is robust and you aren’t liable to get a load of sales reversals, etc.

    Must say that Elite Retreat sounds great and the idea of a UK based one would be very appealing.

  11. Did you fly from the UK just for this event? I was considering going, but the 20 odd hour flight from Bangkok sort of put me off. Saying that, after reading all the reviews I might just make that extra bit of effort to go next year!

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