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The American Contractor Summit

THE AMERICAN CONTRACTOR SUMMIT

Writing this review is somewhat daunting. This conference cannot be compared to the other industry conferences because its not an apple. If I were to label it as a fruit it would be a tomato. Its delicious and makes fantastic sauce, but how do you compare a tomato to an apple? The color is similar. They are both edible. Seeds… The point is, this one was different. Oh, and if my revelation that a tomato is actually a fruit changes your world view, then you should talk to someone about that.
My initial reaction when I heard this conference was online-only, was honestly to roll my eyes and internally curse COVID for killing yet another conference. I have been a speaker on 2 online-only conferences last year, and remember missing the live reactions of the audience to know if they were understanding the message. To be frank, I doubt I would have purchased a ticket to this before John described his vision to me directly. Also, I really like John. He is genuinely a good dude. So out of respect, I found myself attending with the intention of writing this review. Was it worth it? Lets do this.
BACKGROUND
The American Contractor Summit was created by The American Contractor Show – go figure. If you aren’t familiar with the show, then you should broaden your horizons. John Dye is the host and caters to Contractors, both Restoration and Retail. The Contractor Summit is basically an extension of that show.
John comes from a long line of Contractors in his family, growing up with a hammer in hand. He is also involved in “The Art of the Supplement”, and Balance Claims. I had him on my “Listen to this Bull LIVE” show on January 12th, where he gave us a fantastic narration of his back story to include how he developed and executed a strategy to hire, swoon and eventually marry Priscilla Dye. I’m hoping to get her side of that tall tale one day soon. Maybe she’ll read this…
The Contractor Summit was $99 a ticket and was entirely web-based, which I assume was originally developed as a way to deal with the COVID-19 crap. It was broadcast live and recorded from the American Contractor Show sound stage. “Attendees” could catch it live via Facebook, but they also have access to re-watch the recordings forever. Well, as long as Facebook is a thing I suppose. –
NOTE TO SELF- Don’t put a political joke here. Don’t do it Mat.
11 Big Industry Names were given stage time in front of the camera with the use of an incredible touchscreen for visual aids. Each speaker was recorded separately so the attendees could easily pick and choose what to re-watch later. 3 panel discussions were put together to top it all off including a Q&A, 8 figure contractor, and a women’s panel. John Dye and Nathan Tebedo did the MC duties, but surprisingly neither was a speaker themselves.
THE GOOD
If you are the kind of person that goes to conferences to be educated, then this might be the best conference ever for you. The fact that its online-only means that there aren’t any distractions from the education piece. There aren’t any crazy after-parties that leave you unable to move the next morning. There aren’t any vendors booths pitching you their wares. There aren’t any organizations trying to get you to join or wear a pin. There aren’t any cool kids crowds or alienated gear-head nerd groups. No hotels. No masks (probably). No flights. No fights. All you get is the speakers, the stage, and the information.
There was always one speaker at every convention that I’ve been to that seemed to be talking directly to ME. They gave me what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. Imagine watching that again and again as often as you need to hear it until you’ve mastered the idea. Conversely, imagine watching the entire event again a year from now and suddenly one of the other speakers has exactly the nugget you need at that moment. Would you have remembered what they said the first time around when it didn’t seem as important to you? I doubt it. Most of the speakers gave a similar speech to what you would hear from them at any convention, but with the ability to play it back, you can get so much more out of it.
The attendees were also given the ability to comment on Facebook during the talks. Many of the speakers invited attendees to ask questions in the comments with the promise that they would provide the information requested. During a traditional conference you are generally asked to hold your questions until the end, so you’d better write that down or you’ll forget. The Summit provides the opportunity to pause, write a comment or question, and then resume. The rest of the attendees, and the speakers can see your comments or questions and see what part of the recording you were at when you asked it for additional context. Facebook magic makes it seem like you were there live!
Oh, and I almost didn’t mention this because its something John Dye fans should be used to. The audio and video quality was spot on! That sound stage is legit.
THE BAD
If you are the kind of person that goes to conferences for the social or networking aspect, then this might be the worst conference ever for you. See my first paragraph of the “Good” section. Apply it here word for word. You social butterflies probably cringed when you read that the first time, didn’t you? I’ll admit that I fall into this category more often than not. As an owner of a Public Adjusting Firm, attending a conference for Contractors is a way to understand the contractor’s plight, and to solicit my services. Many of the leaders in this industry are close friends of mine, so I look forward to hanging out with them during these events since they live so far away. Alas, I hope they saw my Facebook comments on their videos and at least snickered slightly under their breath…
If you were watching live from a desktop computer, you may have experienced some frustrating technical difficulty. Since all the speakers were recorded separately, they had to end the live stream after each segment. Even if you have notifications on, Facebook did not automatically tell you when the next stream started. You would be forced to manually refresh the page over and over until the notification appeared. I missed the start of many of the talks because of this. On a side note, if you accessed the summit from an android or apple device, this was not a problem.
The summit got a new toy for the speakers to use just days before the event. They had a large touchscreen TV that is designed for use with Power Point type presentations. It has a really cool interface and if the presentation is tailored around its capabilities, you can do some stage wizardry that wows an audience. These things, like most new technology, take some time to get used to. The speakers did not have that time. They tried, but many of them did seem to struggle a bit. It didn’t cause any real issues though.
The lack of an audience did trip up a few of the speakers. As I said before, many of the talks are the same that you would get at other conventions. Its apparent that some of the speakers attempted to adapt their normal presentation to this format but couldn’t get over the inability to ask a question to the audience. I’m nitpicking at this point, because it really didn’t detract from the quality of the information.
CONCLUSIONS
The speakers showed us why they are asked to speak at these things. They have great information and present it well. Many of the speakers have a different approach to the same problem, so it was interesting to see what each of them thought you should do. I think the most effective content came from the Q&A panel discussions. Answers to audience questions provides actionable direction. That is the primary reason why my own live show on the ‘Listen to this Bull’ channel is an open format Q&A. Each of the panel members got to share their specific approach.
With all the content available to re-watch and STILL available to purchase, its almost pointless to write a review. I’m expected to tell you whether I think its worth paying for or not. This thing was $99, and the recordings are available to you forever. Of course, its worth it! Even if half of them sucked, you’d still get your money’s worth. You really didn’t have to read this to figure that out.
For the conference attendee that only goes for the training sessions, then this is probably the only conference you should bother with. Conversely, If you are looking for networking opportunities, after-parties, or bags of swags, then its STILL worth it. I mean, you’re probably used to listening to the speakers while half hung-over with only 2 hours of sleep. This will give you guys the opportunity to watch it later and actually understand what was said.
So go ahead and get drunk you rascals!
John is planning on doing one of these conferences every quarter with a different overall topic. The next one is on Insurance Restoration. I have been asked to speak at the next event, so I won’t be writing an honest review for that. I will write an incredibly biased review of how awesome my speech was though…
To buy access to all these recordings, I recommend you go to:

The audio and video are even better there than on Facebook. This is not an affiliate link, so don’t ask me for a promo code. I don’t have one.
Mathew Mulholland
Listen to this BULL

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