Tales from the Trenches: A Story Begins

As a mother of 3 kids, 1 severely disabled with holoprosencephaly/cerebral palsy, an entrepreneur, a wife, a corporate speaker for an international rapidly growing company, a cryptocurrency enthusiast, owner of a disabled great dane and a colombian rescue dog, fibromyalgia sufferer, landlord, wife, daughter and friend…life is  never boring…to say the least.

I have a story to tell, and it’s been trapped inside me for years.  The sheer exhaustion of managing it all has kept my story locked away.  Words dying to get out, buried in solitary. But it’s time. It’s costing more energy to keep words locked away than to free them.

So Tales from the Trenches is born.  A place to share experiences, realizations, anecdotes, failures, lessons learned, knowledge gained.  A new journey I’m excited to embark upon.


This week I attended and spoke at Seerfest, the first conference organized by Seer Interactive.  It was pretty mind-blowing, to say the least. Part of the objective was to “give back” to the community, and $15,000 was raised for Think Dignity, a non-profit in San Diego.

I really enjoyed watching my friend and co-worker, Ashley Ward, keynote her first event.  Ashley taught a process to evaluate your content and optimize what you already have while repurposing and reusing your current assets. My takeaway is to go back to content created in the past and perform my own version of “The Buffer Experiment,” which essentially means producing less content and improving/amplifying the content we do have.  I think this is a valid and valuable lesson for anyone who has been engaging in “content marketing” for years.

A Blast from the Past

In between sessions, I heard someone yelling my name.  “Marcela De Vivo! Marcela De Vivo!”. I turned around to find a face from my past, a face that I hadn’t seen in over 15 years.  My very first boss, Robert, was at the conference.

Robert was the one who started it all.  He hired me in 1999 to do customer service for his internet company, and gave me the opportunity to go beyond and learn an entire industry.   Robert took at 19 year old kid and gave me the trust to help grow his business, and at the same time, empowered me to gain the independence and success I’ve enjoyed over the past 19 years.

We reminisced about the early days of the internet, when we optimized about 10 sites a day, created PBN’s and algorithms to interlink sites in clusters, and dominated the top 10 for keywords like “online gambling” and “viagra”.  Those were the days!

Coming out of my Shell

It seems symbolic to have met Robert again at a time when I’m finally coming out of my shell.  For almost 19 years I’ve remained mostly hidden away in a corner of our industry, maintaining some old contacts that I’ve known for my entire career, but mostly not being “out and about” in the industry.  Being an introvert sucks.

Working with SEMrush has given me a unique opportunity to be out and about, to network, to meet new people while connecting with people I’ve known for decades.  It’s painfully difficult to emerge from my introverts’ shell and to take on a role as public as “Corporate Speaker”. As difficult as it is, it’s even more rewarding, especially when working for such an amazing company and with such an incredible team.

Finding Gems

I also participated in Digital Olympus, an online conference hosted by Alexandra Tachalova.  I heard some incredible sessions, and some amazing insights were shared.  The videos are not yet live on Youtube, but I believe they will be soon. Check out this page to catch some of the sessions.  I especially enjoyed Clark Boyd and Selena Vidya’s sessions.

You know who else found some gems?  Gryffin, my 6 year old son. He came up to me this evening, “Mommy, mommy, check out this great  game I just bought!”. Internally, I thought, “Hahahhihihi, he thinks he “bought” it but it’s really a free game.”  One thing my son does NOT lack is persistence, so he came over and had me watch him play his game.

After a little bit I realized the game was not free, it was a paid game.  I asked him to show me how he bought it, and sure enough, he had watched Owen put in the password ONCE and memorized it, and had been using it to buy games.  Just in the last 7 days he had spent over $200 in gems, in-app purchases, and new games. Lesson learned: Do Not Let Your Kids See Your Itunes Password. Ever!

Wrapping Up

It’s past 1 am and I am unable to sleep, mostly from too many thoughts cluttering my head.  In 4 days I’m on a plane to my next destination: Helskinski. In the meantime, I have 2 SEO audits to complete 17 events to check up on, and more pitching to be done.  And so many words stuck in my head.

I want to write about how to use SEMrush tools, and processes to incorporate tools into your workflows.  I want to create an easy and systematic way to perform on-page audits, and create a template that can be easily reused.  And once Saturday hits, I have 3 rooms to paint, 3 beds to assemble, a TV to hang, and so much more to do at our house. All while spending “quality time” with my kids especially due to my imminent 14 day trip.  Never a dull moment. Ta-ta for now!


You may also like

Leave a comment