The Polls Are Officially Closed

Voting for CMEpalooza Spring sessions is officially over. More than 700 votes were cast this year, which means that our crack interns are going to be doing lots of counting with their fingers and toes to determine the winning selections. Thanks to everyone who voted.

For those of you who submitted an abstract, we’ll be in touch within the next 24 hours to let you know if your session is going to be included in our Spring event. We’ll then schedule each selected session and get the official agenda up on our website.

One additional note: We are holding open the 9 a.m. ET kickoff slot for a second Gold sponsor, so if your organization is interested in working with us on this exclusive opportunity, please let us know ASAP. There is nothing quite like working with Derek and I, believe you me.

Oh, one more note: We will also be contacting those of you who submitted a Pecha Kucha abstract — which will probably no longer be called “Pecha Kucha” — but that’s another story for another time.

Things That Make Us Smile

I realize that Derek and I put on a brave face, and because of it, many of you are probably under the illusion that CMEpalooza headquarters is all balloons, video games, and cotton candy. It’s not – we don’t like cotton candy.

And in reality, most of our growing staff is busy with the usual drudgery of managing our global media appearances, making sure our luxury corporate jet is stocked with Evian water, and answering fan mail. It sucks, believe me.

That said, there are a few things that happen during the day that make us put down the Wall Street Journal (Derek is still looking for the funny pages) and smile. Such as:

  1. A compliment on our sense of humor. From a recent fan: “This is the most hilarious post I’ve read in months….on any blog.” She’s right, you know.
  2. A well-crafted abstract for CMEpalooza Spring. Don’t forget to check them all out on our Poll page this week and vote, people!
  3. New sponsors. We’ve got two so far, with a few others coming soon (promise).
  4. Repeat sponsors. There are 10 of those, which hopefully means we’ve done something right in the past that people think we’ll repeat again this year.

You can see listings and descriptions of all of our sponsors on our newly-launched Sponsor tab. Here is the current rundown:

Gold Sponsor: Genentech

Silver Sponsors: PlatformQ Health EducationGlobal Academy for Medical Education, LLC, and ASiM

Bronze Sponsors: Vivacity Consulting, Vindico Medical Education, RMEI Medical Education, infograph-ed, Impact Education, LLC, Educational Measures, CMEology, Clinical Care Options, and Academy for Continued Healthcare Learning

We’re humbled and grateful to all of them for their support. In return, we have a few impromptu things planned this year to bring some extra attention to our sponsors (just you wait and see). Certainly, we encourage you to learn about the various services and specialties of all of our sponsors – I’ve collaborated personally with many of these folks over the years on projects of varying shapes and sizes, and they really are among the best of the best in our profession.

Of course, it’s far from too late for other interested parties to join in the fun. In fact, we’ll be adding in some additional new sponsors in the next few days. We often get new sponsors coming aboard right up until the day of our Spring event in April, so if you want to see all of the value a sponsorship brings, please take a look at our 2016 Prospectus. Derek and I are happy to answer any questions you might have as well – we have a crack team of interns who are constantly crunching numbers and doing research on our behalf. I believe Derek posted images of them hard at work in the past.

CMEpalooza Spring Session Voting Is Now Open

(Trumpets blare)

Hear ye, hear ye! By the order of King Scott and Derek (our Fool), it has been decreed that voting for CMEpalooza Spring abstracts is officially open.

Our apologies in advance to residents of both Iowa and New Hampshire – we recognize that that the nation has pandered to you because of the extra value of your votes in the presidential primaries, but here in the democracy that is CMEpalooza, everyone gets to vote at precisely the same time. Funny how that can work so well.

We received 16 submissions for our Spring meeting from faces both old and new, so thank you for everyone who took the time to come up with creative ideas for potential sessions. As always, it’s an interesting mix of topics and concepts.

You can view descriptions of all of the submitted abstracts on our Poll page.

Here is how the voting process works.

  1. When you open up the Poll page, you’ll first see the poll with all of the abstracts that are available. Scroll down until you get to the first session listing.
  2. Take a close read through all of the sessions. Be sure to rub your chin and say, “Hmm… interesting” a few times as you peruse the options.
  3. Come up with your top 5 session choices that you’d like to see on the agenda for CMEpalooza Spring
  4. Scroll back to the top of the page where we have the poll itself
  5. Vote for your faves

It’s really quite simple. Even someone who supports Donald Trump can figure it out (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

But anyway, voting will remain open for one full week, closing at 9 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Feb. 9. You can only vote once per device. The sessions that get the most votes will be included on the CMEpalooza Spring agenda. No delegates, no recalls, no controversy.

For those of you wondering about the voting for our Pecha Kucha session, so as to avoid confusion, we’ll keep you in suspense for another week before unleashing our plan to select participants for that session.

Let the jousting begin!

Last Day to Submit Abstracts!

Last Friday, I was flipping channels and stumbled across The Godfather Epic on HBO. This is the version where they recut The Godfather I & II to run as a single film in chronological order along with a extra scenes cut from the originals. A young Vito Corleone was just being placed in quarantine on Ellis Island, and I was hooked. Three hours later, I had barely moved and was screaming at Sonny Corleone not to stop at the tollbooth. Alas, it was the end for both of us: Sonny stopped and was gunned down, and I headed to bed way too late. What a great, great movie(s).

You know what’s not a great movie? The Godfather III. The same people were back in charge, but Francis Ford Coppola made the fatal mistake of casting his daughter, Sofia, in a key role. She, unfortunately, was awful and the entire movie suffered because of it. The lesson here is that your next movie is only as good as the people you have in it.

This brings me back to CMEpalooza. We need your abstracts for CMEpalooza Spring and we need them today. It doesn’t matter how many times Scott and I have done this and how good the past versions have been — the next version of CMEpalooza will only be as good as the people we have in it. And we want it to be good!

This is the last day we will accept submission. So, one last time:

To submit and abstract for CMEpalooza Spring, click here.

To submit a PechaKucha abstract for CMEpalooza Spring, click here.

Leave an abstract. Take the cannoli.




Rants and Raves

I know I don’t have to but I will remind you anyway because Derek told me I had to – CMEpalooza abstracts are due on Monday (that’s Feb. 1). The portal closes at midnight. Yes, there is actually a ceremony with court jesters and trumpeteers. This year, we’ve gone all out to hire a special guest celebrity to formally “close the portal.” You’ll have to show up at the secret location to find out who is it and what he/she is going to be wearing. I’m betting on something by Balenciaga.

But that’s not really what this post is about. It’s about tying things that bug me to something related to CMEpalooza. So here goes:

  1. “If everyone in this room gave $20, we’d far exceed our goal.” This is such a cliched guilt trip for donations. You know what, if the rich guy in the corner gave $20,000, no one else would have to give a cent, you’d meet your goal, and I’d be happy. On that note, if every single person reading this post submitted a CMEpalooza abstract on Monday, we’d have at least, I figure, 5 or 6 abstracts. So get cracking, Sparky.
  2. “Oh, I’m sorry, am I blocking your view?” Yes, Mom of the Year candidate, I understand that you got here 30 minutes early to get a front row seat and you feel the need to stand up during today’s production so that the angle of your phone is perfect to capture Little Anna’s moment of glory. BUT I CAN’T FRIGGING SEE! So either you sit your butt down right now or you get an elbow to the back of your head. Your choice. On that note, I’ll save everyone reading this post a front row seat at both our Spring and Fall events. See? Everybody wins with CMEpalooza!
  3. “Wait, it’s due today? I don’t remember seeing an email about that.” I’m sorry, perhaps I should have put a flier in the mail and stapled it to your forehead. You got not 1, not 2, and not even 3 reminders about the deadline (that would make 4 reminders, I suppose). The deadline is today. No extensions. I know you’re busy. As my dad would say, “Tough.” On that note, we don’t play games like some other meetings where the deadline isn’t really a deadline and year after year there are “special circumstances” that warrant an extension. You really only have until midnight on Monday (that’s February 1) to go to the Presenter portal and submit your abstract.

End of rant. Continue with your day.

Abstracts Due in 1 Wee-…er…6 Days!

Hey, guess what? It’s my birthday today.


You know what you can get me for my birthday? That’s right — you can submit an abstract for CMEpalooza Spring today instead of waiting for the last day like everyone else.

Or you can wait for the last day like everyone else.

I guess it doesn’t matter.

Just remember that abstracts for both regular presentations and for the Pecha Kucha-type session are due by the end of the day on Monday, February 1. The next morning (that would be Tuesday, February 2), we’ll open things up for public voting on the submitted sessions.

Submissions are slowly rolling in, and we spoke to lots of folks who said they were working on something (you know who you are), so we’re hoping to at least match last year’s mark of 30 submissions. Only six days to go!

(If you don’t want to give me an abstract submission for my birthday, I’d also like The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, a new watch, and a 1983 powder blue Mike Schmidt jersey from Mitchell & Ness. It’s glorious.)



What Makes a Good CMEpalooza Abstract

Not long after we opened up the abstract submission process for CMEpalooza Spring, the questions started pouring in:

  1. “What are you guys looking for in an abstract?”
  2. “Do I need to have a bunch of co-presenters?”
  3. “Is it better to propose a 30-minute session or a 60-minute session?”
  4. “Do you take bribes?”

The first three questions were all accompanied by the same well-reasoned, pithy response – “I dunno” (as for the last one, of course we accept bribes, as long as you expect nothing in return).

But really, I don’t have a ton of astute guidance to give on the abstract submission process. It’s not like we have any more influence than anyone else specific to the selection process – when the morning of Feb. 2 dawns, all of the abstracts that are submitted through our online portal will be posted on our website and the public voting will begin. You get people who are interested in the description of your session and vote for it, you are in. You don’t, you aren’t. This ain’t magic, people.

But since I hate to let down our adoring public, I did a quick analysis of successful abstracts from last year to determine some patterns/trends and offer some advice. Writing a good CMEpalooza abstract is a little bit different than submitting an abstract to a faceless group from a conference committee. You need something that is going to read well and sell others on your session.

For what it’s worth, here are some ideas that may or may not be helpful:

  1. Be creative. Come up with a catchy title, find a unique way to describe what you plan to cover, make fun of Derek. Any of those can work.
  2. Funny is good. Make someone laugh and they’ll read your abstract twice.
  3. Don’t overdo it with details. I know it can be hard to summarize your idea in 50 or even 100 words, but people don’t want to read Jane Eyre here.
  4. Spelling and grammar count. If you call your session, “Incorporating Patience Into Your CME,” I will make fun of you.
  5. Think about what you’d like to learn about. Remember that it’s an audience of your colleagues that will be doing the voting. What interests you probably interests them as well.

That’s about the gist of it. As you watch the snow fall this weekend, give some thought to how you want to describe your proposed session.

Oh, and I like cash (Derek asked for old t-shirts from your neighborhood 5K 3 years ago. He takes a large).


Now Accepting Pecha Kucha Abstracts for CMEpalooza Spring

You’re all in for a special treat today (no, it’s not ice cream). I’m going to let you in on the creative process Scott and I go through when we’re planning CMEpalooza. Below is a paraphrased version of how we decided to do a Pecha Kucha during the last CMEpalooza Fall. Feel free to try and replicate our brainstorming process in your own professional life.

Me: We should do a Pecha Kucha during CMEpalooza Fall.

Scott: I have no idea what that is.

Me: 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide, auto-advancing.

Scott: Sounds dumb.

Me: It will be great.

Scott: Whatevs.

End scene. Of course, I was right and it was great and you should all immediately go and watch it now, if you haven’t already done so.

In all seriousness, we did get a lot of feedback that people enjoyed the Pecha Kucha format and would love to see it again. So, your wish is our command — we’re doing a Pecha Kucha at CMEpalooza Spring! Here are some of the details:

  • Go here to submit a Pecha Kucha abstract. This is not to be confused with an abstract for a regular CMEpalooza Spring session, which can also be submitted today, tomorrow, or next week.
  • Submissions are due by the end of the day on February 1. Same deadline for the regular abstracts.
  • What is a Pecha Kucha? Go here for more details on the format.
  • We’re leaving the topic open ended. It should relate to CPD/CME, but otherwise, it’s up to you.
  • As with everything palooza-related, the process is fluid. We plan to have five presentations during the Pecha Kucha. If we get more than five submissions, we’ll do a similar crowdsourcing process as we are doing with the regular CMEpalooza Spring submissions.

If you have never done a Pecha Kucha presentation before — and I’m guessing most of you reading this have not — I encourage you to challenge yourself and give it a try. It’s not easy, but I think most of the presenters from the CMEpalooza Fall Pecha Kucha would agree that the experience of preparing and presenting a Pecha Kucha was an interesting and rewarding experience. If you have any questions about, please feel free to reach out to me.

Substantiating the Value of a CMEpalooza Sponsorship

The sponsorship prospectus for CMEpalooza 2016 is officially done and ready for public consumption (by which I mean, I made a PDF and put it on the Sponsor tab). There are 3 different primary levels of sponsorship – Gold, Silver, and Bronze – as well as a few other opportunities to consider. We always hope that we provide value to our sponsors, and the feedback we have gotten from past sponsors has always been good.

But don’t just take my word for it.

Here are some 100% REAL (wink wink) comments from past sponsors who benefited from sponsoring a past Palooza:

Director of CME from a really big pharmaceutical company: “We were getting a lot of grief from the public for the pricing of our drugs, but once the world found out we were a sponsor of CMEpalooza, it was like some magic floodgate of positive vibes opened up for us. You guys saved us. Thank you Scott and Derek!”

President of an extremely well respected medical education company: “We were on the verge of insolvency – couldn’t get a grant approved to save our lives. Once we signed on as a sponsor of CMEpalooza, it was like some sort of magic floodgate opened and we had a record year financially. You guys saved us. Thank you Scott and Derek!”

CEO of a really prominent online educational platform developer: “The morale and creativity within the walls of our company were trickling to a crawl. It got so bad that we were talking about doing a fax blast (!) to our partners asking them for ideas that could help us. Once we aligned ourselves with CMEpalooza and saw how innovative and creative you guys are, it was like some magic floodgate opened and we came up with all kinds of cool ideas. You guys saved us. Thank you Scott and Derek!”

Former assistant project manager at a global technology company: “I tried to convince my boss (who I hated) that it would be a smart business decision to sponsor CMEpalooza. She said no. Her boss happened to be standing outside her door at the time she voiced her decision. She got fired for rejecting such an obviously brilliant suggestion. Guess who the boss is now, sister? You guys saved my career. Thank you Derek and Scott!”

So really, with all of the lives we’ve changed and businesses we have saved, doesn’t a 2016 sponsorship make business sense for your organization as well? You can check out the various sponsorship packages on the Sponsor tab and then make your decision. Contacting me is easy (no faxes please).

CMEpalooza Fall 2015 Infographic

You like data? We got data. Below is our CMEpalooza Fall 2015 infographic summarizing some of the key takeaways from the meeting. Two highlights for me:

  1. This was easily our most successful program in terms of participants/viewers. For the first time, we had a session with more than 200 live viewers (Why Did My Grant Request Get Rejected?) and every session but one had more than 200 combined live and archive viewers. Additionally, approximately 20% of the 84 participants who completed our survey watched CMEpalooza Fall with at least one other person, so the actual number of viewers is likely higher. For perspective, the highest amount of viewers I had for a session during the inaugural CMEpalooza was 50. The low was 10.
  2. I continue to be honored and humbled by the kind and flattering comments on our post-activity survey, but two in particular made me happy. The comments were from two small, nonprofit organizations, thanking us for the free education provided by CMEpalooza, since it is often a struggle for them to budget funds for CPD for their staff. This is the reason I started CMEpalooza, and it is why Scott and I continue to do it.

As always, I’d like to give the creative geniuses at infograph-ed a big thank you for putting together the infographic for us. It’s you’re looking for a cool and unique way to display information, I recommend popping over to their website and checking out what they have to offer.

And lastly, a quick reminder that we are now accepting abstracts for CMEpalooza Spring 2016. Click here for more details. Due date is February 1, so don’t wait too long!

CME palooza Fall 2015 FINAL outlines