When I put together the first CMEpalooza back in March, I fully admit that a large part of doing it was to prove a point: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to produce a pretty good continuing education program.
With CMEpalooza Fall, Scott and I wanted to move beyond just proving a point and producing something that was “pretty good.” Our goal this time around was to improve the educational experience for those watching and to provide something of real value to the continuing healthcare education community. Judging from the feedback we have received about last week’s event, I believe we can say that we succeeded.
But before I put too much strain on the ol’ rotator cuff patting myself on the back, I’d like to offer up a few thank yous.
Thank you to all of our panelists. Really, I don’t think we could have asked for a better group. If you’re looking for an advantage between holding a virtual vs. a live conference, look no further than the panelists we were able to line up. I have absolutely no doubt that the only reason some of our panelists agreed to participate was the fact that they could do it from their home/office and not have to travel. That’s a huge plus.
I also want to thank our panelists for their patience in learning a technology that few of them had used prior to CMEpalooza and dealing with the goofballs running the program. Poor Christopher Drake patiently spent 40 minutes on a practice Hangout with me while I tried to figure out why his audio wasn’t working, only to discover the next day that I had my laptop muted the entire time. The lesson, as always, is that I’m an idiot.
Thank you to our moderators. A big reason that CMEpalooza went as well as it did was the fantastic work of the moderators. I admit to being slightly nervous as to how seriously they would take their role considering that many of them had no idea what CMEpalooza or a Hangout was. But every single one of them proved to be adaptable to the format and did a marvelous job of directing the conversation. Several folks mentioned that one of the things they most appreciated about CMEpalooza was the difference in tone of the conversations — both more casual and candid than the typical conference. That is a direct result of the work of the moderators to encourage that type of conversation (I also think it’s a result of the panelists not being able to see an actual audience…).
Thank you to my co-producer, Scott. Yeah, yeah, I’m not going to get too mushy here, but I do want to give credit where credit is due. After the initial Palooza, Scott is the one who came to me with the idea of doing another one with only panel sessions in order to better utilize the Hangout format for its intended purpose. He was right, and CMEpalooza Fall was a better program as a result. Kudos to him (side note: in case you ever get concerned that we take CMEpalooza too seriously, just ask to read our supposedly CMEpalooza-related email exchanges sometime. Recent conversations included an argument over whether or not Cool Ranch Cheetos do, in fact, exist, along with one where Scott called me a “waffler” and I responded with a Homer Simpson-esque “mmmm…waffles.” It’s amazing we get anything accomplished.)
Thank you to all of you who watched CMEpalooza Fall. It goes without saying that this is the most important thank you of all. I was truly blown away by the number of viewers for CMEpalooza and the amount of individuals who completed the survey (for more specifics, you can read the post Scott wrote earlier in the week). The fact that the website had over 400 unique visitors on the day of CMEpalooza Fall is just stunning to me. If ever you need a reason to believe in the power of social media, consider this: the majority of the marketing for CMEpalooza Fall was done via four social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blog). We were also really thrilled with the increased amount of questions and interaction from the audience this time around. I think the inclusion of a texting line to send in questions helped, but I also think people were a little more willing to try out Twitter and Google+ this time. Plus, there were just more people watching to send in questions.
And last, but certainly not least, a big thank you to our sponsors. I realize this is where everyone rolls their eyes and thinks, “Oh, great – he’s pandering to the sponsors now. BORING!” so I’ll keep it brief. It’s not an easy decision to support a conference where, when you ask the guys in charge to tell you how many people participated last year and how many you expect this year, they shrug their shoulders and tell you, “We’re not sure.” I am thankful for those who took a chance on sponsoring CMEpalooza and I hope they’re happy with the results.
Thanks again to all of you. This was fun. How about we all do it again in the spring?