We Need to Have a New Chat About CMEpalooza

My son does this thing where he pretends not to hear me when I’m trying to get him off his iPad and into the kitchen for dinner table (Wait, your kid, too? Amazing).

“Time for dinner. Turn the iPad off.” (No response)

“Time for dinner. Turn the iPad off.” (No response)

“Time for dinner. Turn the iPad off.” (No response)

(Walks over and puts hands in front of iPad screen)

“Hey, what the heck? Why’d you do that… Oh, it’s time for dinner. I didn’t hear you!”

Every. Single. Night.

Turns out, however, that it’s not just the youth of America who are experts at tuning out vital information. You, too, are to blame! Yes, you, the loyal followers of CMEpalooza! For shame, for shame!

Now before you run to mommy and daddy whining, “But I didn’t do anything!!!” allow me to explain.

First in 2017, then again in 2018, and then again just this past July, Derek tried his best to get across a very important message about CMEpalooza.

The message is simple.

It’s CMEpalooza.

Big “CME”

Little “palooza”

Now mash it together.

CMEpalooza

Sounds simple enough, but trust me, our experience tells us otherwise. All joking aside – and that’s hard for me to do – at least 50% of our friends and fans mess it up. Just this past week in my email, it’s been “CMEPalooza and “CME Palooza” and, my personal favorite “CMEPalozza.”

I know, I know. Who cares, right? As long as you get it close, that means you know who we are and that’s all that should matter. I get it. And I really don’t think people get it wrong on purpose, at least not most of the time. So we should, I suppose, agree to brush it aside like those crumbs that end up around my son’s plate because he refuses to use his fork at the dinner table (Wait, your kid, too? Amazing).

I hear you. But Derek doesn’t. And so every time we get a “CME palooza” or a “Cmepalooza” or a “CME Pepperoni Pizza” or some other combination (you’d be amazed how many different ways there are to butcher CMEpalooza), I get an email with a cringy emoji from Derek. It’s his way of telling me how he dies just a tiny bit inside every time our event is butchered in print (note from Derek: all true.)

You are probably asking yourself right now, “Isn’t this all kind of your fault? I mean, you did come up with the name knowing how weird it is?”

Again, fair point, and I’ll need to defer to Derek on this one. He came up with the name CMEpalooza. It’s his baby (I guess that makes me the cool babysitter? [note from Derek: It does not, no.]). But it’s too late now. It’s CMEpalooza.

Big CME

Little palooza

CMEpalooza

But hey, if you want to torture Derek, be my guest. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to remind someone that, “You don’t need to scream into the iPad when you are playing a game with your friends. Inside voice!”

The Loyal-est of the Loyal

Loyalty.

It’s a powerful yet complicated concept. You are loyal to a family member, a friend, a partner, or even, I suppose, a pet (sorry, I’m not an animal person). In business, you are loyal to your company or your boss or your co-workers. I know, it’s kind of a dying concept.

To me, loyalty means that you can count on someone, that they will be there to support you and carry their weight, and they won’t just say, “Sorry, you are on your own.” Loyalty is one of the most valuable qualities someone can have.

At least according to Hollywood, the mafia is big on loyalty. Once you become part of “the family,” you take an oath of loyalty. If you break that oath, well, better get fitted for a pair of concrete shoes.

As we head into our eighth year of CMEpalooza, I figured it was a good time to look at just how loyal the CME community has been to CMEpalooza. I’m not talking about your individual loyalty. I have no doubt that many of you have read every single blog post and watched every single session since Derek trotted out the concept for CMEpalooza in the spring of 2014, but since we don’t track our readers and there is no formal registration for our events, we can’t tell how many of you get a gold star. You have our permission to put one on if you want to feel special.

What we can track is the loyalty of our sponsors. Since we began accepting corporate sponsors for CMEpalooza in the fall of 2014, there have been 66 different organizations who have sponsored at least one ‘palooza. That alone is a pretty astounding number. But what is perhaps even more astounding is the loyalty that most of these organizations have shown to us. Of the 66 sponsoring organizations, only 11 have been “concrete boot” sponsors, latching themselves onto CMEpalooza like a pesky barnacle for just one event before sinking to the bottom of the sea. Some of those companies either folded, were gobbled up by a larger organizations, or simply lost our email address. It happens.

While we will, of course, be holding our special sponsor event in a few weeks for those 24 companies (and counting) who have already signed up as sponsors for our 2021 Spring meeting. (SPECIAL REMINDER: Yes, you can still sign up for a sponsorship. All of the information is in our Sponsor Prospectus), today, we want to celebrate those organizations who have shown loyalty to us over the years. We want to honor your faith, trust, and belief in CMEpalooza. Today, we celebrate your loyalty.

THE PRINCES OF LOYALTY (sponsoring >50% of CMEpaloozas)

THE QUEENS OF LOYALTY (sponsoring >75% of CMEpaloozas)

THE KING OF LOYALTY (sponsoring every single CMEpalooza)

 

Now Playing: The CMEpalooza Spring Agenda

One of my first jobs as a high school kid was at a local movie theater. It was actually kind of fun. A lot of my friends also worked there, along with a handful of cute girls from other schools who didn’t know how awkward I was in advance of meeting me. I had about 5 minutes to make a good impression. Guess how well I did?

Alas, fleeting youth.

Anyway, at the movie theater, there were good “assignments” and bad “assignments” for the nightly team.

The bad: Working the concession stand. This was where everyone started out, because it kind of sucked. You were on your feet the whole shift, had to deal with cranky customers who couldn’t figure out what they wanted until they got to the front of the line despite waiting for 15 minutes behind dozens of other people, and you had to constantly refill the popcorn maker without burning yourself. On busy nights, the time passed quickly, but on slow nights, you just had to stand there and stare into space. There was nowhere to hide.

The good: Being an usher. What’s fun about carrying about a broom and dustpan and cleaning up the messes the customers make? Well, if you walked into an empty theater, you could usually sit down and watch 10-15 minutes of whatever movie was playing before anyone missed you. Plus, it was dark, so if you did a half-assed job, no one cared. I would often time my entrance into a theater so that I could pick up the movie where I left off 2 hours ago. For some movies that played in multiple theater simultaneously, I could watch the whole thing (more or less) in one shift.

Apropos of nothing, a quick movie theater story because it remains to this day one of my favorites. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen to me, but was relayed by a friend of mine.

(Customer walks up to the concession stand)

Customer: Yeah, I’d like a hot dog and some lemon chips?

Friend: Lemon chips? I’m not sure what you mean.

Customer: Yeah, lemon chips. (Points)

Friend: Um, you mean nachos?

Yes, people, the world is full of geniuses.

So why am I telling you about my movie theater days today? Well, because the days of movie premieres (Fridays) were always the busiest. This was an era where you would actually sell out the entire theater, sometimes hours in advance, for a film that had a lot of hype. I can’t imagine with all of the avenues of entertainment available at our fingertips today that that ever happens (yes, yes, we’re making the whole pre/post-COVID assumption).

It’s the same deal with CMEpalooza. On the day that we put out our meeting agendas for public consumption, we get a massive rush of traffic to our website that dwarfs what’s been going on with the Robinhood thing-a-ma-bob (but hey, if you made a million dollars last week, buy a CMEpalooza sponsorship, won’t you?).

We’re ready for the big rush, because today indeed is the day when we unveil the CMEpalooza Spring agenda. As always, we’ve put in quite a bit of thought into our sessions, and we think we have a really interesting mix for you. There are definitely a few quirky, out-of-the-box formats we’ll be trying out that may or may not work (Of course they’ll work! We are professionals here!). We always try hard to bring in some new stars that haven’t been on the CMEpalooza marquee before, so you’ll hopefully see some names in here you don’t recognize but can’t wait to hear from.

So take a look at what we’ve got in store, double check your calendar to make sure you have Wednesday, March 24 blocked off (yes, Derek, this is a reminder specifically for you), and order up a box of Junior Mints to be delivered that morning. Or lemon chips. That works too.

Two Truths and a Lie: CMEpalooza Edition

Some people probably think that the CMEpalooza team is super creative in coming up with ideas for our various sessions. While it pains me to disavow you of that idea today, I figure after more than a dozen ‘Paloozas have come and gone, I’d let you in on how we really get our best session ideas.

[Derek/Scott sit down at the dinner table]

Derek/Scott: “So kids, what did you do at school today?

Kids: “We played this cool new game with our class. It was called (fill in the blank).”

Derek/Scott: “Huh, that sounds interesting. How does it work?”

Kids: (Begin 5 minute circular explanation that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense)

Derek/Scott: (Make a mental note to check the Google after dinner to find out how the game really worked)

And that’s how the proverbial sausage is made. OK, maybe not always, but probably at least a handful of times over the years.

Perhaps you recall last week that Derek gave you all a sneak peak at one of the sessions we’re planning for CMEpalooza Spring (Wednesday, March 24) focused on the “Would You Rather” theme. Yes, that came from the Warnick kids.

Today, you get another sneak peak (does it stop being a “sneak peak” once we tell you about every session before publishing the actual agenda? Hmm) from me for a Spring session we have planned based upon everyone’s favorite elementary school game, Two Truths and a Lie. Guess where the idea came from for that one? Wrong! I came up with it totally on my own. It was 100% my idea. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a fool. A fool, I say!

See, that’s an example of what they call “a lie” to get you into the spirit of the game.

For anyone not familiar with how this is played, you read three statements. Two are true. One is a lie. Your job is to pick the lie. Easy enough, right? Let’s see how you do with a few pieces of biographical data from Derek and I, as well as a few CMEpalooza-themed items. Answers are at the bottom of the page.

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE – SCOTT

Question 1

A. I played backup bass guitar for a band while at Syracuse University, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Kurt Cobain randomly came on stage one night to sing Come As You Are with us.

B. At my local gym in Philadelphia, I once guarded NBA Hall of Famer Maurice Cheeks at a pickup basketball game

C. While vacationing in Vancouver, I ate dinner sitting next to Movie Hall of Famer (not a real thing) Liam Neeson

Question 2

A. My first job after college was in Yuma, AZ

B. My first CME-related job was in El Paso, TX

C. My last newspaper job was in Decatur, IL

Question 3

A. I hate mozzarella cheese

B. I hate cheddar cheese

C. I hate provolone cheese

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE – DEREK

Question 1

A. While not vacationing in Exton, PA (I worked there), I ate breakfast sitting next to NBA Hall of Famer Maurice Cheeks

B. My best friend in high school once went out on a date with Brooke Shields (but only one date)

C. While visiting a friend who was attending Oxford University, I played a round of laser tag with rebel billionaire Richard Branson

Question 2

A. As a kid, I would help my Grandpa Warnick nose ring pigs on his farm in southern Delaware

B. As a kid, I would help my Grandpa Landis wash parts at his transmission shop in Lancaster County,  PA

C. As a kid, I would help my dad setup new IBM computers for his business in Milford, DE

Question 3

A. I like dark chocolate

B. I like milk chocolate

C. I like white chocolate

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE – CMEPALOOZA

Question 1

A. The most watched CMEpalooza of all time occurred in the Spring of 2020

B. There have been 11 companies that have sponsored every CMEpalooza since its beginning

C. The most watched session in CMEpalooza history currently has more than 2,500 views

Question 2

A. Derek hosted the first CMEpalooza as a solo venture

B. CMEpalooza has twice taken place over the course of multiple days

C. We have never had a CMEpalooza panelist back out on the day of a live broadcast

Question 3

A. Lawrence Sherman moderated the only 2-hour CMEpalooza session in our history

B. Brian McGowan was the presenter of the first-ever CMEpalooza session

C. John Ruggiero has appeared as a CMEpalooza panelist more than anyone else

 

 

 

CORRECT ANSWERS: A, B, C, B, C, C, B, B, A

The Vote Is In (Or Is It?)

Among the many accolades that CMEpalooza has won over the years is the prestigious “Best Online Conference” award given by the National Organization of Online National Events (NOONE). In fact, we won it 4 years in a row between 2015-2019. With the banner year that CMEpalooza had in 2020 – record-breaking attendance, sponsorship, and blog readers – we thought for sure we’d win it again this year.

But, shocker to us all, we lost. To, of all things, a meeting called YEPpers. We don’t even know what that means, but eh, whatever? We’ve won enough over the years, right?

Wrong.

And so over the weekend, the much-aggrieved Derek Warnick decided to take matters into his own hands and had our crack lead intern, Meadow Marcus, place a call to Mary Bergeraff, who monitors the annual voting for this award at NOONE. Meadow secretly recorded the call to prove to her family once and for all that the stories she’d been telling them about the wacky things that happen at CMEpalooza headquarters are true. 

Here is a truncated transcript of their discussion. A full version will be online, well, never. It’s too embarrassing. 

Marcus: Ok. Alright. Mr. Warnick, everyone is on the line. This is Meadow Marcus, the CMEpalooza head intern. Just so we are all aware, on the line is, well, no one else. I’m not even sure what this call is all about, but I just do what I’m told. Mr. Warnick, er, I mean Derek, I’ll turn it over to you.

Warnick: OK, thank you very much. Hello everybody. So I’ve spent a lot of time on this, and I’d just like to go over some of the numbers. I think it’s pretty clear that CMEpalooza won. We won very substantially among female voters whose name starts with the letter “S.” You can see it by the number of people who read our blog. We get 250-300 people who read each post and the competition would get less than 100. It never made sense.

Anywhere from 150-200 votes were mysteriously submitted via SurveyMonkey. Much of that had to do with male voters between the ages of 49-52 who live in Uruguay. We think that if you check the IP addresses of everyone who voted from Uruguay – a real audit of their IP addresses – you’ll find at least a couple hundred of people logged in from the same computer and duplicated many, many votes.

It’s a tremendous number. We’re going to have our intern’s little sister – she’s a 10th grader taking Calculus. I bet you couldn’t do that — she’s going to re-run the votes to give us an accurate number. It’s in the tens – and that’s people that went to vote online and were told they couldn’t vote because someone had already logged in using their username and password. And it’s a very sad thing. They didn’t complain because, let’s be real, no one else really cares, but I care.

I think the margin was 19 votes. Mary, you agree with that right? That’s a number that everyone agrees upon.

We had, I believe, 45 voters who voted but they weren’t on the eligible list of voters. One of them we found doesn’t even own a computer. Then you had 183 people who don’t have Internet access. They can’t log into a computer so how can their vote be counted?

In the Netherlands, they said very clearly that there was a large hack, and everyone logged off the Internet. But before they announced it was safe to get back online, there was that one family – I think it’s the Hjerkenbergers – who logged back online and supposedly submitted a whole batch of fraudulent votes. They weren’t submitted through the actual SurveyMonkey link, but they somehow hacked into a backdoor and entered their votes.

And that’s just for starters. I know you say you would like to get to the bottom of this, but I saw you interviewed on a podcast today – wait, you can’t see a podcast, right? – and you said you found nothing wrong. I mean, you know we didn’t lose the vote, Mary. People have been saying more people voted in this competition than have ever voted before. There was no way they beat us.

Marcus: So Mr. Warnick, er Derek, if I might be able to jump in, and I’ll give Mary a chance. In some of these areas where the facts are indisputable, in the spirit of cooperation and compromise, can’t you just tell the people that CMEpalooza won so Derek will stop whining about it?

Bergeraff: Well, I listened to what Mr. Warnick has just said. Mr. Warnick, we’ve counted the vote twice now, and, um, we don’t agree that CMEpalooza won. And we don’t agree with those numbers that you mentioned.

Warnick: Well, Mary, I’m just giving you minimal numbers. We have evidence that puts us many, many times above the margin. But what’s the difference between winning the competition by two votes or 200 votes? I think we probably did win it by 200. You look at all of the people who say they love CMEpalooza, the people who log onto our LIVE page the night before our events. It’s not possible to have lost.

Bergeraff: Well Mr. Warnick, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong. We talked to the technical team at SurveyMonkey and, frankly, they said they had better things to do than interfere in a piddly competition like this, but I pressed the issue and they looked back at the IP addresses of the voters. The actual number of duplicate voters was two.

Warnick: I mean, look, Mary. We have a new tape that we’re going to release tomorrow. It’s devastating. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m sure it shows massive, massive amounts of fraud. People being paid to vote for that other meeting. Did you know they paid people? Yes, we have it on video. Fifty cents changing hands. We have it magnified. Fifty cents. Terrible.

Bergeraff: Mr. Warnick, the problem you have with social media, they — people can say anything.

Warnick: Oh this isn’t social media. This is the CMEpalooza blog comments. I don’t care about social media. Social media is Big Tech. Big Tech never liked us since they shut down Google Hangouts On Air. I don’t even know why you have a side, because you should want to have an accurate competition.

Bergeraff: We believe that we do have an accurate competition.

Warnick: No, no you don’t. No, no you don’t. You don’t have. Not even close. You’re off by hundreds of votes.

So what are we going to do here, Mary? CMEpalooza only needs 20 votes. Give me a break.

Bergeraff: Mr. Warnick, you have your people – I guess your intern’s little sister – who calculate the vote and we have our people, who are actual adults with real jobs, who calculate the vote. We believe our numbers are right.

Warnick: Your numbers aren’t right. They’re really wrong, and you know they are really wrong. You said last year that you like CMEpalooza. Why don’t you just say that CMEpalooza wins again?

You guys are so wrong. Between you and your CEO, who I endorsed for a 10 percent pay raise, and like a schmuck I endorsed him and he got the pay raise, but I will tell you, he is a disaster.

We only need 20 votes. I have given you evidence of many, many times that number of fraudulent votes. Just 20 votes. That’s all we need. My kids aren’t speaking to me. They are calling me a loser. C’mon, I am not asking for much. Scott doesn’t even know we’re talking today. He says he doesn’t care. Please, Mary, I’m begging you. Just 20 votes. What will it take?

Bergeraff: Goodbye Mr. Warnick.

Warnick: Wait, please don’t hang up on me. (They hang up) Hello, hello? Meadow, get me Giuliani’s second cousin once removed on the line. She’ll know how to handle this.

CMEpalooza Spotlight: It’s Today!

Nothing says “the holiday season” like a special CMEpalooza event. You think Rudolph, you think Frosty, and you think CMEpalooza. Even though Derek may sometimes seem like quite a Grinch, he’s really very jolly this time of year. He’s been seen walking around his neighborhood many years toting around some mistletoe to spread some very personal holiday fear cheer, but alas, 2020. Another thing lost due to COVID-19 (note from Derek: bah humbug.)

So pour yourself a frothy glass of egg nog, cue up Bing Crosby on your turntable, and join us this morning at 11 am ET for a very special CMEpalooza Spotlight where we’ll be talking about “Outcomes: Creating Value for All Stakeholders.” I’ll be joined by Jacqui Brooks, Stephen Webber, and Annette Schwind from the Haymarket Medical Education team as we delve into ways that providers can perform an internal assessment of their outcomes processes to ensure that they are meeting the needs of all interested parties, along with a host of other topics.

You can watch this broadcast on our LIVE page, with the usual opportunities to ask questions of the panelists. If you happened to foolishly schedule another meeting during the 11 am ET hour, don’t worry, you can come back later and watch the recorded session in the same location. As with everything else CMEpalooza, there is no cost and no pre-registration necessary.

It’s Coming Up Outcomes

Whenever we do surveys of our audience regarding what topics they’d like to hear more about, outcomes are always at the top of the list. Derek and I have stopped trying to explain it – we just shrug our shoulders and say, “OK, looks like we’re going to plan another outcomes session this spring/fall.”

Let’s face it, for the non-statisticians in this world — and despite a semester of Statistics in grad school, I am most definitely one of you — a lot of the data and numbers crunched to make up CME/CE outcomes reports can give us a headache. I think I sorta, kinda understand P values by now (note from Derek: it’s “p-value”, Einstein) (note from Scott: the comma goes inside the quotation mark, Shakespeare), but once you start getting into things like confidence intervals, risk ratios, etc., my head starts to hurt.

Fortunately, there are a handful of very smart people in our industry who play the role of the aspirin in the medicine cabinet. You show them these weird numbers and they explain to you, in actual English sometimes, what they mean. As announced last week, I’ll be joined by several of these smart folks from Haymarket Medical Education and the National Association for Continuing Education next week for our special CMEpalooza Spotlight at 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday, December 9. We’ll be talking outcomes, and really not a lot about the specific nomenclature itself, but more about how to create value across the span of stakeholders with outcomes reports. What do supporters look for in outcomes reports? How can providers make sure their data is reliable? What do you do with all of the data you don’t use in your reports?

This is a free, 30-minute session that requires no registration, no credit card, no nothing. Just go to our LIVE page at the appointed time and tune in.

Encore!! Encore!!

I never quite understood the concert encore. It’s just dumb.

The singer or band does their thing for a while and then everyone “pretends” that the concert is over. “Show’s over people. Heh heh heh.” Except that EVERYONE knows it’s a sham. The stage lights stay dark, the entire audience stays in its seats, and the band is backstage doing, well, I don’t know exactly what they are doing (I mean, I have a general idea, but we’re a PG rated event so let’s just play dumb, shall we?).

To me, it would make a lot more sense if the concert encore was reserved for something rare, something special. Instead of a “Here you go, you average schlub audience, we’ll accept your tepid applause and play three more songs, capping things off with our most recognizable hit,” maybe it happens 10% of the time. Someone on stage decides with 30 minutes left in the “main” part of the show whether there is going to be an encore or not. If there isn’t, they tack on 1 or 2 of the planned encore songs into the meat of the concert and then when they say “Good night everyone. We love you, Pittsburgh!” they really mean it. The audience isn’t shortchanged much on the actual material they are hearing, so it isn’t a big deal. But on those special nights where everything is clicking, the singer or band decides to truly play an encore. And that’s a night the audience will always remember. “Hey man, were you there that night in Peoria where .38 Special came back and played an extended, 20-minute version of Hold on Loosely during their encore? That was epic!”

There, fixed the concert industry. Well, assuming there is a concert industry still left to fix.

All of this is just a meandering segue to let the adoring fans of CMEpalooza know that we hear your applause after each of our live events. We know you are all standing on your chairs, banging on your pots and pans, chanting “We want more, we want more!” It’s nice, and we appreciate the kudos, but it’s never raucous enough for us to actually want to do anything about it.

Until now. 

Thanks to the kind folks at Haymarket Medical Education, there will indeed be a rare encore of CMEpalooza in 2020. We’re planning a special CMEpalooza Spotlight to be held from 11-11:30 am ET on Wednesday, December 9 ,where we’ll be talking about the topic of “Outcomes Assessment: Creating Value for All Stakeholders.” Outcomes is always one of the big topics in our world, and this session will shine some light onto ways that providers of all types can assess their outcomes processes to ensure that they are reporting out information that is truly of value to various stakeholder types.

If you are not familiar with our CMEpalooza Spotlights, these are special events occasionally held outside of our main broadcast days. We did one in the spring with our friends at Educational Measures (that one was a pre-show encore a week before CMEpalooza Spring) and are now back for an actual encore this time around. You get to see me moderate a session — thrilling I know — instead of just suffering through one of my usual production gaffes. 

Just like our main CMEpalooza broadcasts, you’ll be able to tune in on our LIVE page and do all of the things you are used to doing in the era of all-online, all-the-time education (ie, ask questions, answer a poll question or two, check to make sure you aren’t wearing the same sweatpants for the 5th day in a row, etc.). 

So set aside some time in your busy calendar to join us, It goes without saying that this is free and doesn’t require pre-registration – c’mon, you all know the drill by now. Just don’t ask me to sing “Caught Up in You.” That would definitely NOT deserve an encore.

 

Yes, There Is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

Among the many, many things I miss about the pre-Covid era is my lunch hour. Living in the heart of Center City Philadelphia, there were loads of great options I could either walk or drive to within a very short distance. Most days, I would block off 60-90 minutes (yes, I work for myself and can take as long as I please), sit down and enjoy my daily bounty. It was honestly one of my favorite moments of each day.

Now, well, it’s OK. Some of my previous favorite haunts never reopened for lunch takeout. Some serve food that simply doesn’t travel well. So out of my usual rotation of 7-to-10 really good options, I’m down to 4 or 5. It’s unquestionably getting a bit boring.

In an effort to try to spice up the lunch hour of our CMEpalooza groupies, Derek came up with what I thought was one of his brainier ideas back in the summertime (note from Derek: there are so many to choose from!). He had apparently been on some sort of call featuring someone from GrubHub and was intrigued by a program they had whereby you could provide limited-use gift cards for individuals attending a virtual event. Essentially, they are provided with a code to use to order lunch through GrubHub only during specified hours. Based on this program, we added a “Feed the People” option to our menu of sponsorship opportunities for the fall, and Derek even wrote a blog post about it last month.

And… crickets.

It certainly appeared, sadly, that Feed the People was going to hit the CMEpalooza graveyard along with other ideas we’d trotted out over the years.

But, “Aha!, Not so fast my friends!” A savior arrived earlier this week to appease the appetites of the masses.

Yes, the fine folks at FreeCME have graciously agreed to serve as the sponsor for our Feed the People initiative, providing solace to the grumbling CME tummies around the United States (sorry for anyone overseas, but you’ll just have to forage for your own food this year).

So who wants a free lunch next Wednesday?

If you are saying, “Yeah, free lunch sounds good,” just click here to give us your name and email address. On the day before CMEpalooza, we’ll send the first 25 respondents a $15 GrubHub gift card to use to order lunch during our live broadcast on Wednesday. That way, you don’t have to miss a second of the amazing content we have in store for everyone. Just be sure to put a napkin over your keyboard so you don’t spill any of that sriracha mayo between the “D” and “F” keys.

What’s New with CMEpalooza?

This Fall marks the 14th iteration of CMEpalooza. That includes the inaugural two-day free-for-all in the spring of 2014 during the BSE (Before Scott Era) and then 13 Spring/Fall events featuring the best duo since the Captain and Tennille. Every year, Derek and I try to make some minor changes to the way we do things, many of which our audience probably doesn’t even notice. Like the year when Derek suggested that we “get crazy haircuts” the week before our live event. I went to my neighborhood barber to give him carte blanche and he laughed at me. He’s mean.

But anyway…

For this Fall’s event, being held next Wednesday, October 14 between 9 am-5 pm ET, there are more “new” things than usual, so I wanted to get everyone prepared:

  1. The biggest change is with our LIVE page, otherwise known as the page where you view our sessions. In previous years, we would stream each session on the same page and force learners to refresh their page every hour to view the next session. No more. Thanks to technological advances of our production platform, StreamYard, we are now able to pre-schedule all of our sessions, which means that we can also create unique pages to view all of our sessions. So now, when you go to our LIVE page on the day of our live broadcast, you just need to click on the link to the session you want to view. If you are really, really bored, you can even click on each link now and just sit there staring at the screen until the session begins. The staring record is 22 hours, 17 minutes, 19 seconds. Email Derek if you beat it.
  2. It’s not that Derek and I are cheap (OK, maybe we are), but we’ve always used the “free” version of whatever recording platform we were using at the time (note from Derek: we did this to make a point. Mission accomplished, I think.) Consequently, you would always see a little icon with the logo of that platform on the screen of our sessions. This year, I finally convinced Derek to be a grownup and pony up some of his hardly-earned cash to upgrade to the lowest tier of StreamYard’s paid plan. So now you’ll see the CMEpalooza logo in the top right corner of each session. Super important, I know.
  3. A few years ago, we offered all of our brilliant CMEpalooza sponsors the opportunity to embed a promotional video beneath their listing. We would typically have 2 or 3 sponsors who took us up on the offer. For whatever reason, this fall we’ve had way more people asking us to put up their videos than usual. As of this writing, there are 10 promotional visits you can check out. Many of these are quite slick.
  4. We’ve used Poll Everywhere as our audience response technology for the last few CMEpaloozas. It’s fairly simple to program and run, so we now offer it to our session panelists. I don’t know that everyone will use it this Fall, but a fair number will (and for the anchor 4 pm Trivia session, you absolutely will need Poll Everywhere to play along). Not a bad idea to download the app to your phone/device in advance. Our meeting “handle” is CMEpalooza000. If you don’t want to download another app, you’ll be able to go to this link.
  5. While it’s totally voluntary, we are asking everyone to tell us a little about yourself by going to this link. Like I said, not mandatory, but if you want to let us know how amazing you are, this is the link you need to click on. So please, click on this link.

You know what’s not changing about CMEpalooza? The cost. CMEpalooza remains and will always be free for everyone to watch. No pre-registration, no credit cards numbers, no nothing. Every year, we always get a few people emailing us to ask “How do I register for CMEpalooza?” We tell them the same thing – you don’t. You just show up whenever you want to. Missed a live session? View it in the Archives. Also for free.