Hey, What’s the Big Idea There Fella?

And we’re back from another year of the Alliance conference where Derek once again won the late-evening talent show with his surprisingly catchy rendition of Supertramp’s Take the Long Way Home on the glockenspiel. I tell you, the hidden talents that guy has are truly astounding.

I, meanwhile, devoted a good deal of my time to thinking. I know what you are saying – “Um, er, aren’t you always thinking?” Sometimes, yes, yes I am, although that thinking is often more focused on “How do I get done what I need to get done today?” This thinking was more devoted to strategic thinking, where I was able to sit, listen, and consider how what other people were talking about could be adapted to future planning for my business. For me, that’s one of the most valuable things about full-day or multi-day events (such as CMEpalooza) — it allows me to shut down the “fight or flight” part of my brain and think creatively and strategically.

It goes without saying that there are many creative people in our industry – one of my favorite things to do is to go up to colleagues and ask, “So, what interesting things are you working on?” Not only does this allow people to do what they often do best — talk about themselves — but it also will sometimes spark an idea in my head about something I can adapt to my business. Some of the best CMEpalooza session ideas are sparked in this way, and I jotted down a few notes for things you may see from us later this year.

A few other notes for you:

  1. I was very excited to get a chance to try out the Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality device that was featured in one session. “Maybe, if you are nice to us, you can come up after the session and try it out,” they told me the day before the session. I guess I wasn’t very nice because they packed that thing up faster than this guy ate a watermelon. Eh, I probably wouldn’t have trusted me either.
  2. I took up the heroic San Francisco challenge of, “I’m going to keep walking uphill until I can’t walk uphill any more” one evening. Two hours later, I think I touched a cloud. Or maybe that was just a mirage. Not one of my brightest ideas.
  3. Maybe most importantly, Derek and I met our CMEpalooza Spring intern! You’ll be hearing from her later this week, so her identity will remain a secret for now (ooohh, the suspense!). She was both “honored and excited” to meet us in person. Needless to say, those feelings went away pretty quickly once she saw who she was dealing with. I was just happy Derek didn’t spill his drink on her.


Finally, Something Both Sides of the Aisle Can Agree Upon

Let’s go ahead and make a prediction – you are going to be exhausted by all of the election talk by, oh, January 10. In fact, many of you probably already are.

One thing, though, we can promise you – pulling the lever for a CMEpalooza sponsorship is always going to be a winning choice. While we won’t viciously target you in a tweet if your organization decides against a sponsorship in 2020, we will surely give you a very public pat on the back if you make the wise business decision to climb aboard our campaign.

Yes indeed, the voters have spoken and CMEpalooza will be back for its sixth year, with the usual Spring and Fall meetings on tap. You can mark your calendars now if you want to – Wednesday, April 15 and Wednesday, October 14.

We are again inviting CME providers, supporters, and service companies to take advantage of sponsorship opportunities with CMEpalooza Spring and Fall in 2020. There were 31 organizations who sponsored CMEpalooza in 2019, and we hope that even more forward-thinking organizations stuff the sponsorship ballot box this year. There are already a number of sponsors who have climbed aboard as early supporters of CMEpalooza (check them out on our Sponsor page). Join them, won’t you?

Don’t forget that we were way way way ahead of the game with this FREE EDUCATION FOR ALL thing. That’s Fake News as far as we’re concerned. CMEpalooza was free for all learners, is free for all learners, and will continue to be free to all learners.

Here is a link to our 2020 Sponsor Prospectus. There are individual and package sponsorships available, as well as other creative opportunities to promote your company. We’ve thrown a few new goodies out again this year as well. If there is anything particularly creative you have in mind, come talk to us. No matter what your political persuasion may be, we’ll be happy to work with you on a suitable compromise.

Derek and I will be leading the CMEpalooza caucus out at the Alliance conference this week if you have any questions or simply want to make a non-tax deductable contribution to our campaign. We’ll probably use it to buy ad time on your local public television network between the hours of 2:48 and 2:58 am on a random Tuesday night.

CMEpalooza Intern Applications Due Friday

You may have missed it as you queued up for another cup of grog at the company holiday party, but we announced last month that we are taking on our first ever CMEpalooza intern. Since we know everyone has a lot on their minds during the last few days of the year, we decided to keep the application process open until Friday, January 3. That’s tomorrow. So, um, don’t wait too much longer if you are interested. Here is a direct link to the very short application.

Why should you want to be the CMEpalooza intern for Spring 2020? I’m glad you asked, friend.

  1. It’s something different. I know, you are groaning already about another RSS you need to schedule or that budget you need to complete, and it’s only the first work day of 2020. Guess what? There will be no drudgery assignments for the CMEpalooza intern. You get to have fun and be creative.
  2. We’ll work with you to make sure you get to learn what you want to. Really, our expectations for the CMEpalooza intern are low. You’ll write a blog post or two, preferably having something to do with CME (or ’80s pop culture), and we’ll include you in some of the planning for a Spring 2020 session. Beyond that, we’re flexible.
  3. You will get to make fun of Derek to your hearts desire. I am somewhat more sensitive so wisecracks aimed at me must be limited to 2 per day.
  4. We will give you 100% of the revenue from learner registration to CMEpalooza Spring. That’s right, all of it. Every single cent. Oh, ahem, did we mention that CMEpalooza is free? Sorry about that.

I am sure there are many, many more benefits to being the CMEpalooza Spring 2020 intern, but I still have a gallon of leftover egg nog to deal with. So if you’ll excuse me…

The Best Gig Ever: CMEpalooza Intern

Hello everyone. We’re back. Did you miss us?

Yes indeed, the CMEpalooza caravan is in operation once again after a much-needed rest following our Spring and Fall successes in 2019. Our staff returned recently from a week-long retreat in luxurious and balmy Pekin, IL, where we broke down the data on CMEpaloozas past and made plans for CMEpaloozas future. We’ve got some fun things in store for 2020, which we’ll get to, er, eventually.

We are here today, though, with some exciting news – we’re hiring! Well, sort of. OK, we’re not really hiring someone who will actually be paid, but we are looking to bring another energetic and entertaining voice into the CMEpalooza family in 2020. After six years of putting up with us making fun of each other in less and less creative ways, you deserve a new perspective, which is why we are officially opening up the process to select a CMEpalooza Spring 2020 Intern.

We thought of opening up the CMEpalooza coffers to put a flashy ad up on Indeed.com to attract applicants from around the world, but then we realized we didn’t have any coffers to open and so we had to settle for the corporate blog. Good news for you though – you now likely won’t be competing with anyone from the Seychelles for this gig.

So what exactly are the expected duties of the CMEpalooza Spring 2020 Intern?

  1. You’ll have the opportunity to contribute to the CMEpalooza blog at your leisure. Maybe once a month or so. You can write about just about anything that won’t offend people. Scott is in charge of the offensive material.
  2. We’ll have you shadow one of us virtually as we plan a CMEpalooza session. You’ll learn how the proverbial sausage is made. Maybe you’ll even pick up a thing or two that you can incorporate into your real job. You’ll likely even have the chance to show up on camera during a Spring session so you can show your doubting friends and family that, yes, you are officially part of the CMEpalooza team.
  3. You will spend every other Saturday with a bullhorn outside of your state capitol building singing the CMEpalooza fight song for 2 hours (optional duty)

What qualifications are we looking for?

  1. You should be working in CME in some capacity
  2. You should have a thick skin – it’s pretty certain that we will make fun of you at some point
  3. You should not be a Dallas Cowboys or Boston Celtics fan (sorry, we have to draw the line somewhere)

Beyond that, we’re open to anyone. Maybe you have only worked in CME for 1 year and want to learn more about our industry? Great. Maybe you’ve worked in CME for 25 years and want to do something fun in 2020? Also great. Maybe it’s been your lifelong dream to meet Derek and you think that this is your chance? You need professional help.

While this is an unpaid position, Derek has promised to send our CMEpalooza Spring 2020 Intern a half-eaten box of Thin Mints as a personal thank you (note from Derek: Very clever idea, Scott. Everyone knows there is no such thing as a half eaten box of Thin Mints.)

The application process for the CMEpalooza Spring 2020 Intern is simple and short. Fill out a brief questionnaire by clicking on this link to apply. Every answer is vitally important so please think before you respond. The application process will close on Friday, January 3, at which time a special task force will cull through the applications to select our winner. You can email us if you have any questions (our email address is on this site somewhere – you just need to find it).

Great Big CMEpalooza Quiz Answers

Thank you to everyone who participated in our wrapup session to CMEpalooza, The Great, Big, Play at Home in Your Jammies CME Quiz. We know covered a lot of information in a very short amount of time. Consequently, our faculty was kind enough to put together this document explaining all of the answers and providing detailed rationale. If you want to argue or disagree with any of these explanations, that’s why we provide links to all of our faculty LinkedIn pages on the agenda tab 🙂

Everything You Need to Know for CMEpalooza Week

I usually let Derek take the lazy way out in the blog with Top 10 lists, but we’re busy what with CMEpalooza Fall going live in less than 48 hours and all, so here are a few quick things to keep in mind:

  1. It goes without saying that you should either have blocked off your calendar by now or plan to call in sick on Wednesday. Really, there isn’t anything more important you should be doing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET.
  2. If you suddenly get hungry, we have even built in a lunch break (or breakfast break if you are on the left coast) this year thanks to one of our Gold sponsors, AcademicCME. No, unfortunately, they will not be picking up the tab for your lunch. You’ll still have pay $6.99 for a McRib, which apparently is back again (Note from Derek: gross.) I’m not quite sure why.
  3. We’ll be using Poll Everywhere for a few of our sessions this year to get some interaction going. If you want to get a head start on things, you can download the app in the Apple store or Google Play for your mobile device. You don’t need to have the app, but I find it helpful to have it on my phone.
  4. We’re using a brand-new platform this year for our sessions called StreamYard. From the perspective of the viewer and panelist, you won’t note much of a difference. There are some different sorts of camera views we’ll be using, but otherwise, CMEpalooza will look the same as always. So then why am I telling you this? Hmm, good question. Moving on.
  5. When you have a few free moments, go look at our sponsors and check out some of the great work others are doing in CME/CE. I actually met one of our sponsors last week in person for the first time at one of their activities (I was helping at a program in an adjoining room). As with all of our sponsors, they seemed like good people.
  6. Feel free to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. to tell all of your friends and colleagues how cool you are by being a fan of CMEpalooza. Best fan post gets a virtual hug from Derek. He’s a cuddler.
  7. We encourage our live audience to ask questions during our sessions. We aren’t one of those annoying meetings where we hold all questions until the end of each session (God do I hate that). If you have a good question that is relevant to what our panel is talking about, we don’t mind butting in to ask it. There are several ways that will be listed on our LIVE page to ask questions. If your question is a good one, we’ll make sure it gets asked. If it’s bad, well, we may ignore you. Sorry.
  8. Want to offer some wardrobe suggestions for Derek and I during individual sessions? We’re game. I believe I saw a feather boa somewhere in Derek’s office (Room 421B in CMEpalooza HQ, right next to the trash chute). It’s not like we haven’t had panelists do dress-up sessions before. Derek and I have simply tried to uphold some sort of professional standards in the past. I think it’s time we admit that we have failed.
  9. There will once again be a survey after each session where we rely on your feedback to help plan future sessions. And to replenish our joke bucket (a recent fave: Did you hear about the fire at the cheese factory in France? All that was left was de brie).
  10. It’s almost time for tipoff, so let’s have a song everyone.

The Proud, The Few, The CMEpalooza Bingo!! Winners

There was suspense, there was hype, there was even a bit of trash talking this morning as the qualified participants in the CMEpalooza Bingo!! gathered in the Executive Suite at CMEpalooza HQ for our prize drawing. Five $100 prizes were in the offing – for that kind of scratch, you could buy four cases of Whatchamacallit bars.

In the end, the winners were appropriately dignified, the losers gracious, and the morning’s emcee was, well, competent. We tried for Small Wonder star Tiffany Brissette, but she never responded to Derek’s stalker-like email. We’ll set our sights lower next year.

Here are your now filthy-rich CME colleagues:

  • Vanessa Gray, Director, Continuing Medical Education, Des Moines University Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Jill Hays, Executive Director, Primary Care Network
  • Allyson Baer, Program Manager, Data Analysis and Reporting, CE, American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Amanda Kaczerski, Senior Director, Educational Strategy & Design, Academy for Continued Healthcare Learning
  • Noreen Duffey, CME Program Administrator, American College of Physicians

Congrats to our winners. To our losers (and everyone else), don’t forget that we’ll be giving away another $500 during our 4 p.m. session of CMEpalooza Fall. This one requires more skill than luck, so brush up on your industry knowledge.

Sing along with CMEpalooza

B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, and CMEpalooza Bingo!! is it’s Name-O.

Just a reminder to everyone to make sure to carve out some time this week to participate in our sponsor event and give yourself a pretty darn good chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. If you need it, that is. If you have billions and billions of dollars of disposable income, you might want to put someone else’s name on your entry form to give them a chance. Just sayin’.

All the forms you need to play can be accessed by clicking on this link. You can get all the details on how to play by looking at Monday’s blog post. Entries are due this Sunday evening in the third quarter of whatever NFL game is on, or thereabouts.

It’s That Time Again – CMEpalooza Bingo!! is Here

There isn’t much out in the public forum these days that doesn’t raise your blood pressure.

Your team sucks! Your party sucks! You cheated! You lied! Lock her up! Impeach him! I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids!

Perhaps that is why Derek and I try so hard to bring some levity and joy into your lives with this blog and CMEpalooza in general. I’ll give you an example. Last week during a conversation with one of the panel moderators for CMEpalooza Fall, she started telling me that, “We’re thinking of doing something a little quirky with our introductions, but we’re not sure if it’ll be OK. What we’d like to do is…”

I interrupted her before she got any further.

“Yes, yes, a million times yes. Do whatever quirky or unusual or odd thing you want. That’s what we do.”

I mean, really people, how many other otherwise serious events have panelists dress up like Star Wars characters?

You know what else we do at CMEpalooza that should both make you happy and is never replicated at another event, especially a free event? That’s right, we give away money. This fall, we’re actually giving away money twice, as you may have seen in last week’s post about our 4 pm ET session.

Today, though, marks the launch of our more traditional financial free-for-all. In the fall, we call this CMEpalooza Bingo!! The second exclamation point is just because it’s extra awesome.

The distribution of prize money will be a little bit different this year because, well, we just feel like it. There will be 5 winners, each getting $100 Amazon gift cards. That’s $500 in total for all of you math majors. Last fall, our giant hopper wasn’t big enough to hold all of the successful entries we got for CMEpalooza Bingo!! so we ordered a new one shipped all the way from Camden, NJ. Let’s put it to good use, people.

Here be the rules to CMEpalooza Bingo!!:

STEP 1: Download all of the necessary Bingo forms by clicking on this link. That will give you the Bingo board, the Bingo questions, and the Bingo answer sheet. You should also queue up our Sponsor page, which will give you direct links to all of the websites you will need to visit.

STEP 2: A successful entry involves completing a Bingo – it can be horizontal (that’s straight across), vertical (that’s up and down), or diagonal (that’s, um, diagonal).

Special note: For the second straight year, we have too many sponsors to fit onto a bingo board, so a successful entry also involves completing the clue for one of our two Gold sponsors – Med Learning Group or Academic CME. So a total of six (6) answers are necessary this year for a successful entry. That’s more time you can spend playing CMEpalooza Bingo!! and less time you need to spend doing your “real job.” You are welcome.

STEP 3: Email your completed form to me at scott@medcasewriter.com along with a witty subject line (witty subject line is optional). Entry deadline is 9:23 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 6. Yes, 9:23 p.m. ET. Why? No reason. It just is.

Go to it everyone.

Game Show Fanatic

I loved game shows as a kid, even a really young kid. While everyone else was outside playing fun preschool suburban games like “Put This Stick Up Your Nose” and “Run As Fast As You Can Into the Pricker Bush,” I spent every weekday morning from 11 am-noon watching The Price is Right. The good version. Back when Bob Barker was hosting it. Yes, he’s still alive. He’s 95. I looked it up.

There were others I liked too. Card Sharks was good (I watched the recent reboot for about 5 minutes. Terrible). Joker’s Wild (didn’t watch the reboot). Sale of the Century.

When I was maybe 5 or 6, I decided that if I couldn’t co-produce a twice-annual meeting for CME professionals, then I wanted to be a game show host. The ones I admired were all skinny, gawky, white dudes, just like me. I was the next Bert Convy, a Bill Cullen just waiting to be discovered, a Wink Martindale with a normal name.

As I got older and school interrupted my game show habits (my elementary school nurse was partial to Password. Amazing how often I got a stomachache exactly at 10 am), I had to settle for those game shows that came on in the after school hours. They perhaps aren’t as well remembered, but there were lots of them and I loved (OK, liked) them all. Hot Potato had amazing graphics. That was my favorite.

Fast forward to 2019. No, I am unfortunately not going to be the next Bob Eubanks, but when it came time to figure out a session to anchor CMEpalooza Fall 2019, I figured it was time to live out my boyhood dream. And so was born The Great, Big, Play at Home in Your Jammies CME Quiz. It’s from 4-5 pm ET on Wednesday, October 16.

This session has everything a good game show needs:

  • Competition – everyone can play, for free, using the Poll Everywhere app or by going to a URL we’ll provide before the session (it’ll be http://www.pollev/cmepalooza). You need to be smart and answer quickly to rack up the points.
  • Catchy theme music — Derek has promised to sing “Edelweiss” at the start of the session
  • Really cool celebrity guests — If you liked Nipsey Russell or Soupy Sales popping up on every single game show in the ’80s, you’ll love the celebrities joining us for this session (they are also known as “faculty”). Each of our “celebrities” has been integrally involved in developing questions and/or serving on the planning committee for the CCMEP/CHCP exam so they know their stuff.
  • Prizes – Yes, even better than a year’s supply of Turtle Wax. There will be at least $500 in prize money to be given out. Medscape is currently our sole prize sponsor, but if your organization wants to join in, shoot me an email and we’ll figure something out.

Now, go away. The Game Show Network is doing a marathon of Supermarket Sweep reruns starting in 5 minutes.