CMEpalooza Pursuit: Trivia Ahead of Its Time

Trivia is trendy these days.

It seems like I get a text every month from a friend inviting me to sign up for one of the numerous live trivia games you can now play on your phone. Far as I can tell, the concept behind them all is similar – you answer a series of trivia questions of varying difficulty (ranging from “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?” to “Who was the undertaker who dug the hole for Grant’s Tomb?”) in a certain amount of time and then, if you get them all right, you win a nominal amount of money. I occasionally play some of these games with limited success – it’s apparently a great time suck in many offices around the world.

As usual, our intern wizards were ahead of the curve when they suggested we develop a trivia-based CMEpalooza sponsor event several years ago. Just like today’s trendy copycats — lawsuits are pending — you are presented with a variety of questions related to the brilliant companies who sponsor CMEpalooza and then, when you answer them all correctly, you win money. Lots and lots of money (for reals, yo).

Today, we are proud to launch our Spring sponsor event, CMEpalooza Pursuit. As the name suggests, this is an adaptation of everyone’s pie-filled favorite, Trivial Pursuit. This year, we have divided questions into 7 categories – the 6 original game categories as well as an extra Potpourri category. With 20 sponsors of our Spring event, there were simply too many to try to jam in to the traditional boxes. Plus, extra learning for you!

Here is how CMEpalooza Pursuit works:

  1. Click here to download the list of questions
  2. Click here to download the entry form
  3. Use the Sponsor tab of the CMEpalooza website to get links to all of the companies involved in this event. You’ll need to visit the Sponsor sites to get the answers to all of our questions. We promise there is nothing that can’t be found within a click or two.
  4. Complete the entry form by coming up with a correct response to one question in each category. That’s seven questions/answers in all. Now, we have had some brown nosers who have tried in the past to answer more than the required amount of questions, which is fine. It just won’t help you win.
  5. Send your completed entry form to me via email at scott@medcasewriter.com by 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 4.
  6. Cross your fingers.

We’ll be giving away $500 in Amazon gift cards this Spring – there will be 8 winners of $25, 4 winners of $50, and 1 grand prize winner of $100. Unlike some of the more mainstream trivia apps, there aren’t thousands of people expected to complete CMEpalooza Pursuit. If you play, your chances are reasonably good of winning a prize (no promises though).

And…go.

We’ve Got an Agenda!

The development process for CMEpalooza Spring goes through more changes than Derek’s demeanor (yes, it looks like a perpetual “I am totally checked out of life,” but there are subtle nuances). One year, we invite abstracts from the public. The next year, we don’t. One year, we have our adoring tolerating public vote for their favorite abstracts. The next year, we use a double-secret process that involves votive candles and a Ouija board. I’m one of the people who decides these annual changes, and it’s becoming hard for even me to keep track of.

One thing, fortunately, that has not changed is the overall quality of our education. Thanks to the creative folks in the CME community, we have consistently been able to provide innovative education — FOR FREE — to our adoring tolerating audience.

And so, once again, we proudly present the agenda for another iteration of CMEpalooza Spring. You may notice that this year’s agenda is split into two days (we announced how that will work several weeks ago). You may notice that a few items are TBA (but not many). You may notice that there are sessions that focus on a variety of aspects of CME planning, development, and measurement (we did that on purpose).

In the end, though, all we really hope is that you notice how you can’t possibly miss a single session of CMEpalooza Spring and set yourself up for a “long lunch” on Wednesday, April 25 and Thursday, April 26. You’ll still have time to work before and after our sessions. Just not a lot.

Quick aside: Derek came home from a weekend jaunt with the family to find his Internet connection was down (“because of squirrels or something stupid like that”). Who wants to bet that “something stupid like that” is that he didn’t realize that dial-up connections are no longer being supported by his service provider? And yes, that annoying sound of your dial-up Internet successfully connecting will be ping ponging in your brain for a while. [Note from Derek: Fake news. Per the Verizon guy working on the line, a squirrel was definitely the culprit. This may come as a shock to some of you, but after being told last night that the line would be fixed “in a couple hours,” it is still not fixed this morning. Does anyone have an extra AOL startup CD laying around?]

Today’s the Day!

Big doings here in the City of Brotherly Love. I’m not sure if you are aware, but the local football team will be tossing the ol’ pigskin around the gridiron this coming Sunday in a little game called the Super Bowl. Eagles fans are known for our calm and reserved demeanor so I’m sure we’re all handling the excitement with dignity and class.

Let’s check in and see.

Ah, yes, just as expected.

More importantly, today is the deadline for submitting an abstract for a presentation at CMEpalooza Spring. We’ve talked about this enough in the past week, so I don’t have anything particularly interesting to add. No poems or lists or anything like that.

OK, maybe one poem.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Tom Brady stinks
Now submit an abstract

Nailed it.

Go to the CMEpalooza Spring application now and submit your abstract. The rest of you can watch this rendition of “Fly Eagles Fly” from the Central High School orchestra. Go Birds!

 

Embrace the Uncomfortable

I hate cliches.

I mean, really, who goes around killing birds with stones?

I can’t remember the last time I was at the library and didn’t explicitly judge a book based upon its cover.

My son spilled a glass of milk at dinner just last night – did any of us cry over it? Of course not. We’re not idiots.

You get the idea (although I did avoid Derek like the plague last week since he was convinced he had contracted it).

Anyway, back to the point of this story.

You all know the tired cliche, “Try everything once,” right? Or maybe you are more of a “Do something that scares you” kind of person. Doesn’t matter, because this is one sentiment that I want to explore a bit more today as it’s one I try to remember as I sashay through life.

OK, yes, perhaps it wasn’t the brightest idea when I decided to drink a glass of raw eggs a la Rocky Balboa when I was a teenager (didn’t get sick, felt fine).

And it’s true, perhaps little 10-year-old Derek would have been better off not telling his friends, family, and everyone in the surrounding area that he wrote a 15-page love letter to the girl/robot star of Small Wonder (today’s fun fact: she’s apparently now a nurse in Colorado. Derek asks that you let him know if she is ever a faculty member for your educational initiative).

But the point is that we were both conquering our fears and trying something new and uncomfortable (and perhaps stupid). I understand that, for many of you, when we put out the call for submissions for CMEpalooza Spring, you were scared. “No way I am going to talk in public. Uh uh, never, never, never. Besides, who cares what I have to say anyway?”

In reality, though, CMEpalooza is the perfect venue to allow you to overcome your fear of public speaking. You don’t have to picture anyone in the audience naked (let’s face it, the CME crowd ain’t exactly overflowing with Adonises and Aphrodites). You get to choose your surroundings, whether it your home, office, or favorite quiet nook in your local coffee shop. It will be more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

You’ve only got a few more days to come up with a brilliant idea, recruit a colleague or two to join your presentation team, and then tell us all about what you have planned (submission deadline is this Friday)? What’s the worst that could happen? Whatever it is, it can’t be as bad as this.

So whaddya say? Let’s give it shot, OK sport? Click here for all the information you need to make your dreams come true.

Choose Your Own (Annual Conference) Adventure

Well, another Alliance annual conference has come and gone, and all of us lucky enough to have attended have dispersed back to our respective homes with a collection of new knowledge in our heads and a touch of sunshine in our hearts (I only got to be in the sun for about 30 seconds as I walked from the cab to the hotel and back again a few days later, but what a glorious 30 seconds it was.)

For those of you unable to attend the annual conference this year, we at CMEpalooza are here to help. While your colleagues are holed up in their offices for the next few days, preoccupied with trying to dig themselves out from under the mountain of email that has accumulated during their extended absence, why not take the day to create your own personal annual conference?

We’ve recently updated the CMEpalooza Archive page to include all of the sessions from CMEpalooza Fall 2017 and there are now over 75 different (free) educational sessions for you to choose from. You can easily put together a whole week’s worth of faux-annual conference days if you want to (Don’t do that. You have better things to do with your time. Like baking a cake in the shape of Alf for your son’s birthday party. Just take a couple hours.)

To help get you started, I’ve taken the liberty of attempting to re-create a typical day at the Alliance conference, but using archived CMEpalooza sessions for the agenda. These are just suggested sessions; feel free to substitute in any of the other sessions and choose your own annual conference adventure.

The night before: Drink a few too many adult beverages and stay up a minimum of two hours past your usual bedtime. This is a critical step in preparing for the next day’s learning experience. Also, set out your running clothes so you are ready for an early morning run before the conference starts.

6:30 a.m.: Turn off your alarm and go back to sleep. Curse yourself for drinking too much and/or going to bed too late. Scowl at the waiting running clothes mocking you from their place on the shelf.

Breakfast: Get out of bed and go eat breakfast. Remind yourself of the promise you made to eat healthier this year. Proceed to skip over the fruit and yogurt and and devour five mini-muffins and a couple strips of bacon. Throw the bran muffin in the trash. What’s bran anyway?

9:00 a.m. Keynote: Chatting With Graham McMahon
Who better to kickoff our annual conference than the President and CEO of the ACCME?

10:00 a.m. Keynote Discussion: Hop on the Twitters and share your thoughts on the keynote address using the #CMEpalooza hashtag. Send an email to one of your colleagues or to Scott with your key takeaways and ask for their opinion.

Break: Grab an overbrewed coffee and tell anyone around (including your pets) that you are going to your room to check email. Turn on the TV and watch SportsCenter instead.

11:00 a.m. Plenary Session: Two Scoops of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Please!
CME activities have become too vanilla. Redundancy abounds and it has become more and more difficult to differentiate one program from another. What does it take to be truly innovative? What are groups doing to separate themselves from the masses? This panel of commercial supporters will discuss what they look for in a grant proposal, the elements that make an activity stand out from the crowd, and provide examples of innovation in education that they have funded recently. Learn how to turn your vanilla program into two scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough!

Lunch: To really recreate the conference experience, go gaze in your refrigerator at the free food available to you. Decide you don’t like any of the options provided because they either don’t appeal to you or aren’t healthy enough. Go out to eat at the closest restaurant to you with the intention of ordering a salad and glass of water. Order a hamburger and fries instead. For the sake of authenticity, pay the confused waitress $45 for the food.

1:30 p.m. Plenary Session: Casual Conversations in CME
There are lots of interesting people working in continuing medical education, but when they are asked to speak or present, it’s often on a pre-assigned topic with a somewhat rigid agenda. Not this time. In this unique session, we’ve paired together 3 teams of individuals from a variety of backgrounds and given them 15 minutes of carte blanche time to decide what they want to talk to each other about. You might hear about their career paths, you might hear about something they are both professionally passionate about, or you might even hear about their mutual love of iguanas. You’ll have to tune in to find out.

Break: Click over to the Exhibit Hall and browse around the sponsors who have signed up for CMEpalooza Spring 2017, so far. In order to replicate the true exhibit hall experience, invite a family member/colleague/neighbor/pet to come into the room and then avoid making eye-contact with them while you read more about the sponsors. After you’re done, tell them you need to check email, but go on Facebook instead and update your status (“OMG I am at the BEST conf EVERRRRRRR!!! lol YOLO, amirite???”)

3:30 p.m. Plenary Session: A Dissection of Feasible Interpretive Tangents From a Discrete Comparative Assessment in CME (aka: What Does My Outcomes Data Mean?)
What if your super power was the ability to command unlimited attention? How would you use it? Maybe negotiate world peace between the leaders of all nations? Not bad. Me? Oh…I’d use it to explain all possible interpretations of pre/post data for a case vignette question. And, yes, I’d wear a super suit. Here’s some of what I’d address:

  1. Who does my data represent?
  2. What qualifies a case vignette?
  3. When do I need effect size?
  4. Where is reliability and validity a concern?
  5. Why are my post-activity scores low?
  6. How do you interpret p-value?

Reception: Invite a bunch of people over to your house for drinks and light hors d’oeuvres. As they come in the door, ask each person for I.D. in order to verify it is the person you invited. Give them each two tickets they can redeem for drinks and glare at them if they ask for another. Make sure you have a giant cheese ball, because a reception just isn’t a reception without a cheese ball. Walk around for 10 minutes, pretend to get an urgent phone call, and stride quickly out the door with the phone to your ear. Leave. Hopefully, when you come back home in 4 hours, everyone will either have left or passed out in the loo.

Fin.

*****

PSA: Judging from the fever, coughing, sore throat, and runny nose that started as soon as I returned home from the Alliance conference, I believe that I have contracted the plague*. If you are reading this and were within breathing distance of me at any point during the conference, you may want to consider contacting the CDC and request that they…I don’t know…quarantine you or put you out of your misery or something. Yet another example of why virtual conferences are so great — no one can breathe on you.

*My wife assures me it is not the plague and probably just a cold, but does she have a medical degree? Noooo!

 

Top 5 Reasons You Should Submit a Proposal for CMEpalooza Spring

In case you have been living under a rock for the past week (What a weird saying. It’s not even physically possible to live under a rock. Couldn’t it at least be something remotely feasible, like say…living in a tree? I like that better. Let’s go with that.)

In case you have been living in a tree for the past week, you might not be aware that we are currently accepting proposals for CMEpalooza Spring. If you missed it, you can read all about it here. We are really hoping to get a lot of proposals to choose from, so I’ve come up with a Top 5 list of reasons that you (YOU!) should submit a proposal to CMEpalooza Spring.

Here we go:

5) Why not? Look, I didn’t say these were good reasons for submitting a proposal. Just…reasons. But it’s true — why not submit? Maybe you had an amazing proposal you submitted for a presentation at the upcoming Alliance conference, but it was rejected. Maybe you will go to the Alliance conference and come home with a great idea for a presentation that just can’t wait for next year. Maybe you’re at the Alliance conference reading this right now because the session you’re in sounded really interesting from the description but then the speaker started reading his notes in a droning monotone voice like Ferris Bueller’s teacher (played, of course, by the legendary Ben Stein) and the subject is not quite what you thought it would be and you are really bored but still in a post-lunch fog and feeling too lazy to get up and move to a different session. If that’s you (or even if it’s not), head on over to our proposal submission form and submit away!

4) This is your chance to do something different. We don’t just accept submission ideas that are different, we encourage them. We like different. And by different, I also mean weird. Odd. Strange. Unusual. We’ve had people wear wigs. We’ve had people do Yoda impressions. We’ve had a speaker blow-up. We love it all. If you have an idea for a session that you have never submitted anywhere because you think it’s too wacko to ever get accepted — submit it to us. If your dream is to create a hip hop musical based on the ACCME’s Standards for Commercial Support and you’re worried that Lin-Manual Miranda might steal another one of your ideas, may I humbly suggest you submit it to us for your premiere? Trust me on this one — you will never have a review committee as accepting of your oddball ideas as you will with Scott and I.

3) It’s easy. Presenting at CMEpalooza is a 3-step process:

Step 1: We email you a link
Step 2: You click on the link and enter YouTube Live
Step 3: You do your presentation

OK, fine, I may have glossed over a few minor steps, but it really is easy. One of the most common comments presenters make when they do CMEpalooza for the first time is just how simple a process it is. You don’t need to travel anywhere or have any special equipment beyond a laptop with a webcam (almost all of them have one built-in these days).

I should also mention that, for those of you who have a little bit of stage fright or feel uncomfortable in front of a crowd, CMEpalooza is a perfect venue for you. The only people you will see during your presentation are your co-presenters (if you have co-presenters) and either Scott or me (see #2 below). No sea of faces staring back at you. No worrying about making eye contact with the person in the last row. You won’t even know how many people are watching (I’ll know, but I’ll lie to you if it makes you feel better.) Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezee.

2) You get to meet me and Scott. I mean, how great is that, huh? Two charming and good-looking dudes like us, who wouldn’t want to meet us? Am I right? Ladies? Fellas? Anyone? Is this thing on? [tap tap]

Maybe making this #2 was a tad too high. Let’s move on.

1) Because we’re running out of ideas on our own. Seriously, we need some help. This will be our [counts on fingers] ninth palooza and it’s hard coming up with fresh ideas and topics. It’s easy for us to fall back on repeating the tried and true and what has worked well in the past, but we also want to stay innovative and try new things (Speaking of trying new things, this weekend my family went to a new Georgian [the country, not the state] restaurant in northeast Philadelphia and oh my lord was it delicious. The khachapuri — which is bread filled with gooey melted cheese — was…[kisses fingertips]. But I digress…) You are much smarter than Scott or I. I’m sure you have tons of great ideas. Just take one of them, turn it into a proposal, and submit it here.

REMINDER: PROPOSALS ARE DUE BY THE END OF THE DAY ON FEBRUARY 2

Submit your proposal here

CMEpalooza 2018: Sponsorships for Money, Education for Free

As even casual fans of the CMEpalooza blog know, Derek and I are big fans of ‘80s nostalgia.

If you need someone to tell you the name of the actor who starred alongside Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science, Derek’s your guy (it’s Ilan Mitchell Smith). If you can’t remember the name of the 49ers receiver who started that team’s ‘80s dynasty with The Catch, I can help (it was Dwight Clark). And if you keep scratching your head trying to figure out just how many licks it takes to get the center of that Tootsie Roll Pop, well, that we can’t help you with (Derek has gotten to 4, so at least he beat that wise owl).

Yet as much as we love remembering the decade of our formative childhood, what we enjoy even more is coming up with new ways to make CMEpalooza valuable to our audience and our sponsors. In response to feedback from our audience, we’ll be making a few tweaks to the way we develop and present our Spring and Fall events in 2018 – you may have seen our recent post announcing that CMEpalooza Spring is being split into 2, half-day broadcasts instead of the previous full-day marathon – that we hope will help us continue to grow.

Our growth, of course, translates into improved visibility for our sponsors. In the 4 years since CMEpalooza began, more than 50 organizations have wisely chosen to align themselves with us and support all of the top-notch education that we provide the CME community.

CMEpalooza sponsorships start at the low, low price of $600. As usual, there are a few new things we’re offering our sponsors this year (gotta love the free add-ons). You can check out everything we have thought up in our Sponsor Prospectus – and we’re open to other creative suggestions (we say that every year, but you can still be the first ever to take us up on it).

We make the sponsorship process as easy as possible. You send us an email saying, “CMEpalooza is the best thing since New Coke. Of course we want to be a sponsor,” we collect some basic information from you, and PRESTO! up you go on the CMEpalooza Sponsor page. You get in on all of our promotions and special events, and as much exposure as we can possibly offer.

If you want some hard numbers on our events, you check out the CMEpalooza “By the Numbers” page within this prospectus. We crunch data throughout the year and have pulled out some of the most impressive numbers here, but we can give you whatever else you may need. Just ask.

Still not sure? Maybe a few testimonials will convince you. Such as these, for instance, courtesy of the Way Back Machine:

  • (Speaking really fast) “CMEpalooza is doing it again. Yes that’s right, doing it again with the lowest sponsorship prices under the sun. We’ve got bronze sponsorships, silver sponsorships, and, whoa, whoa, whoa, even 2 gold sponsorships ripe for the pickings. But don’t take your time and dawdle because the lines are already forming at our doors right now. I’m Crazy Derek, and if you don’t sign up for a CMEpalooza sponsorship tooo-day, you must be INSANE…”
  • (Speaking really slowly, perhaps from a porch swing) “Hello. There are many ways to calculate the value of a CMEpalooza sponsorship. Mabel from Decatur, Georgia says that she has decorated the walls of her kitchen with the hundreds of ways she has thought up. We’d suggest just one – driving attention and traffic to the great work your company does. We hope you take this suggestion to heart… and thank you for your support.”
  • (With a banging drum in the background) “For years, you’ve heard other CME-focused meetings claim that spending money on an exhibit booth or exclusive sponsorship at their event is the best investment any company involved in our industry can make, so you may have assumed that their sponsorship has more value than a sponsorship of CMEpalooza. Fact is, CMEpalooza wasn’t even included in their analysis. And we won’t be included next year either. Why? Because they know they can’t match our reach, our value, and our wit. CMEpalooza… it keeps growing and growing and growing…”

Maybe you have another question or concern we haven’t thought of. Just email us (that’s thecmeguy@gmail.com for Derek and scott@medcasewriter.com for me) – we promise we’ll respond to you quickly, like within 10 minutes or so (note from Derek: I’m gonna be 100% honest with you…if you email me, I probably won’t respond within 10 minutes. As hard as this may be to believe, I do have other things that I do during the day besides sit around waiting for CMEpalooza email. Quite a few things, actually. I do promise to respond to you as soon as I can, though.)

Derek and I will both be down in Orlando at the ACEHP meeting later this month, too, in case you want to chat, even if it has nothing to do with CMEpalooza sponsorship. For instance, you can ask Derek about the time he asked Tina Yothers to marry him. Or the time he plastered a Tiffany poster to his bedroom door. Or the time he begged his parents for weeks to let him take breakdancing lessons. Or something else just as embarrassing – be creative!

We’ll leave the light on for you.

Submit a Proposal Now for CMEpalooza Spring

Oh the weather outside is frightful
Might as well write a proposal
For the palooza of CME
An RFP! An RFP! An RFP!

That was…truly awful.

Honestly, I only write these ridiculous things because I make Scott review all my blog posts before I post them and it makes me laugh just thinking about him rolling his eyes and muttering expletives under his breath as he’s reading what I’ve written. Good times! (Note from Scott: Pretty accurate assessment)

On to more important matters.

When the January weather turns harsh, our minds turn to thoughts of spring, which reminds us of CMEpalooza Spring, which reminds us that we need an agenda, which makes us smack ourselves in the forehead and wonder why we didn’t start thinking about this sooner (I kid, I kid. Scott and I actually had an official planning meeting about CMEpalooza Spring months ago [cough cough… December]. I even brought along a notebook. Did I fail to take any notes and then forget everything we talked about? Maybe.)

As always, our goal with the CMEpalooza Spring agenda is to have the CME/CE community intimately involved in its development. This year, we are releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for anyone to submit an idea for a CMEpalooza Spring session. This perhaps sounds more impressive than it actually is since the RFP being “released” is just this blog post, but work with me here.

We are going to try to keep the process pretty simple. If you have an idea for a session that you would like to lead at CMEpalooza Spring (don’t forget the change to a 2-day agenda, April 25-26), just complete the RFP submission form below by the end of the day on Friday, February 2. After February 2, Scott and I will review all of the proposals that we have received and select six for the agenda. We may ask a few others to help us decide, or we may simply wield our extensive power and make the choices on our own. Not sure yet.

Here are a few guidelines:

  1. This is an online conference and all sessions are done via YouTube Live (Google Hangout). All presenters must have a computer, access to a decent internet connection, and a webcam. Most laptops produced after 2010 have one built in.
  2. Proposals will only be considered if they are submitted via the RFP submission form below.
  3. The deadline for proposals to be submitted is by the end of day on Friday, February 2.
  4. We are open to pretty much any idea as long as it’s possible for us to do via YouTube Live and it relates in some way to CME/CE.
  5. Interactive formats with multiple presenters, such as panel sessions and interviews, are encouraged. Single-person PowerPoint lectures are discouraged, unless you can convince us that it’s going to be really, really good.
  6. Please verify the availability of all presenters for the dates of CMEpalooza (April 25 and/or 26) before submitting their name in your proposal. If you don’t, we won’t be happy. Scott will probably scowl at you when you email us to tell us one of your speakers is not available. You don’t want that. Trust me.
  7. There are six categories we are looking to fill for a well-rounded agenda. They are: Outcomes, Educational Design, Technological Innovations, Commercial Support, Accreditation, and CME Potpourri (anything that doesn’t fit in the other five categories). Your proposal should align with one of these categories. Ideally, we will select one proposal for each category, but we might decide to choose multiple proposals for one category based on what we receive. It’s our conference and we can do what we want.
  8. We don’t want to limit creativity, so there isn’t a limit on the number of proposals you can submit, but use common sense and be reasonable. We will likely only choose one proposal for which you are listed as the lead contact, so don’t submit ten proposals or something crazy like that.
  9. We will try to notify you within a week of the deadline if your proposal has been accepted or not.
  10. If you have any questions, feel free to email Derek (thecmeguy@gmail.com) or Scott (scott@medcasewriter.com) or find us at the Alliance conference in a couple weeks

I think that about covers it. I especially want to encourage people who have never presented at CMEpalooza to submit a proposal. We are always happy to have new presenters participate and now is as good a time as any. The RFP submission form is below. Have fun!

Ch..ch..changes

A few weeks ago, Derek posted a short poll based upon a conversation our team had during its Winter Retreat in Aruba. The poll essentially involved one key question – “Should we split CMEpalooza in half?” Essentially, do we mess with our usual formula of a full-day event to better serve our audience?

Knowing how much people generally like change (sarcastic rolling of the eyes), I predicted that “Keep CMEpalooza the way it is” would be a runaway winner.

Boy was I wrong. Overwhelmingly (like, 90%+ overwhelmingly), our audience expressed a preference for 2 half-day Paloozas. Some people even suggested separating half-day broadcasts a week or a month apart. One person even asked us to have a single, 1-hour broadcast each month. Logistically, those kinds of extreme ideas would have been too taxing for our crew to pull off, but nonetheless, we are prepared to listen to our audience and make adjustments.

And so, for the first time since the inaugural CMEpalooza in the spring of 2015, we’ll be offering a CMEpalooza as a two-day event this spring. It will be on Wednesday, April 25 and Thursday, April 26. We’re still working out some of the details (do we do the same times each day or do we make some modifications so that we may better fit everyone’s schedule?), but once we get everything hammered down, we’ll let you know. If it goes well this spring, we’ll consider keeping the format for the fall and beyond.

In the meantime, be prepared to hear about a lot of the other new features we’ll be adding to CMEpalooza this year  in the coming weeks. The blog will be pretty active for a little while as we start rolling out some of our new stuff. It’s all good, I promise.

Oh, and Happy New Year.

Which Is the Better Palooza: One Full-Day or Two Half-Days?

We had a major CMEpalooza planning session last week with the entire CMEpalooza staff. It was really quite the event; we flew everyone down to a private resort in Aruba for the weekend, set-up one of those giant tents on the beach, and made everyone brainstorm new ideas for 12 hours straight until letting them out to play in the water. Then we capped it all off by convincing the remaining members of Led Zeppelin to finally reunite for one last concert to close out the weekend (things got a little out of control when Scott stormed the stage and demanded they play Smoke on the Water. He calmed down a bit after I reminded him that that was a Deep Purple song, but by then Robert Plant had already slammed down his bottle of Evian and stalked indignantly offstage, bringing the concert to an abrupt end. At least they played Kashmir.)

One of the ideas that we bandied about was the possibility of transitioning each CMEpalooza from a full-day event to half-day events (held on consecutive days). The reason for this is that audience participation/attendance for CMEpalooza always falls off after lunch. Every single time. We could have a 10 a.m. session called, “Watch Derek Brush His Teeth” and a 3 p.m. session called, “Watch Scott Play Quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles” and my toothbrush would undoubtedly become quite famous.

Why do we have this drop-off? It’s hard to say for sure. Maybe people are busy and have work to do (it’s possible.) Maybe people are worn out from all the amazing learning and their brains are tired (doubtful.) Maybe people can only handle staring at Scott’s and my face on their screens for a maximum of four hours a day (that’s the one!)

Whatever the reason, we thought that maybe people would get even more out of CMEpalooza if we broke it up a little more. Let’s say 3-4 hours of sessions one morning, finish up by 1 pm ET, and then 3-4 hours of sessions the next morning. Is that better?

No, I’m really asking — is that better? Let’s do a quick poll. Let us know which format you prefer.

If you have strong feeling one way or the other that extend beyond just selecting one of the poll choices, feel free to share them in the comments below. Thanks for your help!