Top 5 Reasons You Should Watch CMEpalooza Fall

5. You don’t need to travel anywhere to watch. Unless you are the type of person who loves waking up early, fighting traffic to the airport, parking, waiting in the security line, taking off your belt and shoes, putting your belt and shoes back on, sitting in an uncomfortable seat while trying to get work done using the airport’s spotty Wifi, buying an overpriced coffee at the airport coffee shop, shouldering through the crowd of people gathered around the entrance gate even though their zone hasn’t been called yet, sitting in an uncomfortable seat while trying to get work done using the airplane’s spotty Wifi, bonking your head on the airplane ceiling when you stand up to de-plane (that might just be me), waiting for a taxi/Uber/Lyft to take you to your hotel, checking in at the hotel, registering at the conference, and finally sitting down at a round table with ice water and those weird fruity candies — not needing to travel is a nice perk.

4. It’s a good excuse to binge-watch Season 7 of Game of Thrones. This goes along with reason #5 — if you don’t need to travel anywhere, then you can tell your boss you are going to stay at home to watch CMEpalooza Fall and not have to deal with constant distractions, like Larry from accounting always stopping by your office to tell you about his Fantasy Football team (nobody cares, Larry!) And while I would never encourage anyone to do this, since all of the CMEpalooza Fall sessions are recorded and immediately archived, you theoretically could spend the day watching all of season 7 of Game of Thrones in order to catch up before season 8 begins, and then watch the archived versions of the palooza sessions later on. I’m not saying you should do this, just that you could do this. If you wanted to. (Side note: my wife would like to recommend everyone binge-watch Outlander instead, which she claims is just as good as Game of Thrones. My counter to this is: does Outlander have dragons? No. Does it have zombies? No. Does it have zombie dragons? No. Then it’s not as good as Game of Thrones. Point for me.)

3. Scott might do something nuts. Tap dance routine? Tuvan throat singing? New tattoo reveal? You never know with that guy. Tune in to find out!

2. Have you seen the agenda? Seriously, have you? It’s quite good.

1. It’s free. Always has been and always will be. I mean, if you want to pay us a registration fee just out of habit, that’s fine, we’ll take it. I’m not actually sure how we would do that, but we could figure it out. Maybe bitcoin or something? On second thought, forget it. Please don’t pay us a registration fee even if you want to. It will just lead to more emails back and forth between Scott and me arguing about how to set up a Venmo account on the website and I’ll end up saying something about trusting the process and Scott will throw out a reference to some obscure 80’s sitcom I’ve never heard of and we already spend way too much time doing this and don’t need an excuse to do it more. So, back to my original point: CMEpalooza is free!

What Can You Learn From CMEpalooza?

Earlier this summer, I was invited to give a presentation via webinar to the Colorado Alliance for CME (CACME) entitled, “The CMEpalooza Experience: What Can CME Providers Learn From It?” For now, we’ll ignore the fact that at least 15 people likely turned down an invitation before the meeting planners were forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel and invite me (I’m not offended). Instead, we’ll choose to focus on the presentation itself.

I must admit that when they chose this topic from a list of possible ones I sent to them, it was somewhat daunting. It’s just not something I had ever thought about. CMEpalooza is just something that Derek and I do – we don’t spend hours thinking about how we do it or why we do it, and that’s probably a good thing. Neither of us has enough brain cells to waste on that sort of advanced level thinking, and we’d probably just gum up the works even more than we usually do anyway.

But since I didn’t want to disappoint what were surely hundreds of rabid CME/CE professionals (I couldn’t see them so let’s just pretend there were more than 5 people in the audience), I spent a few hours trying to come up with something worthwhile. And, well, since I spent a few hours coming up with something for those hundreds of folks, I thought I’d share some of the highlights with the thousands of you reading this today. It’s called “repurposing content.”

So without further ado, here are the lessons you can learn from CMEpalooza and apply to your day-to-day:

  1. Throw things against the wall. Most won’t stick. But some of them will!
    CMEpalooza as a whole is one of those things that Derek threw against the wall that stuck. Things like CMEpalooza Spotlight didn’t. It happens. Take chances with your CME programming – there is nothing that makes our job duller than trotting out the same formats over and over. Some of my most rewarding successes – and yes, abysmal failures – have been in trying something different.
  2. Utilize online platforms to the best of their capabilities
    There are a lot of online delivery platforms with fancy bells and whistles available to us these days. It’s important to understand what each one offers and tailor your activity based on the capabilities of each individual platform. For instance, we use Google Hangouts for our CMEpalooza broadcasts – it’s a video-based platform where you can bring multiple people together in the same “room” to talk through things. Showing slides can be a bit clunky. Therefore, we emphasize panel discussions in lieu of heavy slide decks. That’s a very basic example, but I’m hoping get what I mean.
  3. Partner with the right people
    There is nothing worse than being stuck on a project for months with people who you don’t like, who don’t pull their weight, or offer excuses when things don’t get done on time. Sometimes, you are stuck working with people due to circumstances you cannot control, but there are times when you enter into a partnership willingly that quickly goes south for various reasons. Just be careful. As much as I poke fun at Derek through our blog, he’s actually pretty good to work with once you get past his Philadelphia 76ers fanboi qualities and his strange infatuation with Justine Bateman. Just don’t tell him I told you that (note from Derek: Wait a minute…did Scott just say something nice about me?? Wow! I will be writing about this in my diary tonight…).
  4. Develop a consistent marketing strategy
    This is one I’ll chalk up to pure luck. I certainly don’t ever remember sitting down with Derek and saying, “I think we should try to market CMEpalooza as a fun, come-as-you-are kind of meeting that covers serious topics without taking ourselves too seriously.” It just kind of happened that way, probably in part due to our personalities. But hey, it works for us, and we’ve just kind of gone along with it. Listen, marketing CME activities is difficult. VERY difficult. You are trying to reach an audience that probably considers a lot of what we offer to be ambient noise that they’d rather ignore. Nonetheless, there are many CME providers who have created a unique “personality” that they use to drive their marketing. I think it’s a good strategy.
  5. Build your professional network in a way that makes you comfortable
    Derek and I aren’t the most socially outgoing people in the world, and it’s probably gotten worse for both of us since we started working from home. We’re not to the point where we need to talk to a volleyball to keep us company (at least I’m not [Derek: no comment]), but we’re also not the people who are going to walk into a room and suddenly grab everyone’s attention. For me at least, CMEpalooza is the way I meet a lot of people in our industry. It’s partially why we include so many new faces in each iteration of our event – not only do we get to present different viewpoints to our audience, but it also broadens our personal professional network. Building relationships outside of your day-to-day walls is crucial to a rewarding career. There is no downside to getting to know good people who may become educational partners in the future (see item #3). Figure out a way to get to know them can be tricky and will depend upon your personality, but it’s not something you should ignore.
  6. Don’t take yourself too seriously – it’s just a job people
    Q: Why can’t your nose be 12 inches long?
    A: Because then it would be a foot


Do You Know Who Won the Super Bowl?

This past weekend, I spent my Saturday morning watering the plants in the backyard and listening to podcasts.

(A brief digression, if I may. When I think of great opening lines in literature, some of the first that come to mind are from Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities [“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”], Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow [“A screaming comes across the sky.”], and King’s The Gunslinger [“The man in Black fled across the Desert, and the Gunslinger followed.”] Unlikely to be included in that group in the future is “This past weekend, I spent my Saturday morning watering the plants in the backyard and listening to podcasts.” Maybe next time!) (Note from Scott: Someone needs to be reminded what the word “brief” means)

The host of the podcast was moaning about fans of the Philadelphia Eagles (who won the Super Bowl in February, in case you hadn’t heard) and their penchant for never missing an opportunity to remind you that they won the Super Bowl this year (touché). I admit to chuckling a bit over his laments and then mumbling to myself that the same can probably be said about fans of any team who have just won a championship of some sort. Then I went inside to make myself an iced coffee and noticed the following on the back of the bag of coffee beans:

For those who may not know, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in the Super Bowl. Also, Tom Brady dropped the football. Perhaps the podcast host was on to something.

Now you may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with CMEpalooza? Well, I will tell you, but first please watch this very important video clip.


Also, I updated the CMEpalooza archive with all of the Spring 2018 sessions. We now have over 80 archived sessions, so head on over and take a look. And please share with anyone you think might would benefit from these FREE sessions.

Go Birds!

And Now… Our 2018 CMEpalooza Fall Agenda

It is just me, or did this summer just drag on and on and on? Enough with the 16 hours of sunlight, not having to check the weather forecast every morning before getting dressed, daily visits from the ice cream truck, and many (many) glasses of wine on the roof deck.

As Punky Brewster would say, “Holy macanoli, who needs it!”

Surely, there are more important things around the bend as the air gets crisper, the days get shorter, and school buses belch black smoke throughout the neighborhood. I’m talking the start of the NFL season (our World Champion Philadelphia Eagles kick off the season next Thursday night), fighting with the kids to see how long they can delay starting their homework, and leaf piles in the backyard.

But most importantly of all, we’ve got CMEpalooza Fall lurking jjjuussttt around the bend (Wednesday, October 17 from 9 am-5 pm ET, but you already knew that).

After a few brief teasers from Derek these past few weeks, we’re finally ready to show off our Fall agenda. You can check it out by clicking this link. It’s not 100% locked in final final, but it’s pretty close, and we’ve been dilly dallying with it enough, so voila…

As usual, you’ll see a variety of sessions that will hopefully apply to the wide cross section of settings and responsibilities of CME professionals. You’ll be able to learn about MACRA, the mysterious RFP process, vexing accreditation questions, and many other topics. My personal favorite session title is called “What I Hate About You,” which could very well have been the title of the tell-all biography written by Derek’s 11th grade girlfriend (coming soon to a bookstore – wait, do they still have bookstores? – near you). Alas, it’s merely a way for providers and supporters to get a few things off their chest in a collegial sort of way. (Note from Derek: my personal favorite session title is the one I almost called the RFP session — Do You Even RFP, Bro? I changed it at the last minute because I figured I would probably be the only one who thought it was funny. That seems to happen a lot…)

Sessions will, of course, be FREE for anyone to view either live or in our archives. So take a look at the agenda when you have a chance, pull a few Rainbow Brite puffy stickers from your 3rd grade sticker book to highlight those sessions you are most interested in, and stay tuned to the blog for many more witty posts in the coming weeks.



We Need to Have a Chat About CMEpalooza — Part II

Hey gang! Derek here. I wanted to have a little chat with all of you about CMEpalooza (Again. I originally posted this in 2017, but some people never learn). Not the actual Fall event, mind you. Until we have the agenda totally set (we’re almost there), we don’t have much more to tell you about it. No, I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend lately, and I wanted to bring it to a quick end. I’m here to talk to you about the word “CMEpalooza.”

Here’s the thing — it’s”CMEpalooza.” It’s not “CMEPalooza” or “CMEPALOOZA” or…(ugh)…”CME palooza.” It’s one word with the first three letters capitalized. It’s a mash up of “CME” and “palooza.” It’s a palooza of CME. It’s CMEpalooza.

In one of the first emails Scott sent me when we first started working on CMEpalooza together, he referred to it as “CMEPalooza.” I responded to him with a threat of fisticuffs if he ever spelled it that way again. It’s one of the few arguments I’ve ever won with him. To be fair, most of our arguments rarely extend beyond this exchange:

Me: Hey, should we try this?
Scott: No.
Me: Why not?
Scott: Because it’s dumb.
Me: Good point.

So, winning this argument was no great feat. Still, I even had “CMEpalooza” t-shirts made. See?


What I’m trying to-…wait a minute. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? That’s right — CMEPALOOZA T-SHIRT CANNON AT THE NEXT ALLIANCE CONFERENCE!!! I can see it now. The first day’s keynote speaker finishes up and we’re just about ready to break for the first round of plenary sessions, when all of a sudden a loud siren begins to sound, I run onto the stage with a massive t-shirt cannon while Scott grabs the microphone and yells out “WHOOOOOOOOO WANTS A T-SHIRT?!?” The crowd goes wild as  Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It”  blares overhead and I begin firing t-shirts left and right. Man, that would be great.


Where was I? Oh, right — just remember: If you’re writing it out, it’s “CMEpalooza.” All one word, no capital “P.” Now, does anyone know where I can rent a t-shirt cannon for cheap?

CMEpalooza…Soon We’ll Be Making Another Run

Yes, we are still having CMEpalooza Fall (October 17, if you don’t already have it written in red Sharpie on your calendar) and yes, we will have an agenda for it soon…ish. We’re working on it, I promise. I made this handy little infographic to help explain why it sometimes takes us a while to get moving. [Side note: Our friends at infograph-ed have little to fear from my infographic creation skills.]

CMEpalooza Fall 2018: Come aboard…we’re expecting you! (Note from Scott: I’m Isaac, Derek is Gopher [Note from Derek: this is an outrage! Clearly, I am Doc.])

A CMEpalooza Pilot Study

We’re always trying to add something new and fresh to the CMEpalooza experience, so as we prepare for Day 2 of CMEpalooza Spring, we’ll going to be piloting the Poll Everywhere audience response system during a handful of our sessions. Many of you have likely seen this app-powered technology in use in the live setting, and I really like it.

It’s a little tricky embedding Poll Everywhere into the Google Hangout platform, but our crack interns swear to me that it’s going to work (and if it doesn’t, sweet little Fiona Lamorello in cube 3D is fired. Fired, I tell you!)

So if you want to interact with some of today’s selected sessions, you will need to do one of two things before we crank up the CMEpalooza engine this morning:

  1. Download the Poll Everywhere app to your phone or tablet. When our sessions begin, you’ll just need to fire up the app and enter in “cmepalooza” as the Username for the presentation you want to join. The questions will pop up as they are being asked in the presentation.
  2. Don’t download the Poll Everywhere app and simply point your browser to Same thing – questions will pop up as they are being asked.

Either approach works equally well. You can do it people – be brave!

Where Do I Watch CMEpalooza Spring?

Where do I watch CMEpalooza Spring?
You watch it on the LIVE page.

Will people be able to hear me on the Hangout?
No. You are not on the Hangout. You are only watching a video feed of the Hangout. You can play the video of the Walmart kid yodeling at top volume and no one will hear you except your neighbors, who might call the police, who might interrupt you while watching CMEpalooza. So, don’t play the video of the Walmart kid yodeling at top volume while watching CMEpalooza.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring at the office?

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring at home?

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring in a conference room with 150 other people?
Please do.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring while at a Boston Celtics playoff game? 
Can you? Yes. May you? No.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring with Miss Piggy?
I don’t know. Let’s ask her.

I guess not.

Do I have to pre-register or register?

Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza Spring? I love paying registration fees.

No. You don’t have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza.

Do I have to take a survey afterward?
Well, you don’t have to, but it would be nice if you did. It’s only seven questions and shouldn’t take you more than 60 seconds. If it takes you more than 60 seconds, Scott will come to your house and re-enact this famous John Cusack scene from Say Anything while singing “In Your Eyes” at the top of his lungs.

Can I get a certificate for watching CMEpalooza Spring?
Actually, yes. Well, kind of. We’re not accredited or certified or anything like that, and we have no way of verifying whether you actually watched any of these sessions or not. But if you want a certificate of completion that you can use to self-report participation in CMEpalooza Spring 2018, here you go. I’ll also post it on the LIVE page tomorrow.

How do I ask questions to the presenters?
Good question. There are three ways you can ask questions:

  1. Send a text to the CMEpalooza text line at 267-666-0CME (0263)
  2. Tweet a question using the #CMEpalooza hashtag
  3. Click on the Google Slides link on the LIVE page and enter your question there

We always get to as many questions as we can throughout each presentation.

Do I have to watch all the sessions?
YES! No. Watch what interests you.

How many days is CMEpalooza?
It is two days. It was two days at the beginning, then it was one day for quite a while, and now it is two days again. Will it stay like this forever? Who knows. Maybe. Maybe not. We’ll see. As the great philosopher Ted “Theodore” Logan once said, “All we are is dust in the wind, dude.”

What if I’m busy during the day of the live broadcast?
All the sessions will be archived on the website, probably within 15 minutes of the conclusion of the session. How are we able to do it so fast? We have a new intern who is a real crackerjack on the interwebs. Here he is hard at work, writing our latest blog post.