Monday at ASAE

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I'm too tired to write much tonight, sitting in the hallway outside my room because the WiFi still isn't working in my room (aside: I was checking e-mail in the hallway outside my room earlier tonight, and when I tried to get back into my room, the key card no longer worked. So I went to the elevator to get it re-magnetized, but the elevator wasn't working. So I lugged my laptop with me down six flights, got the key card fixed, lugged it back up six flights, barefoot because I hadn't been planning on going more than six inches from the door to my room. I really, really wished I hadn't gone with an economy hotel about then).

Anyway, a few short shots on today's meeting:

General session speaker Charlene Li: A lot of people seemed to get a lot out of her talk, but I didn't hear much I hadn't heard before. Specifically, her main message was that you shouldn't be intimidated by social media, just jump in. Here's how:

1. Focus on relationships, not the technologies (which likely will be changing rapidly anyway).

2. Start small. Listen to what people are saying, and learn from what they say.

3. Prepare to let go of control, because you're not in control anymore anyway, so basically, get used to the idea.

She had some good examples, like how the Red Cross uses blogs, YouTube, and Facebook to put out alerts when something is about to happen and its people need to mobilize to help. Then its responders take over, continue to spread the message, which is what she called the "groundswell."

Her best quote: "May the groundswell be with you." (Scott at Acronym has a fuller writeup here.)

I went to another session called "The Changing Face of Healthcare," which was all-around excellent. An SRO crowd got really interactive in the town hall format, in some cases taking over from the panel. This one deserves its own post, and will get it when I'm not so wiped out.

Despite my best intentions, the rest of the day was taken up with a press conference and a bunch of interviews (my, what interesting people are here!). Not much from the press conference that hasn't already been covered in the general session comments from John Graham, other than attendance is exceeding expectations, though not beating what they got in San Diego last year. All agree that Toronto rocks (including me)!

Some great stuff came out in the interviews with various hotel and CVB folks, which again deserve their own posts. I did learn a new acronym: PMEBs, or professional managers, executives, and business people, which I took to be kind of an opposite-of-SMERF contingent.

Generally speaking, I heard a lot of cautious optimism for the near future, particularly 2010, and at least a couple of people I talked with thought we were done for good with the gotchas that seem to go along with the pendulum swings between buyer's and seller's markets (i.e., each side is finally going to stop gouging the other when the market swings in their favor). That'd be nice. I'm reserving judgment, though.

Signing off for the evening,

your tired friend, Sue

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