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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

More (well not quite really) Live Blogging - ASTD 2014

Preface:  This is published posting number 1501 of  Know what?  It's as much fun writing it now as it was when I wrote posting number 1.  Heck, it may even be more fun.  It's times like this when I usually say something like "I just do this for me, etc.", but I am going to make a one time confession (pay attention, as this might not ever happen again):  I really, truly and thoroughly enjoy the fact that a few people read this stuff and are amused, disgusted, or moved in some other way.  The fact that I can write something that maybe makes someone momentarily happy or which invokes a thought or two is a nice feeling.  Yes, I would be writing this if no one was reading, but the fact that a few people are makes it all the better.

Thank You!

Now back to the blogging...

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7:45am - The day two keynote speaker is retired General Stan McChrystal, and I am in the ginormous hall waiting for the show to begin.  This time I was smart in that I am sitting in the front row of a rear section, which affords me magical amounts of leg room.  This is important, as I am newly old. In other news, yesterday evening was productive, in that I finally got around to updating what I laughingly call a resume.   Not that I am planning on going anywhere career wise, but I do have need for said document and, as someone working in HR, I can say with authority that everyone should have an updated resume.  The updates were completed,  but I do want to check it for typos and assorted other stupid mistakes before calling it a done deal.  As in most things, the devil is in the details.

9:36am - Keynote speech done, and now I am in the room for the next session, which deals with generational differences and learning.  Ironic in a way, in that here I am (an old guy) using a new-ish media (blogging) to write about generational differences.  Now the really cool thing to do would be to Tweet about this, but alas, my Twitter protest will be continuing, indefinitely.  Simply put, I will not be a part of the dumbification of America by reducing everything I write to 120 characters.  And so I digress.  Back to the keynote speech, and retired General McChrystal gave a good talk.  I suspect though that the references to war, killing enemies and military culture were somewhat lost on many in the audience.  It's sad in a way:  Arinanna Huffington got rock-star treatment for talking about the need to take care of yourself, but Stan McChrystal received just a warm response for his talk about the need for empowerment.  Welcome to America in 2014, where the far easier sell is about "you" as opposed to (empowering) "others".  I at least hope that the good general has a decent line for his book signing; if he is still there at 11:30, after this next session, I will stop by and pick up a copy myself.

Noon - The program on generational differences in learning has come and gone, without much in the revelation department.  This is okay though, as sometimes in life revelations should come second to reminders.  The discussion did give me an idea of something to take back to the office, so the time actually was well-spent.  In addition, you can call me a training nerd, but I do enjoy watching a good presenter in action.  I've seen a few of them over the past day and a half, and I am sure there are things I can borrow/steal for my own act.  As for now, I am presently sitting the mock food court of the convention center, just having consumed what was arguably frozen pizza disguised as fresh pizza.  If, however, that's the worst thing that happens to me today well then I will be having a great day.  

3:15pm - Well I actually checked out the expo part of the conference.  That's the hall where all the vendors can be found, selling their assorted wares.  Actually I was more in it for the walk, as I am not really buying anything.  It was nice though seeing a vendor and thinking "Hey, we do business with them".  From there it was to yet another Dr David Rock session, this time on Performance Management.  I found this session to be better than yesterdays, if for no other reason than the fact that the subject matter was far more practical.  I also had the random pleasure of sitting next to Patricia A. McLagan, an author and consultant.  I learned as much sitting next to Pat as I did listening to Dr Rock.  So grateful was I that I even went over to the ASTD bookstore and purchased her book "The Shadow Side of Power".  I give a lot of credit to anyone who has managed to live in both Minnesota (freeze) and South Africa (bake).  She also seems like a genuinely nice human being; I will be adding her blog to my blogroll one of these days.  Now I am in the process of not engaging in the ice cream social.  Why?  Well trust me, I don't need ice cream.  What's more, I like having a quiet break from the roar of large, filled with humans rooms. 

5:15pm - Done for the day, at least conference wise, and am now getting ready to get something to eat.  Ahmed (my server) assures me that my chili and my burger will not have any cheese on them, so dinner should be good.  The final session of the day for me was on the subject of learning measurement and I have to say it was informative.  One of the speakers was from Yum! Brands, which meant a plug for the Taco Bell breakfast taco (which illicited groans from the audience) and dig against McDonalds (aka "The Arches", which all seemed to enjoy).  At this stage it's time to move out of professional mode and crawl back into my introvert hole. 

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Post Script:  It was a long day, but I can say that I learned a few things.  I also have more than enough ideas percolating in my head to last several years.  It's a good feeling.

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