FEB. 13:Recipe for Engagement As editors, we’ve often writ- ten (http://bit.ly/Convene- fishing) about the benefits of interactive experiences at meetings—of how a shared activity can strengthen rela- tionships more effectively than just bringing attendees together in a meeting room or around a conference table. Last week we experienced
it ourselves, when Convene’s editorial and sales teams met with members of PCMA’s executive, marketing, partner relations, and business inno- vation staffs for a planning retreat at Grove Isle Hotel& Spa in Miami. One sultry evening, Chef
Ehren Beers led us in an “Interactive Chef’s Chal- lenge”; Mona Simon, direc- tor of partner relations and advertising, divided us into four teams, mixingit up in terms of our daily job func- tions. Luckily for us, Beers made food preparation prac- tically foolproof: Ingredients for our three-course dinner were pre-chopped and pre- measured, and Beers coached us on methods. It wasn’t structured as a competition, but our group managed to make it into one, talkingfriendly trash about other teams’ techniques, as we tossed together a chicken and mango salad, sautéed fish, stirred lemon and pine nuts into quinoa, and flam-
6 pcma convene March 2012
JAN. 9: Postcard From San Diego—Convene was on site at PCMA 2012 Convening Leaders in January, overseeing the PCMA Daily newspaper and maintaining a strong, flo- rally accented presence in the PCMA Partner Lounge.
Sebastian Thrun is a very popular professor at Stanford—the class he taught with Peter Norvig on Artificial Intelligence (AI) routinely drew 200 students. But when Thrun offered the course online and, with one email, invited the world to enroll, that number jumped to 160,000 students. As Thrun heard back from the online students about
the impact the class was having on their lives, he decided that making education free and accessible could change the world. Thrun and two partners founded Udacity (www .udacity.com), which is planning to offer more courses, including a programming course with no prerequisites. What does all this have to do with the meetings indus-
try? Because Thrun is one of the world’s premier scien- tists, we can expect to see him thinking deeply about the content and delivery of online education. — Barbara Palmer
béed—or attempted to flambé—berries for dessert. The hands-on dinner
came at the end of a longday of strategy and discussion, as we filled page after flip-chart page of ideas. And it worked as advertised, switchingon our playful sides, and creat- ing a relaxing, if rowdy, atmosphere. The resort looks over
beautiful Biscayne Bay, and we moved from dinner to sit- tingaround one of the hotel’s well-appointed fire pits, over- lookingthe water, sipping wine, and talkinginto the night.
invented the phrase “eating your own dogfood” as a metaphor for usingyour own systems, and it’s an apt, if inelegant, description of what we were doing. And, with apologies to Chef Beers, our dog food tasted great. —Barbara Palmer