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    « Notes from #SHRM11 - Day 2 | Main | Notes from #SHRM11 - Day 0.5 »

    Notes from #SHRM11 - Day 1

    The second field report from the SHRM National Conference & Exposition sadly will offer no more insight than yesterday's Day 0.5 dispatch - but in the spirit of not allowing a lack of compelling content from grinding out the content, we continue unabated.

    So without further ado, here are Steve's Notes from #SHRM11 - Day 1.

    1. The Opening Part 1 - SHRM really loves talking about SHRM

    The first part of the event's opening address covered lots of SHRM housekeeping, including the formal announcement of the removal of the 'Interim' from SHRM's now CEO Hank Jackson's title. Hank gave a decent enough review of SHRM's opportunities and challenges going forward, strikes an impressive prescence and command on the stage, and generally seems to be the kind of guy that people want to follow and rally around. He talked mostly about SHRM stuff to SHRM people, and even though after about 15 minutes of the SHRMy-ness, it got a little stilted, I get the reasoning and the value.

    2. The Opening Part 2 - Packaging Really Matters

    The opening 'keynote' was from Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson. I put keynote in the dreaded 'air quotes' because Branson did not deliver a speech or talk of any sort, rather he simply sat down for a 45 minute of so Q&A session interspersed with several Virgin companies propaganda inspirational videos. Branson is a legend, an icon known all over the world for daring, innovation, success, and a kind of legendary consuming personality. To have a person of such magnitude simply sitting down for a chat, rather than giving a talk, articulating a vision for the future, or a set of challenges for today's and tomorrow's leaders, or even telling a few of the best stories from a unique and inspiring career would have been a far superior option to use Branson, and could have created a keynote that attendees would be talking about for year.  It was an opportunity that was kind of wasted. Branson is a star for sure, but packaged up like a guest on the old Larry King show was a disappointment.

    3. Vegas - Part 2

    It is still hot. And I still want you to shut your trap about it. This includes me.

    4. Vegas - Part 3

    It is really hard to get around in this town. Cab lines are impossibly long anywhere that masses of people congregate. This problem is worsened by the situation described in Part 3 of this list that I am not allowed to mention. More planning is required to get from Point A to Point B in any reasonable amount of time that most SHRM-weary attendees are ready to muster after a long day of speeches, Expo Hall swag, and free cocktails. If you want to get somewhere at night, better start planning this morning.

    5 Parties and Scarcity

    Last night saw the first 'must-attend' after-hours event of the conference, the TLNT.com party held over at the Palazzo resort. What was planned as a little gathering of about 100-150 people soon turned into a (depending on who is doing the talking), a 700-900 RSVPed oversold, capacity challenged, long line to try and get into happening. Throughout the day whispers of 'Are you coming to TLNT? You better get there early...' were overhead in the Expo Hall.  My group (about 10 or so) managed to subvert a ridiculous cab line at the LV Conference Center (see Item 3), by securing an on-the-spot party bus, (nice work Robin Schooling), to shuttle us over to the TLNT event. We then cut the line, (sorry), and made it to the event only a few minutes late.  It was a fun time, made more fun I think by the fact that we had been hearing all day that if we didn't get over there on time (or early), we would not have made it in. This (sort of fake) scarcity elevated a normal conference social happy hour into more of an 'event' that was not to be missed. Nice work TLNT, StarrTincup, and everyone else involved.

    That's it for me from Day 1 - I spent most of my Expo Hall time in the Dice.com booth, so I don't have a swag report to offer, but I hope to make some rounds today, and hopefully catch a session or two. If you are at the event, please do come by the Dice Booth #2616 to say hello.

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