- IGNITE sessions. I HAVE to do one of these in the near future. I think I even have my topic. I'll post the links as soon as the recordings go live for those who missed them.
- Joe Gerstandt's Fly Your Freak Flag session. I will be writing a longer post specifically about it within the next week or two, but while I went to many good sessions this year, this one was, by far, the best.
- The amazing S-T-L hospitality. I have to admit, I was not super-excited to go to St. Louis, particularly not in August. The city blew my socks off. And it wasn't so much the two big parties, although they were great. But the ASAE host cities always throw us big parties. It was the little touches - all the Red Shirts with "Welcome ASAE" signs EVERYWHERE and ready to help with anything you needed. The mayor and local business being active in the tweet stream. The "Welcome ASAE" flags and signs in the cabs and street stencils. The fact that the Ren Grand had a veritable ARMY of people behind the counter at their Starbucks in the mornings. The Washington Avenue entertainment district bars and restaurants all having welcome signs and specials for us. The famous parting gift Starbucks cards. Other cities could take a lesson, and I think ASAE should ALWAYS go to tier-2 cities if they're going to be this fantastic to us. Association meeting planners, be sure to show the S-T-L a little love in coming years - they've earned it.
- The service aspects. Monday night's YAP party raised money for Joplin tornado relief. We asked people to bring $5-$10 to drop in a bucket. We raised over $1300 at the event. YAP party sponsors AMR Management Services and Avectra agreed to allow us to use some of the funds they provided for the party to match up to the first $1000 in donations, an anonymous donor stepped up to match the rest, another anonymous donor has pledged an additional $300, and Jeffrey Cufaude and Jeff De Cagna have also both stepped up with additional funds. It's not too late for you to donate - just get in touch with Jamie Notter. I also had the opportunity to help out with Tuesday afternoon's service project at Stray Rescue of St. Louis. It was hot and dirty and hard work...and it was AWESOME. I love that ASAE is now formally including a service aspect to the Annual. I'd love to see something similar at all the big events.
- ASAE themselves. ASAE operates on a very public stage in front of a highly opinionated and often very critical audience - us. And we all work for associations, so we all think we know better. Last year, the organization took a lot of flak from a lot of quarters about a lot of elements of the Annual. They could've said: "Those damn bloggers think they know everything about everything. We're not caving to a small but vocal minority. And you kids get off my lawn!" They didn't. They moved the Online Engagement Lounge and the CAE Lounge to the center of the action. They provided a flash learning space for unconference sessions. They overhauled the general sessions. They provided more educational sessions and in innovative formats like deep dive and IGNITE. No meeting will ever be perfect, but I can't thank ASAE enough for their efforts to respond positively to criticism, incorporate suggestions, and do everything in their power to get this as close to perfect as humanly possible.
12 August 2011
I'm basking in the afterglow of #ASAE11 (and trying to dig out back at the office), so this seemed like a perfect time to devote my Friday Top 5 to the Best Things About #ASAE11 (YMMV):