Sunday, April 06, 2008

Compare and Contrast: Conferences

I'm at the American Chemical Society national meeting in New Orleans this week. It's a large conference, there are somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 people here associated with the meeting. We're big, but not so big there are not other conferences here at the same time. This year, the meeting is co-located with AIChE (chemical engineers) - which makes much sense.

A few years ago, we shared the Anaheim convention center with a cheerleading competition. You'd come 'round a corner and find a dozen kids stacked on top of one another, smiling for all they were worth. An odd pairing - a colleague and I kept being asked in the elevator which group our daughters cheered for.

Yesterday, about 15 minutes after I arrived, I ran into one of the recent ACS presidents in the elevator. We chatted for a minute about my chemistry blog, and when I said I'd be blogging the interesting edges of the meeting, he asked if I knew what other group was here with us. "" "It's too much," he said, as he sped off to his next event.

Going back up to my room later, the elevator was packed with women in black t-shirts. I asked what conference they were at. "We're here for ( ). It's an in-home sale party company." Making what I thought was a reasonable guess based on the name of the company on the t-shirts, I asked if they sold pajamas. No. As one of them put it diplomatically, "we sell romance enhancement products." Oh. OH! At that moment, to my great relief, the doors of the elevator opened on my floor.

I'm not sure anything else at this meeting will be that interesting or on the edge!


  1. should be a joy filled week. enjoy the warmth of being south of PA. we seem to be stuck in March here, if you ask me.

  2. Anonymous10:01 PM

    I guess the industry is big enough to merit a conference :)