Dave’s Top Moments From the 2012 DME Conference
Everyone is back to work (well, most of you), and the entire experience is still leaking from my ears. There was so much talent in one room sharing so many ideas, it's still hard to remember everything that happened. It was similar to an 'Awakening', getting new perspectives on our place in the industry, and how we can re-evaluate our concept of our brands to encompass more than just terrestrial. We now have a bigger platform than ever before, for those who wish to stand on it, to be the speaker in the Town Square. Since I don't have the musical skills that Albany has (but wish I did), here's a list of things that really impacted me over the 4 days we had together.
After getting delays (most likely because our original pilot was drunk), we arrived in AC just after the rest of the team left for the Irish Pub. After negotiating the Trump Tower elevator system (ground floor is level 60?), and making my way back to the entrance, it was just a short walk to the pub, right? When the rain started, it was light, then as it came down harder, panic set in...where the F#*K was this pub that was in walking distance? After negotiating the barbed wire fences and homeless people up and down the streets, I finally made my way to the neon green lit paradise that was The Irish Pub. "Great start to the trip" I thought to myself. My mood quickly changed, though, after settling in and starting to meet some of my compatriots, including a sit down with Steven Price and Bill Wilson (how many companies do that?) Then I was introduced to the 'PainMan' and a lovely drink called the Irish Car Bomb. It was at this point that I knew things were definitely going to be interesting for the next few days...
Day two rolled around (a little too early), but was greeted with friendly faces in the breakfast room, then off to the Opal room to start into our day. The segment titled 'Ask Us Anything' felt like an open forum, which was usually the time when everyone shuts their mouths on the DME calls. How much more intimidating must it be to ask these questions amongst all your peers directly to the people who you work for, admire and sometimes, fear. I thought this might be the shortest segment of the day, but was pleasantly surprised when hands began to raise, and we ended up running out of time for that segment. What was different between the open-forum DME calls and today? I'm still not 100% sure but it was a wonderful experience to have that kind of dialog. It was also at that point that I began to realize that I wasn't the only person who had questions, issues and concerns. Others asked the questions I had thought of but didn't ask. Camaraderie was building, and after dinner/wine/karaoke at the Tropicana, only built more.
The group presentations and digital team leader discussions were amazing that day, and with Tom McCarthy's TED presentation on Breaking News, I knew I was in the presence of some amazing minds all around the room. Great ideas hit me left and right as I was trying to retain all the information I could (then realizing that this would all be summarized after I got back). It was time for another diversion, a cruise around the bay. Having looked out my window at the Atlantic with white caps as far as the eye could see, I was more than a little wary of getting anywhere near that roller coaster. Fortunately, we ended up touring a much calmer bay, nearly running into a billionaire's yacht, and bumping Biggie till the sun went down. After having smoked a cigar (a relatively new ritual for me and the water) and watching the sun set, the conversations continued into the night, from John Riggs and why it's difficult to be tall, Billy Goforth and some unusual conversations that will stay on the bow of the boat, to once again, Tom and his endless bounds of energy dancing across the starboard side of the boat, it was yet another confirmation that indeed, this was an amazing group of individuals.
As the final day rolled in and suitcases were packed, I had three things on my mind: Exploring the boardwalk when there was finally sun, dreading the fact that were were going to have to depart that day, and dreading public speaking for my counterpart DJ Digital. Digital was unable to attend the conference, as he couldn't take off too much time during a ratings period. Stephen found this out and very subtly asked me if I could present his information. Not wanting to have Lenz beg, I obliged. It's difficult having to fill the shoes of Digital, but managed to make my way through the presentation (and taking up more time than allowed, but Leanne wasn't there to give me the wrap-up sign). After completing the presentation, I got a heart-felt 'Thank You' from Stephen, which made me feel even better. The conversations continued out of the Diamond Room, into the lobby, on the van ride, and in some cases through the airports to connecting flights (that's you Dre, I already knew Scotty boy). When I finally arrived home at 10:15pm and my actual house at 10:45, my wife asked, while half asleep "how was the trip?". All I could say was "it was good" to avoid staying up all night discussing all the things that went down in Jersey.