Opening Plenary

The power was out in most of the hotel this morning. Luckily I use my phone as an alarm clock, otherwise I might have slept through the morning activities. I’ve been staying up til 1 in the morning; sleep has been difficult to come by.

But, it was fun this morning to shave while using my laptop screen as the light to see by. Apple, you rock my world.

There really are a lot of people here. The opening plenary marks the start of the conference itself. The previous two or three days of activities are actually all pre-con. Many people skip that part, so the numbers tend to swell on Wednesday. This room has so many more chairs than the room we were in last year, and the chairs are being filled.

(There’s nothing like listening to opera while watching people mingle and find seats. It’s like a soundtrack of beauty and order to a visual of complete organized chaos. Watching people negotiate seating, negotiate each other. There’s also nothing like wearing headphones and typing that will keep people from sitting next to you. Not that I am intentionally ignoring people. I would just rather listen to music than the din of too-little-coffee-imbibed people.)

Alain Robillard-Bastien is speaking about the Montréal chapter. Alain was very instrumental in making this first international conference happen. If this conference goes well, it’s more likely UPA will make the jump across the water or down south. There was actually a UPA-related mini-conference in Beijing last year which was very successful.

Whitney Quesenbery is up now. 521 is the number of people at the conference. 627 people have responded to the Salary Survey. 2245 people are members of UPA. She’s talking about the BoK effort. Talking about Linked In and the UPA Group. UPA is coming out with a journal of usability studies in the fall. And the voting with usability project is merging with the AIGA democracy (?) project. And of course World Usability Day is November 3. Now recognizing people for their efforts with UPA. Recognized Alice Preston and Susan Fowler for their work on UX mag, and Chauncy Wilson for his work in just about everything.

Paul Sherman and Dave Mitropoulus-Rundus are giving award to two chapters, Boston and UK-UPA. Both of which are good models for a chapter even though they work differently.

WQ back up to give the Presidents Award, which was previously given to Janice James and Ginny Redish. This year it goes to Charlie Kreitzberg (sp). Charlie is thanking people (not me;) and says he is glad to just receive the mag in the mail now. Me too, though I don’t always get mine in the mail; about every other issue.

WQ talking about the acceptance of the summative CIF into the ISO.

Opening speaker is Farès Chmait. He brought up 5 people, told them to take off their badges and then introduce the person to their right. Tell their name, their job, and their hobby. Most people get the hobbies right, but I think the person who is being introduced is being kind and helping the person guessing. His point is that we make assumptions about people and we are both right and wrong. Hm. Can you say, Blink. Not that Malcy was the first, but certainly the person who gave a keynote to me before this guy. Which again isn’t saying much.

Now talking about cultural differences. Not sure how much we want to establish a good working environment with people who’s oil we want to own.

His is driving home that cultural behaviours are not right or wrong, just different and understanding that will lower misunderstandings.

Pacing and leading: first pace yourself with the other person, then you have a chance to lead them to another point of view. Pacing is saying, “You are safe with me; you can trust me.”

The brain thinks of 800 words a minute, your ears can take in 250 words a minute, and you speak 140 words a minute (on average). So now I know why my brain tends to wander when people are talking to me.

“No one can become a permanent success without including others.” Identify the types of people who can help you achieve your goals.

“A pleasing personality means that you spend your time being interested, not trying to be interesting.”

“Every setback contains the seed of an equal or greater benefit. There is no failure; only results.”

“Your thoughts determine your attitudes. In turn, attitudes shape outcomes. Therefore, be careful what you wish for, you may achieve it.”


  1. I would have totally sat next to you at the Plenary, because you have a cool iBook and I was missing my Powerbook that I foolishly left at home. But as you said, the headphones really put me off.

    (In case you can’t put a face with the name, I’m your “assembler” from the Task Analysis tutorial.)

  2. I would’ve looked for you in the crowd if I’da known you were real-time bloggin the opening plenary…

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