Got up early and headed down to the Motor City Casino and Hotel for the Detroit Policy Conference, put on by the regional chamber of commerce. You know how these things go: There’s an exhibitor space for sponsors. There’s coffee and bagels. There are skirted tables and name tags and a stage with a sectional seating arrangement, where the panelists will sit and be questioned.
(Oddity: In many ways, this was a 3/4-day version of the June Mackinac Policy Conference, also a regional chamber event. Same typography, same big-screen TVs, same coffee and bagels, same furniture. I assumed the Mackinac furniture was provided by the Grand Hotel, but it was exactly the same as today’s furniture, in all but color, making me wonder if the chamber’s event people actually have a furniture stash, and whether it comes over on the ferry. Today’s furniture was pure white. Nobody said anything that drew blood.)
And there was a “buzz board,” provided by one of the media sponsors. What is a buzz board? A new wrinkle at these events — an electronic screen that scrolls tweets from the audience using an agreed-upon hashtag. I cannot look at one without feeling an overwhelming sense of mischief. The last event I attended had one, and it was entirely automated; if the hashtag was correct, the tweet went into the stream. And so one guy tweeted: “My name is misspelled in the program.” Another said, “Anyone want to duck out early and get some beers?” The possibilities for bad behavior are almost limitless, particularly if the buzz board is behind the speaker.
The most interesting single detail: A young venture-capital executive speculated we’re only a few years away from commercial use of drone aircraft — small, helicopter-like deals that will enable, say, same-day deliveries from Amazon. They could land on your driveway, or some sort of community helipad. You could rent one for a few bucks to send a frozen casserole across town to your flu-bound mother-in-law.
There was also a keynote that painted a picture of a thriving downtown, complete with photos that would leave many suburbanites agog. People on the street! People gazing out floor-to-ceiling windows of tastefully decorated loft workspaces! STREET-LEVEL SHOPPING FOR NORMAL STUFF LIKE SWEATERS!!!!! That was the opening session. The closer said the city is
done for, stop dreaming. So you really can’t say the chamber doesn’t entertain an alternate viewpoint from time to time.
Bloggage? I have virtually none. Being on Twitter all day, I could only dimly perceive the outlines of this ridiculous Bob Woodward story. One word: Sheesh.
Limping into the weekend on insufficient sleep, I can only say: I hope yours is restful.