Every Ash Cloud has a Silver Lining – Dedicated to @AliziaWalker

planes can't fly through this!

This blog entry is dedicated to Alizia Walker. I don’t know Alizia at all really, I didn’t even follow her on twitter till yesterday, but I picked up a tweet from her that stated: “Unless there’s a miracle I won’t make my flight tomorrow at 9am and I will be missing my wedding – who knew that would happen? #ashtag 😦   Alizia needs to leave for South Africa Sunday morning latest to be at her wedding.

Now I was desperate to get to #truUSA. I’ve been planning it for quite a few months, organizing sponsors, attendees, selling tickets, promotions in the early hours of the morning. To have that taken away by something we could never have foreseen, (it is not after all like coffee or fish and chips!), felt like a real kick in the teeth. What made it worse was that there was no definitive answer, the fly time just slipped away.

This message kind of put it in to perspective. It’s disappointing to miss out but our show will go on and an unconference is not really a once in a lifetime experience. By some miracle, I hope you make it Alizia!

On my part, I’m going to experience a #tru unconference remotely. I’m going to follow the twitter stream, video and blog posts avidly. I’m going to learn what it is like to be a remote participant in the # twitterstream. That’s actually going to be quite useful for future events and out of every cloud of ash there is a silver lining. Very few conference organizers (or disorganizers) in my case, get to experience that first hand. It will be very useful for future events and I might even be able to win the I-Pad for remote voting on the blog competition!

I’m also hastily putting together a “London Calling” track for Tuesday Morning US time (4.00PM G.M.T.) in London that we can stream in to Madison. Will announce venue Monday but all are welcome to attend, and enjoy a pub track afterwards in a suitable watering hole. Anyone with any suggestions on where I can find a Central London room with a good camera and sound set up for streaming, please contact me. We will be in Madison one way or another!

I also want to thank a fellow conference organiser, Scott Gould, who organises #likeminds in Exeter. Scott offered a helpful ear and good advice on video streaming, as well as few contacts from his black book. You really are a #likemind Scott. Looking forward to booking for your conference in Helsinki.

My take aways from #truUSA (and it hasn’t happened yet!)

1: There are some things in life you can do absolutely nothing about. It doesn’t happen often but when it does you just have to accept it. There are no solutions to these problems. They are out of your control. Stressing gets you nowhere, just accept it and worry about what you are going to do instead.

2: There is always someone more affected than you. By whatever means, I hope Alizia makes her wedding in time. Nothing anyone can do to help other than send positive thoughts and wishes. My problems are really minor in comparison. There are also plenty of folks stranded from their families or students with no money stuck in far away places. They are the ones with the real problems.

3: You always need a partner and the community steps up. Geoff Webb and Maha Akiki will do a sterling job running things without me. I might even discover that I’m redundant to requirements. No one person is an event, the event is all of the people that come together for an unconference. You will all work out what is best and have a great time!

4: Kudos to Trish Mcfarlane. No sooner had the ash issue come to the fore, than I got a DM from Trish offering to give up her weekend and precious family time and step in. She can’t make Monday or Tuesday due to work commitments but she was happy to do all the prep she could and simply said; “How can I help?” I’m grateful to you Trish for the offer, and look forward to seeing you again at #HREvolution. (Volcanoes, Earthquakes and other acts of God permitting!). Thanks also to Fishdogs and everyone else who was quick to offer help and support. The best part of social is how people, somtimes strangers, offer support at hard times. It means a lot!

Best thing you can all do for me is have a great unconference without me. The show goes on!

I will be posting the blog I had prepared today that follows up on all the comments and twitter chat I have received on “Scrap H.R.” tomorrow or Monday.

Be ambassadors of #tru,


6 comments on “Every Ash Cloud has a Silver Lining – Dedicated to @AliziaWalker

  1. Bill,
    You never cease to amaze me. This is such a touching post on so many levels. You know I appreciate how devastating it has to feel when you put so many months into organizing something and then you can’t be there. I know it can never replace #TRUusa for you but we WILL celebrate you and Geoff at #HRevolution.

    I also hope that Alizia makes it to her wedding and that somehow you get to hear about it.

    As a remote participant of #TRU as well, we’ll make sure it’s a great event. You have the perfect attitude. I know it will be outstanding!

  2. You know I was disappointed that my partner in crime (the louder one)…couldn’t make it due the magnificence of nature. However, we will party on and the show albeit a little less fun for Bill’s absence and the absence of our other European friends will go on.

    I do however, want to echo Bill’s thanks, the second the Ash story broke on twitter I was overwhelmed with the offers of assistance to the TRU Crew. All the TRU Love alone has inspired me to do my best to ensure that TRU USA will be the event to remember. John Sumser wrote me not to long ago and said “maybe Madison will become the Woodstock of Recruiting”. And given the emails, DM’s and FB Messages of support we’ve received over the last few days, I think it already has. Madison, you may be tiny but you are mighty as well. See you all tomorrow.

  3. Hey Bill

    I had no idea how much this ash cloud would affect you – sorry I didn’t even mention it.

    Pleasure to lend a hand. I’m keen to see what you learn from this experience!


  4. Bill I can only imagine how frustrating this must be for you. It speaks volumes that you’re seeing the silver lining. Personally, I’d be kicking the dog, then going out to look for more strays. (No I wouldn’t really, but I’d be mighty pissed off).

    I hope modern technology allows you still to be a big part of the event.

  5. This sucks so much that you can’t be there but I’m glad you are handling this so well! I hope I get to see you at HRevolution.

  6. Hi Bill,

    We have had a number of conversations about the randomness of it all, and with other UK delegates and track leaders like Shane McCusker and Chris Bradshaw – we all tried to find ways and hope that the flight would get there.

    But, as your Silver Lining approach brings out, we will run Twitter Streams and video on RCEURO.com, we will be there on Tuesday and the show will go on.



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