The motto of the biotech industry's trade organization is "Heal, Fuel, Feed the World," and the group could start by getting us all a neck massage. Some genius decided to put the display screens in many if not all breakout sessions either far right or far left of stage, leaving audience members in their front-facing chairs to twist either their entire bodies or their necks to read slides. Sit through two or three breakouts a day, furiously scribbling notes, and it adds up to a lot of PowerPoint pain.
Oh, but we're not done. Normally IVB would be a great promoter of walking whenever possible, which at the McCormick conference center means marathon-length outings from one end to the other. But with so many attendees also toting laptops, binders full of presentation material, and pressing cell phones to one ear, the ergonomics of the long McCormick march are soon thrown out of whack.
Topping it off, we're in Chicago, which means various species of beef and booze are the mainstays of local cuisine. The most reliable food outlet in the McCormick Center, other than vending machines, is a McDonald's. (We, ahem, had a chicken snack wrap and fries.) We'd fret less about this if we could finish the day with a brisk walk back to the hotel. With the conference far south of the Loop and most hotels about four miles north as the crow flies, however, nearly all conferees grab cabs. Some even make fun of those who try valiantly to walk but give up half-way, sweaty outside Soldier Field and hopelessly late for a cocktail meet-up. We won't name names.
Next year, we're bringing our own neck pillows, jet packs, and salads.
Photo courtesy of flickr user paraflyer.