Initial thought: The Wal*Mart cheer is quite scary. As a former Wal*Mart employee I laughed. As the daughter of a current Wal*Mart employee, I feel sorry for my mother.

I’m sure she’s a really nice person, but she comes across as the “crazy cat lady” who’s living in a different reality from the rest of the world. I know too many Wal*Mart Associates who would’ve found her presentation on Wal*Mart culture and corporate expectations laughable at best. I’m actually reminded of the very “ivory tower” syndrome she used to chide academia. Corporate Wal*Mart is very much the ivory tower with little concept of the actual store culture and emotion. Even just actual store activity is/was generalized in her speech.

From a learning technology standpoint, she didn’t share anything innovative or earth shattering. From a learner standpoint, I think that if I still worked for Wal*Mart, I’d be offended. Maybe my sense of humor is just too different. It’s probably a good thing I left eons ago.

I might also suggest that she go back to PowerPoint 101 and re-examine best practices. Most of her presentation was hard to read from the back of the room with color clashes and small images. As for the Big Brother approach they apparently take with regard to employee internet usage, I would be seriously offended. I work at a state agency. I know full well that my internet activity is logged. I also know that it’s stored on a tape and only referenced if necessary; as in my work productivity changes drastically or I’m suspected of illegal or inappropriate activity. There’s absolutely no need for any supervisor to be reviewing weekly employee internet activity. It’s a waste of productivity and invasive. If you can’t trust your employees then perhaps there’s a problem with the corporate culture or the type of employee they’re hiring. Pathetic, really.

Looking back to yesterday’s presentation from Stephen, it really was more in line with the theme of the conference; innovative…where we are headed.