Not at all, Chris. I have been very fond of Gladwell’s writing and speaking and just the aura of common sense and education I find around him. If anything, I had too high of expectations for him. Tony Bingham, the ASTD President and CEO, started with a very polished presentation speaking about aligning talent management within organizations to strategic measures and organizational goals. I was thinking about that when Gladwell spoke about artists and musicians and quarterbacks and the like, yet I could not follow how he was trying to tie these all together. He missed, in my estimation, what Bingham so clearly stated–we need to make the connections to demonstrate value of some sort. Gladwell did this so well in The Tipping Point and Blink, both while using some of the same sorts of examples.
I think the issue was that his speech was more for reading (such as in the New Yorker) than for listening to (where we need to follow his main point without any way of reviewing what he said before to make sure we “get it.”
I am looking forward to speaking with others at the conference to see what they think.