Quirky SIG Delights: Politics and Pub Crawls

I spent a day this week at the Sourcing Interests Group (SIG) spring summit in Amelia Island, Florida. It’s been at least a year since I’d been to a SIG event, and the organization has evolved significantly in that time. They have a significantly larger team and a greater focus on regional (city) efforts, plus their twice-a-year summit festivities. SIG is still “clique-y” in that it's the conference group that feels closest knit, where active members genuinely look forward to seeing each other. But I found the group quite open and friendly to interact with.

Above all, SIG is quirky. Where else would an emcee such as Dawn Evans gather two attendees on stage to sing Billy Joel’s Piano Man in a procurement talent show? And where else do you have balsa wood flying contests, with sponsor logos emblazoned on the gliders? The quirkiness is charming though, and it’s why people – even often-guarded procurement types – become more open to conversation. Curiously, there were over a dozen of sponsors, but no booth areas. Providers and practitioners mingled and talked informally.

The social calendar was insanely full relative to other events with beach yoga, dinners, pub crawls, and the like (I missed out on the last activity, unfortunately, owing to a 6:00 AM flight back today – although I did share a ride to the airport with someone who had stayed out all night).

Content-wise, I sat through one outstanding – truly outstanding – breakout session (the most insightful presentation I’ve seen in years) that I’m hoping to share with Spend Matters PRO readers. But I need to get permission from the presenter, so stay tuned on that front. Other sessions were typical of conferences – all over the place. But the one made it worth the trip alone.

I did a Q&A on stage with Dawn that got a bit political as we talked about conflict minerals. Our discussion covered not only the legislation’s impact on manufacturing, but also the political and business implications of government activism in what I term the “humanitarian supply chain.” I thought I gave a somewhat moderate perspective relative to Dawn’s conservatism on the topic. But I was not moderate enough!

The most hilarious part that afterwards, as I prepared for a quick video clip in a different area, I heard a Big 5 partner railing against the ethics of the “partisan guy and Dawn who spoke about government potentially overstepping its bounds with conflict minerals” during his video session that was ending. The bespectacled accounting weenie was calling me out!

Oh what fun. When I confronted him directly after he finished his on-camera rant about policy not always being good policy – or at least not fully fleshed out policy – he suggested, “some people didn’t believe that Civil Rights legislation was the right thing at the time.”

Clearly someone was not drinking enough margaritas on the beach the night before.

Have a good weekend y’all. More on SIG next week!

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